Thursday, 17 May 2018

Fallue

Fallue isn't an obscure Shakespearean character, it's actually one of the types of brioche that you might come across in Normandy. It's less sweet than some and uses crème fraîche instead of some of the usual butter. I promised to get around to posting this recipe when I said it was the chosen partner for teurgoule, although you really don't have to make a teurgoule to enjoy this bread.

I know that all good food bloggers should spend many happy hours mixing and kneading their bread by hand and that would be nice but I honestly don't have the time. I use a bread machine to prepare this dough and I don't care who knows it. Of course, you can make the dough in a much more traditional way if you wish. Unlike some brioche recipes, this is very simple to put together and even simpler if you use a machine.
Fallue
I'm not claiming that this is an authentic fallue but it is based on some genuine Normandy recipes that I've had ferreted away for some time and that I've adapted a little for machine preparation. Fallue is usually embellished by snipping around the top of the risen loaf with scissors just before baking. This creates a sort of crown on top of the loaf. I must admit that I only make a token effort at doing this because I usually slice brioche or fallue as soon as they're cool which means that nobody's going to notice.

This will make 1 large (and I do mean large) loaf but it's a size that suits my bread machine and keeps my freezer stocked up. I use a Panasonic bread machine and add the ingredients in the order given below. Other bread machines recommend that liquids should be added first, so check the instructions for yours.

At the risk of being even duller than usual, I think a couple of notes on the ingredients might be useful.

The flour - I used a French T65 bread flour for this recipe although I know that some bakers prefer T55 for this kind of loaf. You can buy T65 flour in the UK but any strong bread flour will do the job, although you might need to add a little milk if the flour you use is very absorbent. If you do use a French flour then you may find the bread won't keep fresh for as long, so freeze any slices that you can't eat reasonably quickly.

The crème fraîche - This needs to be thick but pourable and a full fat version would be best. Where I live in the south of England there's quite a wide choice of types of crème fraîche but I know that's not the case everywhere. Very fresh crème fraîche is often used for baking in Normandy and that really isn't particularly sour so it's probably best to avoid using sour cream as a substitute. It would be better to use a pourable, double (or heavy) cream in this recipe if you can't find suitable crème fraîche.
Lait Special
16 g fresh yeast, crumbled (or substitute 7 or 8 g of dried, fast-acting yeast).
500 g bread (T65) flour (see above)
50 g golden caster sugar
Pinch of salt
100 g unsalted butter, thoroughly softened
100 g thick (but not solid) crème fraîche (or double cream, see above)
5 eggs, lightly beaten + 1 for a glaze

Add all the ingredients (except the extra egg used for the glaze) to your bread machine in the order given unless your instructions tell you to add liquids first, in which case reverse the order (see above). Set the machine to work on a standard dough program, which will probably take somewhere around 2 or 2½ hours.

Once the program has finished, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back to deflate it. (The dough will be quite sticky, but don't worry, that's normal). Gently form the dough into a sausage-shaped loaf of around 30 - 33 cm in length and place onto a lined baking sheet.  Put the dough somewhere warm and let it rise again for between one and two hours until it's roughly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. If you want to create the “crown” then snip around the top of the fallue with kitchen scissors to make a ring of spikes. (This is much the same process as creating the spikes on hedgehog bread, if you've ever tried that). Make an egg wash by mixing the remaining egg with a little water and use it to brush the top of the fallue. Bake for around 25 minutes until the fallue is golden on top and sounds nicely hollow when tapped. (Be gentle when testing because the crust is not very robust while hot). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Slice and serve with teurgoule if you're feeling authentic or just enjoy some slices as part of a lazy breakfast with butter (from Normandy, if possible) and plenty of jam.
Fallue

9 comments:

  1. We use our ancient Panasonic bread machine sporadically and it still works perfectly after twenty years or more. It's in a retired phase at the moment, rather like us, but it would be worth dusting it off to give this recipe a go as it sounds delicious.
    I used to scoff at those who used to say to me that they don't know how they found the time to go to work since they retired. Now I find myself thinking the same. Our house in France eats time, the days whizz by and I only get done a fraction of what I plan each day. It could have something to do with the stopping to listen to the birds and yes, to smell the roses, which are having a good year this year.
    In any case, being here with all the correct ingredients on my doorstep, I feel compelled to have a go.
    (By on the doorstep I mean a twenty minute drive away, along almost deserted roads with beautifully tended pothole and litter free grass verges, passing two châteaux, their moats twinkling in the sunshine. If I pass two cars It must be rush hour. Just popping to the supermarket for a pot of crème fraîche is a chore I don't mind at all but it's another way this house eats time.)

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    1. I would stop and listen to the birds and smell the flowers but this week I've been far too busy pruning just about everything in the garden. I admit that my bread machine isn't used as often these days, but it's still so useful when you fancy something that isn't in the shops and you don't have a lot of time. Since I'm hopeless at remembering what to buy when I'm shopping, I'm grateful that there's a Waitrose just a few minutes walk away but, having spent time in the French countryside, I do miss the deserted roads. I always thought that if several cars passed by then it wasn't so much rush hour as lunch time.

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    2. Oh, I'd kill to live so close to a Waitrose. My nearest in the UK are both about an hour away. Add 12 hours from where we are in France!

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  2. Oh, Phil, how I wish I'd seen this earlier in the day so I could have picked up eggs and crème fraiche and already made this! As it is, it might well have to wait until Monday, but this WILL be made at the earliest opportunity. Thank you for introducing me to another new-to-me old food.

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    1. This is based on a genuinely old recipe, although I was avoiding saying too much about the history of the fallue because I wasn't too sure of the facts. To the best of my knowledge the fallue dates back to the 19th century and was originally served at Epiphany in much the same way as a galette des rois. I've also been told that it was originally created in the Coutances area and was baked in a specially shaped tin but I really can't offer any evidence to back up either of those assertions. As for how it came to be associated with teurgoule - well, frankly, I've no idea, but why not?

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  3. Phil, I just posted my Fallue, with links to this post. Yours is one of my favorite blogs, and I wanted to share it with my readers. I've not yet made the teurgoule, but I put some fallue in the freezer to have with it when I get around to it.

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    1. Thanks for those kind words and I'm very happy to know that a local speciality from Normandy is being shared more widely. I strongly believe that there's some very fine food in northern France that deserves to be much better known.

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  4. My Panasonic has been gathering dust, so will bring it out to make this. Sounds delicious.

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    1. My machine tends to go through dusty, unused periods but, when I do get around to using it, I wonder why I don't use it more often. I think I used it more often when it was harder to buy good bread locally but maybe I'm just getting too lazy to use even a labour saving device.

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