Le Far Breton (Flan with Raisins)
This is an easy recipe I have prepared many times for friends, some of which suggested to me that it looked like a "custard tart". No accounting for taste, is there!
125 g flour,
125 g sugar,
2 sachets of vanilla sugar,
A small glass of Chouchen (Dark Rum is an acceptable alternative)
½ sachet of baking powder,
750 ml full cream milk,
A pinch of salt,
Butter for the tin,
Approximately 250 g prunes or raisins
** Vanilla Sugar: This can either be bought from your local hypermarket in small sachets (very expensive) or make your own. To do this you need 2 cups of fine (Castor) sugar, a Vanilla Pod and an airtight jar. If the pod is whole, slice down the side of it with the back of a knife, scrape the seeds into the jar with the sugar, then bury the pad in the sugar. Leave for two weeks, then use as normal.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 240°C or gas mark 9. Sieve the fl our in to a bowl and then mix in the sugar and vanilla sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Starting in the centre, incorporate the egg into the flour using a wooden spoon. Then heat the milk with the rum and prunes. Slowly pour the warm liquid over the batter, beating as you go and keeping the prunes back until the end. Pour the mixture into a greased tin and bake for 10 minutes at 240°C then 30 minutes at 200°C (gas mark 6). Leave to cool and then turn out of the tin. You are permitted to drink the glass of rum. A true "Far" has neither raisins nor prunes.
Tarte fine aux pommes
6 Big Sour Apples
Juice of ½ a Lemon
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
3 pinches of Powdered Cinnamon
Sugar Crust Pastry
200 grams Plain Flour
100 grams Unsalted butter
100 grams Castor Sugar
1 Large Egg
A pinch of Salt
25 grams Butter for dish
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, mix until they are combined, then add the butter having
previously cut it into small cube. Mix everything to a paste then add the egg whilst continuing to mix. When the mixture forms a ball stop mixing and leave to rest for at least 1 hour.
Whilst the pastry is resting, you have plenty of time to prepare the filling. Firstly, in a small bowl, prepare a mixture consisting of 5 spoons of water, 1 spoon of Sugar, 1 spoon of Lemon Juice, and a pinch of Powdered Cinnamon; next butter your pie dish; then pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
Next, peel and core 4 apples, cutting them in small pieces; Place them in a saucepan, together with the remaining lemon juice, sugar and powered cinnamon and cook for 15 minutes; adding one or two spoons of water if they stick to the pan.
Whilst your apples are cooking, line your pie dish with the pastry, simply spreading it directly into the dish with your fingers (having previously dusted them with flour to prevent sticking, push pastry from middle to sides of dish with your fingertips and thumbs; the pastry is soft enough to this easy). Now pour the previously stewed apples into the dish, ensuring you have an even layer. Now rinse, core and evenly slice the two remaining apples, placing the slices neatly across the top of the pie for maximum effect.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes, sprinkling it with the mixture you prepared earlier after 10 minutes. Then place it in the lowest part of your oven so that the pastry is well cooked.
Serve in its dish whilst still warm, maybe with some thick double cream. Enjoy!!!
This is a flat cake made of sugar, flour, butter and eggs.
250 grams castor sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 dessert-spoon. Vintage brandy
250 grams butter
500 grams flour
Beat 2 eggs with the sugar and salt until the mixture is white and foamy. Blend in brandy, barely melted butter and, finally, flour. Knead by hand, breaking the dough into small pieces then forming a ball. Repeat the operation several times. The success of the biscuit depends on this technique because it is the “tearing” of the dough that makes it crumbly. Roll into a ball. Roil the dough out to form a circle 1/2cm thick. Lay onto a dampened baking tray and brush with remaining egg (beaten). Place in an oven preheated to 180 °C and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the biscuit from the tray as soon as you take it out the oven then leave until cold. Break into pieces and serve.
These days the macaron snobs have become very disenchanted as this wonderful confection has gone
mainstream. They are everyone’s favourite. My macaron — ingredients: ground almonds, sugar, egg white, ganache filling — very easy to produce in your kitchen with a little patience. Unfortunately my
recipe is frighteningly calorific: up to 250 for a large chocolate with chocolate ganache. Even fruit-based mini ones are between 70 and 80 calories.
Proper macarons should be delicately crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, unlike “congolais” — the chewy English coconut macaroon. Pistachio is my first preference, then chocolate. Now I have started experimenting: rose petal, raspberry and salted caramel.
Hopefully you will be enthralled by these jewel-like, sugary sandwiches of joy as I was, many years ago when I first tried them.
Now for the recipe and preparation, my recipe will make 10 large or 20 small versions of these little
1-2 hours preparation time.
30 minutes to 1 hour cooking time
· 125g finely ground almonds
· 200g icing sugar
· 3 large egg whites
· 2 tbsp caster sugar
· ½ tsp cream of tartar
A pinch of powdered food colouring – (optional) any colour you like!!
For an extra treat replace the ground almonds with finely ground, unsalted pistachios
Note: “SuperCook” brand supply a boxed set of 17 colours for around 15€. Most good supermarkets have the kit for sale in their "Home Baking" section
For the chocolate ganache
• 200g dark chocolate, chopped (white chocolate is acceptable)
• 200ml double cream
• 1 tsp Lambig (Calvados will suffice)
• 15g unsalted butter
• 135 g unsalted butter, softened
• 60 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
• 50 g finely grated orange zest
• ½ tsp orange blossom water or orange flower water
• ¼ cup raspberries
• ½ tsp rose flower water
1. Blend the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor until well combined, then set aside.
2. Using an electric whisk, slowly whisk the egg whites in a large bowl at a low speed until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk in the cream of tartar and caster sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy, increasing the speed of the whisk as the mixture stiffens.
3. Gently fold in the food colouring and blended ground almonds and icing sugar until the mixture resembles shaving foam.
4. Spoon the macaroon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle. Pipe 2½ or 5cm circles
onto the baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, your choice. If a peak forms, wet your finger and smooth it down. Sharply tap the bottom of the tray to release any air bubbles from the macaroons
and set aside for 60 minutes (the macaron shells are ready to go in the oven when they are no longer sticky to the touch).
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160ºC/315ºF/Gas 2½.
6. Bake the macaroons in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully peel away the greaseproof paper and set aside to cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, for the chocolate ganache, heat the double cream and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and well combined. Add the Calvados and butter and stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
8. Use the ganache to sandwich the macaroons together then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Le Kouign Amann
First, let me explain the origin of the dish: The Kouign Amann is a cake, a speciality of the Douarnenez region of Brittany, whose Breton name means: kouign = cake or brioche and amann = butter. It's what, I hear you ask!! It may not look like one, but it certainly is, one that can be eaten warm.
225 grams Flour
2 packages of yeast
A cup of water
225 grams Sugar
225 grams Butter
1 Egg yolk
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and then place the butter on top (it must be at room temperature). Spread the butter over the centre of the pastry and dust with sugar. Bring the edges into the centre to enclose the butter and sugar in the centre of the dough. Roll out the dough, trying to keep a rectangular shape. Fold into three like a handkerchief and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Turn the dough 90° and roll it out again. Fold into three again and leave to rest for a further 30 minutes. Repeat the procedure once more. Leave to rest for 30 minutes and then roll out the dough one last time. Line two greased 30 cm cake tins. Brush the top of the dough to remove any excess flour. Douse with water and then dust with sugar. Bake at 220°C for 25 minutes.
Buckwheat Galettes &
In every true Breton family, there is always someone – a grandmother, mother or daughter – who knows how to make crêpes and one day in the week is devoted to this speciality (not necessarily Friday). But as one day is not enough for all those who hold them in such esteem, many Breton festivals also offer them to visitors, for example during the jam festival in La Chapelle des Fougeretz. Better still; many events have been created for the sole purpose of celebrating crêpes. In May and June, Rennes Tourist Information Centre organises a galette competition open to all crêperies in the town and surrounding area, which is judged on a set menu of a galette with butter, a galette filled with specific ingredients and a wheat crêpe for dessert. It is therefore the ideal time to go and sample them. On the last weekend in July, Gourin hosts the annual wheat and buckwheat crêpe festival. 150 pancake makers are t the service of thousands of guests, who also come to enjoy Breton and Celtic music, Breton bagadou groups, dance demonstrations, a traditional sport competition and the making of the biggest crêpe in the world – the current record stands at an impressive 98 cm! On the last Sunday in September, the Fête de la Galette takes over Pipriac, the birthplace of the Confrérie de la Galette brotherhood between Rennes and Redon, with tasting sessions,competitions, buckwheat exhibitions, events and shows. Crêpes and galettes are often celebrated in Brittany and it is just as much a pleasure for the eyes as for the palate to see queues of visitors tasting this traditional dish, glistening with butter.
Crêpes or galettes: What's the difference?
It is commonly said that "Crêpes" (wheat flour pancakes) are eaten in Lower Brittany ans "Galettes" (buckwheat pancakes) in Upper Brittany, but in fact,the "Crêpe" is a recent arrival. Before the 19th century, there was no question, in rural areas at least, od using wheat flour. Not that this did not exist, but most farmers and peasants were too poor to use it.
The buckwheat pancake of the Breton speaking region is very different from the one of Upper Brittany (the Gallo speaking) region, the flour not being ground in the same way.
The very large crispy pancake, "kampouez brass", still seen in Lower Brittany today, is still made by many a farmer's wife, including myself. The steady proliferation of pancake shops has brought about a gradual change to basic recipes. This large buckwheat pancake has been replaced by a compromise which is part "crêpe" part "galette", to which every "crêperie" has added its own personal touch. The buckwheat flour from Upper Brittany is more rustic and makes delicious "gallettes". One of the old recipes consists of buttering it directly onto the hot plate and once cooked , adding an egg with salt and pepper. The pancake is then folded over the egg. My preference is to break the egg and spread with a "rouable" (Wooden spatula), season, and after adding a further knob of delicious salted butter, the pancake is folded in four.
Galette = Buckwheat Flour = salty flavour
Crêpe = Wheat Flour = sweet flavour
Preparation time: 10 minutes. + 2 hours of resting time
This is the BRETON recipe. You can have your crêpes savoury (with eggs, ham, crème fraîche, cheese) or sweet (with apples, walnuts, chocolate, jam.) It has been known for a whole meal to be based around "Le crêpe", from an entrée-crêpe to a dessert-crêpe!To make 24 crêpes:
200 grams Wheat Flour
½ Litre Milk
25 grams Melted Butter
2 pinches of fine Sea Salt
For sweet crêpes, I like to add:
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Lambig (Calvados will suffice)
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt (and sugar). Make a well in this mixture, putting the (whole) egg in, mix and add the melted butter.Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture has incorporated all the flour (adding milk as necessary, not too much mind). Continue mixing until all the lumps have disappeared and the mixture is smooth. Now add the remainder of the milk and continue mixing. It now needs to rest for 1 to 2 hours.
Stir the batter before cooking, then add a knob of butter to your crêpe pan (swirl the pan to distribute
the melting butter; the pan must be hot enough to hear the butter fry but not too hot as the butter must not get brown!). Using a ladle, pour a small amount of the batter into the pan, whilst
swirling the pan to distribute the batter evenly (very important trick!). Let the crêpe cook for about 30 seconds on one side and then turn it over as soon as the edges begin to brown. Cook on the
other side another 30 seconds or until you see little bubbles appear on the surface.
Serve the crêpes warm, plain or with sugar or jam accompanied with sweet cider.
Gâteau aux Pommes
My youngest grand-daughter does like helping grandmother in the kitchen, getting involved in everything and making an unholy mess. So I gave her some ingredients and left her to it. Mind you, I did have to show her how to do a few things but her effort was a success, so here is a recipe for the children. Please note: You MUST prepare the apples, otherwise they start sword fights with your best kitchen knives.
500 grams sharp juicy apples (We prefer Calville Blanche d'Hiver as they grow in the garden, but you can
3 glasses (60 cl) full-cream milk
2 glasses Sugar
2 glasses Flour
2 large eggs (fresh)
180 grams well softened salted butter
1 sachet raising agent
½ teaspoon fine ground sea-salt
1 sachet vanilla sugar
Ciorstaidh likes to make it in the food mixer, she likes the noise and watching it slop about . Well she is only 5-years-old so you have to humour the little ones and let them do it their way, but you should try to persuade your little ones to follow this method.
Mix sugar, sea-salt and eggs in a bowl, then blend in the sieved flour and raising agent. Next, add the
well-softened (almost melted) butter and warm milk. Finally add the previously peeled , cored and sliced apples.
Grease a non-stick sponge tin with butter and pour in the cake mixture, bake for 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven (Gas mark 6 or 200ºC). Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
There again you could try "Ciorstaidh's" method - throw everything into the food mixer, turn mixer up to maximum and press the button. Then stand back and giggle as bits fly everywhere.
The result is the same using either method, an excellent cake for afternoon tea - so you have a choice but remember to eat it warm!!!
Amaretti Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Dipped Cherries
Serves: 8 slices
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 35-45 mins
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c, gas mark 4. Line the base and grease a 20cm springform tin. Break 150g of the chocolate into pieces and place in a heat proof bowl, melt with the bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water.
2. Place the amaretti biscuits, ground almonds and sugar into the food processor and blitz until finely ground, add the butter, eggs and 2 tbsps of cordial, process again.
3. Add the melted chocolate and briefly process again. Pour the mixture into the tin, cook for approx 35-45mins until the cake feels firm, the top will crack. Cool in the tin, remove and place on a serving plate.
4. To finish the cake, break up the remaining chocolate, place in a bowl with 2tbsps of cordial, melt as before, pour half onto a piece of non stick baking parchment, smooth with a knife, allow to set. Dip the cherries into the rest of the chocolate, leave to set on non-stick baking parchment. Using a star cutter cut out stars from the chocolate.
5. Dredge the cake with icing sugar, arrange the stars and chocolate dipped cherries over the top.
Makes: 12 muffins
Ready in: 35min