Tag Archive for French

Petit Pots de Crème Vanille

Delicate, creamy pots of loveliness. Don’t try to make these with synthetic vanilla, it won’t work.

The original recipe asks you to whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and thick, but if you do that, the pots will deflate a lot during the baking. I think it is best to either don’t whisk the eggs until pale and thick, but just to incorporate everything. Or beating them till pale and thick, but setting aside the mixture to let the bubbles settle before baking. The photo shows the pots before baking, you can see the foaminess on top.

Petit Pots de Crème Vanille2

Petit Pots de Crème Vanille (makes 2-4 servings)
Adapted from “Ripailles – Stéphane Reynaud”

125 ml cream
150 ml milk
1/2 vanilla pod
2 eggs
40 g sugar

Whisk the eggs with the sugar.
Heat the milk and cream. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, add these and add the pod too.
Take the vanilla pod from the boiling milk and pour over the egg mixture while whisking.
Pour into ramekins and bake for 20 minutes au bain marie in a 180C oven, making sure the water comes high enough up the sides of the ramekin. You can cover the ramekins with tinfoil to prevent browning.
Serve at room temperature or cold.

Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne

A French apple pie with custard. Crisp short pastry, creamy rich custard and juicy apples. It looks very fancy, but can be made in the same time as a Dutch apple pie.

TarteAuxPommesà l'Alsacienne2

Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne (serves 8)
Adapted from “Ripailles – Stéphane Reynaud”

Pâte Brisée (enough for 2 crusts, freeze half)
250 g flour
125 g butter
1 egg
50 ml cream

Sift the flour, make a hollow and add the egg, the cream and the softened butter.
Knead the mixture together, pushing down hard with the palm of your hand to completely incorporate the flour. Add a little water if necessary.
Form into 2 disks and wrap with cling film. Place the first one in the fridge for 30 minutes. Wrap the second one with a second layer of cling film and place in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Move from the freezer to the fridge the evening before you want to use it.

Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne
1/2 recipe pâte brisée
4 apples
200 ml cream
100 ml milk
100 g brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roll out the chilled pastry and use it to line a deep pie dish.
Peel the apples, cut them into quarters and core. Slice them, but leave the bottom attached. Arrange pretty on the pastry.
Whisk the eggs with the cream and milk, and add the sugar and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the tart, it is easiest to do this when you already placed the pie dish in the oven, this prevents spilling.
Cook the pie for 30 minutes, or until the top has browned and the custard still has a slight wobble.

The quest for homemade croissants – part 2

I’ve tried making croissants before, but didn’t really succeed. It is still something I really want to learn, so I tried again, with yet another recipe. Which wasn’t complete success either… They were nice, but had some trouble with proofing properly and baking well (which are probably correlated). I’ve got another recipe I want to try, that might be the solution. If not, I’ll have to tweak the rising and baking process of the recipe I like best. And meanwhile enjoy the not perfect but still very tasty croissants.


Pots de crème – café

These custard pots have a lovely creamy and smooth texture, are not too sweet and have an intense coffee flavour. Because no cream is used, they are not as heavy as other recipes. And I like it that the whole eggs are used, so you don’t have excess egg whites left. Instead of rum you can use whisky, coffee liquor, hazelnut liquor, or maybe even something like baileys or liquor 43.
Officially the recipe makes 6 ramekins, but I found that it makes a lot more. Next time I’ll probably make half the recipe for 6 ramekins.

Petits pots de crème – café
Adapted from “Ripailles – Stéphane Reynaud”

6 eggs
200 g sugar
800 ml full fat milk
3 espresso coffees
50 ml rum

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thick in a bowl (choose a size taking in account that the egg-mixture will expand quite a bit, and the milk will be added as well).
Heat the milk with the coffee and rum.
Off the heat, pour the scalded liquid over the egg mixture.
Pour into ramekins and cook au bain marie in a 180C oven for 20 minutes, or until they have a slight wobble.
Serve at room temperature. Can be made 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge covered with cling film.

Broad beans in garlic cream sauce

Very French, very posh, very tasty.

Fresh broad beans are always the tastiest, but only available sparsely. Luckily, if you double-pod frozen broad beans, they are quite tasty too and will work very well in this dish. Just let them defrost, remove the skin, and skip the boiling step in the recipe below. Frozen broad beans are already blanched, so heating them trough in the sauce is enough.

Broad Beans in Garlic Cream Sauce

Broad beans in garlic cream sauce (serves 4)
From Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

600 g shelled broad beans
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
large pinch of sugar
85 ml cream
1 tsp thyme or summer savory, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Cook the broad beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until tender. Drain and, if young, leave as they are, but if slightly older, remove their tough outer skin if you wish.
Soften the garlic with a pinch of salt in the olive oil in a wide, shallow pan. Add the white wine vinegar and sugar, and simmer until almost all the liquid has disappeared (this will smell strongly acidic).
Add the cream, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Add the cooked beans and simmer a few minutes longer until the sauce coats the beans.
Add the thyme (or summer savory) and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Variation: use green beans/haricot verts instead of the broad beans; I think it would be very nice with peas too.

Buckwheat galettes with ham, egg and cheese

If you’ve been to Brittany (France), you’ve probably eaten them; these are also called “galette bretonne complète” sometimes. They make them a bit different over there, but since I need to do with the standard kitchen equipment, this is the way to go. Traditionally the buckwheat flour is used because it was the only grain that would grow on the poor grounds in Brittany. Nowadays it’s mainly about the flavour, it gives the galettes a savouriness that wheat flour doesn’t give it. And topping something with ham, cheese and eggs is always a good plan.

Buckwheat Galette with Ham, Egg and Cheese

Buckwheat galettes with ham, egg and cheese (makes 8)
Adapted from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

75 g buckwheat flour
25 g flour
large pinch of salt
120 ml milk
~120 ml water
2 eggs
25 g butter, melted

8 eggs
200 g cooked ham, sliced
200 g gruyere (or gouda), coarsely grated

Mix the buckwheat flour and plain flour with the salt and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and whisk into a smooth batter. Add the eggs and butter, and mix. Don’t overbeat, this will make the pancakes tough. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
Shortly before baking, thin the batter with water until it has the consistency of cream. The exact amount will depend on your flour and eggs.
Pour a thin layer of batter in a heated large frying pan and swirl so that the mixture lightly coats the base. Cook over a fairly high heat for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Flip the galette over and break one of the eggs in the centre. Break the yolk with the back of a spoon, and spread over the surface of the galette, leaving the edge free. Sprinkle with 1/8 of the ham and 1/8 of the cheese. Fold two opposite sides of the galette towards the centre, then the other two sides, forming a square and leaving the middle open. Flip over and cook briefly to heat the ham through and melt the cheese. Repeat for the remaining galettes. Serve straight away.

Concombre à la crème

A lovely mellow cucumber salad.

Concombre a la Creme

Concombre à la crème (serves 4)
Adapted from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp dill, chopped
2 tbsp cream

Mix the cucumber with a large pinch of salt in a colander, and leave to drain for 10 minutes. Mix with the dill and cream, and season to taste with pepper.

Salade de carottes râpées

One of the two classic French legumes cru (the other is Céleri Rémoulade). In France, you can buy this everywhere ready-made, in supermarkets, at charcuteries, etc. And of course people make it at home, freshly made it tastes better anyway. It is really important to cut the carrots to the right size. I’ve found cutting them by hand into julienne makes them too coarse, grating them makes them too wet and my mandoline doesn’t make quite the right julienne either. But the smallest cutter of my spiralizer does! If you have a kitchen machine, the large grating disk might work too. Or use a French mouli-julienne. Of course the right size is up to personal taste.

Salade de Carottes Rapees

Salade de carottes râpées (serves 2-3 persons)
Adapted from David Lebovitz

200-300 g carrot
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sugar
teeny-tiny clove of garlic, mashed finely
salt and pepper
Optional: some chopped flat-leave parsley

Process the carrots by method of your liking. Mix all the other ingredients to form a nice dressing. Taste to check for seasoning. Mix the dressing with the carrots and serve. If preparing in advance, keep the dressing and carrots separate and mix just before serving.

Lapin a la bière et aux pruneaux

Lapin a la bière et aux pruneaux (rabbit with beer and prunes for those of you that don’t speak French) a classic French dish. Rabbit can be a bit tough, so stewing it in a flavourful liquid like in this recipe, is a good idea. The beer tenderizes the meat as well, and makes a powerful and flavoursome sauce. As with all game, rabbit likes the addition of something sweet, so I added some prunes (which is traditional for rabbit). Nice served with braised endives.

Lapin a la Biere

Lapin a la bière et aux pruneaux (serves 2)
Adapted from “2000 recettes de la cuisine française de la gastronomie française aux spécialites regionales”

2 rabbit legs
knob of butter
6 shallots, peeled and minced
1 bottle of blond beer (for example Leffe blond)
1 bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
few sprigs of thyme
12 large and soft prunes
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan. Add the rabbit legs, fry, turning regularly, until golden. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the shallots to the pan and fry until soft and translucent. Place the rabbit legs on top, pour over the beer, crumble in the bouillon cube and add the thyme and bay leaf. Place a lid on the pan, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender (mine took a generous hour), stirring occasionally. Add the prunes about 10 minutes before serving, when you add them earlier they will break up. Adjust seasoning with pepper and salt, and serve.

Far Breton

Far breton is a classic French dish from the region of Brittany. It is similar to a clafoutis or a flan, it is an eggs-and-milk custard with flour added, and usually prunes or raisins are added. It is quite dense and heavy, and therefore quite filling as well. I had it quite some years back, when I was on holiday in Brittany, and instantly liked it a lot. But it took me until now to make it at home… It is not traditional, but you can soak the prunes in rum before adding them to the dish.

Far breton avec pruneaux (serves 6-8)
From Cuisine et Vins de France

130 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
5 eggs
220 g flour
750 ml milk
pinch of salt
25 g butter, soft + 25 g butter, soft + extra to grease form
300 g dried plums/prunes (without stones)

Grease a spring-form (make sure it doesn’t leak) or baking dish. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix sugar, vanilla sugar and eggs together with a hand mixer. Gradually add the flour, the milk, a pinch of salt, and 25 g butter. Stop mixing when the mixture is a smooth batter.
Put the dried plums in the baking dish. Pour the batter over.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Divide the other 25 g of butter over the top of the far 5 minutes before the end of cooking time. Use a knife to check if the far is cooked, if it comes out barely humid it is cooked. If not, bake a little longer. Leave to cool completely before serving.