Far Far Breton

This summer was my very first time really exploring France. I have been to France before but either for brief visits to Paris or for work in Cannes. Never the deep country side. And what better area to start a Fradventure then with beautiful Provence. It was a wonderfully enriching experience, teaching me a lot about culture, history, food, chic, myself and relationships. But most of all it boosted my desire to scout other areas of France.
In a moment of childhood melancholia my boyfriend started telling me about Bretagne, its rough beauty, about how as a child he knew every rock and met every crab moving in Plozévet, about how every inhabitant of Plozévet knew the exact times of tides as good as the opening hours of the tiny Crêperie on the beach. The sea was moving very quickly when the time arrived for it to unravel it’s waters and embrace the rocks, wash the shores until time came to pull back and unfold it’s bed for children’s delights.

What other delight can come to mind then a Far Breton to celebrate these childhood memories?

Not much effort is required to make a Far Breton happen, it just takes a bit more waiting time than a usual cake. What you need you mainly have at home except maybe prunes …

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr wheat flour
  • 150 gr caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sachets Vanilla sugar
  • 750 ml milk
  • 20 – 25 prunes (dry plums)
  • a small piece of butter

The French recipes I explored don’t beat the eggs but I came to realize that the foam formed by beating the eggs turns into a nice surface while baking.

So… beat the eggs thoroughly with a pinch of salt, add sugar, Vanilla sugar and blend until it’s creamy. Gradually add milk and flour. As said, if it’s too much effort for you, the ingredients can be just mixed all together whiteout the egg beating step.
Let it rest for one hour at room temperature.

Make sure you take a high porcelain or glass baking mold, an earthen one would be perfect but I don’t just happen to have one lying around and I assume neither do you. Don’t take a quiche form, it should be either a Pie or Lasagna baking form as it needs to be high.
After that take the prunes, roll them in a bit of flour (so they don’t sink immediately) and spread them onto your Far Breton.

Preheat the oven at 200°C/392°F.
Butter your baking mold and pour the rested mixture into it. Bake for 30 minutes. Stop the oven and leave for another 30 minutes inside. It’s very important that during this entire hour the Far Breton is in the oven, you do NOT open it!
Let the Far Breton cool down and serve accompanied by some Breton tune by Oldelaf!

Bon appétit! and …. like the Breton say: “Kenavo”! See you soon!

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Lime Meringue Tarte

The cake base is Pâte Brisée and the Curd recipe you can find here

the quantities make for 1 Tarte or 6 Tartelettes 

What you need for cake base:

  • 200g wheat or spelt flour (I prefer wheat) 
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 spoons caster sugar (or 2 spoons of sugar + 1 sachet Vanilla sugar)
  • 1/4 glass of water or milk

Mix butter and flour lightly until you have crumbles. Not too long though, add sugar, water (or milk) and the pinch of salt. Begin your work on the dough. If you feel it needs a bit more flour, feel free to add. 

Roll out the dough and place it in a Tarte or Quiche baking form. Prick the dough with a fork. Don’t forget to pre-heat your oven to 180°C/356°F. Baking time is 10 -15 mins. 

prick_the_dough

prick the pâte brisée

blind_baking

“blind-baking”, weighing down the dough

 

The dough needs to be “blind-baked”. Bake the cake base but prevent it from rising by weighing it down with beans, lenses or even rice. 

How to do it? Just add a layer of Aluminium foil or baking paper on top and fill the Tarte form with beans as in the image above. 

I presume the beans cannot be used for cooking anymore, at least I never tried but can be reused every time for this purpose.

When the dough cooled off, fill your Tarte/Tartelettes with the previously prepared lime curd. 

And nooow — It’s meringue time! 

You can make French or Italian meringue for the Tarte. Both are suited. I go with the French one, it’s less hassle to be honest. 

Prepare your mixer! It is vital for the Baiser.

I use 2 egg whites and 140 g caster sugar for one Tarte or 6 Tartelettes decoration. 

How to do meringue:

Start by beating the egg whites with a pinch of salt at low speed, add half of the sugar, keep the same speed until it gets a bit foamy and you see tips forming. Add the rest of sugar and increase the speed by 1-2 levels, depending on your mixer. 

The meringue should be stiff when you are done beating 🙂

You can either spread meringue on the curd using an offset spatula, making decorative swirls or use a star-like tip (like below) to decorate your Lime Tarte kiss by kiss (Baiser is kiss in French). 

tip_for_meringue

decoration tip

After spreading enough kisses on your Tarte, you should caramelize the tips of the kisses using a handheld kitchen torch.

If you don’t have a kitchen torch you can caramelize/dry the meringue on the Tarte under the broiler. 

The Tarte is at it’s best after 5 -6 hours in the fridge or even better, the next day.

It’s really delightful, darling! The sweetness of meringue melts into the soft, creamy, fruity curd texture.

Dare to bake it! It’s actually easy to make and the reward is incredible. Bring it to a party and you are cherished forever! But it takes some time! My tip: prepare the Curd on the previous day and you are good to go! 

For the love of Brioche

I have been experimenting for over a year now with Brioche recipes as I see it as the basis of all possible Brioche versions – it is a hard world out there – I had to keep a journal to record all learnings along the way.

I did not decide yet if it is a dessert or a kind of bread to me but anyhow I could eat it at any time of day – plain or with marmalade. What I enjoy more than eating is the scent during baking which is capturing every inch of the apartment. 

Or just pronouncing the word “brioche” feels like a slingshot in my gustative nerves, the word is filling your mouth with a tender, buttery and soft pastry for a silent explosion on “sshhh”

Enough! 

The winner is Clément, Aurélie Bastien’s father in law. I don’t know any of the two personally but I want to crown them both herewith. See their story here: La brioche de Clément 

What you need:

  • 500g flour 
  • 60g butter at room temperature
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250 ml slightly warm milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 poach dry yeast (from Alnatura – and I tell you why I prefer it: it happened a few times when I took fresh yeast that the Brioches taste like it)

for later:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • coarse sugar for decoration

Decide for one big or multiple small baking moulds. 

I prefer the small, typical Brioche baking moulds. I have the 9cm size for the time being and the above dough makes for 8 brioches. The perfect size in my eyes is the 8cm ø. If you don’t have any yet, I suggest to buy this size. Also you can use muffin moulds.  

If you have a kitchen aid, now is the time to turn it on! If not prepare yourself for a good hand work! 

How to:

As always warm the milk slightly, add 1-2 spoons of sugar and the yeast, stir until sugar and yeast dissolved, add the egg. 

Put flour and salt in a bowl, add the milk mix and the butter cut in small pieces and the pinch of salt.

Start kneading until you have a homogeneous but slightly sticky body.

Then let the dough rise in a warm place for 1h. 

Following reopen the kneading process for another 3 minutes using the kitchen aid, 5-10 min by hand.

Prepare the moulds and partition the dough into 8 parts and shape them into spheres. Take the spheres one by one and separate part of the pastry(size of a walnut) to put on top of the main brioche corpus. 

Place the bigger spheres into moulds and form a small pit so you can place the walnut size dough ball into it. 

Let them rest for another hour. They should double the volume during that time.

After that paint them with egg yolk and decorate with coarse sugar. Preheat the oven in the meantime to 150°C/ 302°F. Bake for 35- 40 mins. 

Trick for softnessKeep in mind that if you take the small brioche moulds, you should add a container with water inside the oven (basically to bake them with vapours). If you decided for just one big brioche it is NOT necessary as it will most probably be too moist and partly crude after the baking time. 

It’s delightful, darling! 

Take some self-made Raspberry- Rhubarb marmalade and just enjoy the dolce vita!