Thursday, 7 June 2012

Bigoudens

There are a lot of seriously good biscuits in Brittany making use of the excellent local butter. In fact, bigoudens use less butter than many of the other Breton biscuits and, as a result, are crisper and very good for dunking. If you’ve read some of the previous postings in this blog, then you’ll know not to expect true authenticity, but there are a lot of local variations of this recipe, so I don’t feel too bad about offering my version.

The butter in this recipe should really be salted – I’ve got into trouble before for using unsalted butter in Breton recipes and I don’t want any more disapproving looks from the people of Brittany, who are seriously proud of their salted butters. (I think that's enough buttering up now - perhaps I'll be allowed back into Brittany before too long).

You should get somewhere between 20 and 30 biscuits depending on how big you make them. If you can avoid eating them all at once, they do keep well in an airtight tin.
Bigoudens
300g plain flour
100 g salted butter, softened
150 g caster sugar
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten + 1 for glazing
2 tbsp thick crème fraîche or double cream
1 tbsp calvados
100 g ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the butter, caster sugar, 2 beaten egg yolks, cream or crème fraîche and calvados and carefully mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or something like it. Once they’re thoroughly combined, gently work in the ground almonds. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out to a thickness of around 5mm on a lightly floured surface. (This isn’t the easiest dough to handle but it will work if you persist.) Cut into rounds or any other shapes you fancy and place on baking trays lined with silicone sheets or non-stick paper.

Glaze the top of the biscuits by brushing over the remaining egg yolk – this will be easier if you beat the yolk with a few drops of milk. Decorate the tops of the biscuits by dragging a fork across them, if you feel like it. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are a deep golden colour.

Cool the biscuits on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin.

21 comments:

  1. Lovely recipe! You can't make biscuits with anything other than butter IMHO and for me if its salted thats fine. (never thought of adding Calvados to biscuits before)

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  2. I actually like using salted butter in many of my recipes, as well. These biscuits look just the thing to bring on our picnic this weekend!

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  3. You always create amazing dishes and treats! : )

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  4. Oh Phil, they look just like authentic Breton biscuits - scrummy. Love the addition of calvados. I've said it before and I'll say it again - how about a recipe book on French bakes NOT the fancy ones?

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    1. Well, I've got to agree that there does seem to be a bit of a gap in the market for recipes in English (unless I'm missing something). Perhaps I'd better not say it too loud or the next TV series by a celebrity chef will be about the baking grandmothers of France. (Actually, that's not a bad idea - I'd watch it.)

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  5. I love the name of these guys. And what beautiful looking biscuits as well, I guess I should be calling them cookies, though, mustn't I? :)

    I have never used alcohol in biscuits before, can you really taste the calvados in this recipe? And I am assuming it gets baked off, so I can make these for kids?

    And I think you may be overestimating our combined willpower, these guys would last all of two days in my house!

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    1. Bigouden is actually the name of those spectacular, tall, lace Breton bonnets. It later came to be used as the name of the area in the south-west of Brittany around Pont-l'Abbé. That's where this recipe came from originally, so really I suppose they should be called the biscuits from the Bigouden region. As for the calvados, well the effect is subtle in the finished biscuit and I'd guess that substituting apple juice would be fine. (Although, don't tell anyone from Pont-l'Abbé that I said so or I'll never be allowed back into Brittany.)

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  6. These look similar to the lovely biscuits that we get in the Charente. I have not been able to find a recipe, so these will be made here within the next couple of days. Thanks for sharing Diane

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  7. Wow, they look mouth-wateringly delicious!

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  8. Sounds delicious with the addition of calvados.

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  9. They look utterly delicious Phil, and I love salted butter!:)

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  10. And these brilliant bakes have bought flooding back many a memory of munching on buttery, mouthwatering biscuits on many a family camping holiday in Brittany! Along with a croissant, steak hache, baguette...

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  11. Oh, they look so good! I love salted butter! :))

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  12. I love salted butter! These look so good! :))

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  13. These look really good, and I love the addition of Calvados.

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  14. Mmm I love the idea of something salty, crispy and buttery to dip in my tea!

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  15. A well written post as always and a great looking recipe too....my neighbour is from Brittany and sometimes makes these for village "dos". The photo is great and they look very authentic! Karen

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  16. I really like the look of these crunchy looking biscuits. I can just imagine the taste.. you have added calvados and almonds so they must be heavenly delicious. A good quality butter would make these "patisserie like".
    Bookmarking.

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  17. I must try using salted butter in these very good looking Breton biscuits. I love salted butter but tend to buy unsalted because I cook with it. I think these biscuits look like they melt in the mouth and are impossible to eat just one of!

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  18. Never had these before. Are they cookie like or more hard and crisp than a cookie? As sweet as a cookie? Do they resemble shortbread?

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    1. That's a tricky question to answer. They're most like a sablé or shortbread biscuit which has less butter than normal and so are crisper and less crumbly without being as hard as many British biscuits. They're certainly more crisp than most cookies and other Breton biscuits but are a little bit in-between, I suppose.

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