Showing posts from December, 2010

Gâteau Breton with Dates and Chocolate

Although the Gâteau Breton is very often plain, some people prefer it with a filling such as apples or prunes soaked in armagnac. Less traditionally, I put together a date and chocolate filling this time, which may look unpromising (or even faintly disgusting) but I assure you it tastes good. You don't even have to buy expensive whole dates for this – simple chopped dates will do fine, as long as they're nice ones.  There are a lot of rules about how the authentic Gâteau Breton should be made and I don't seem to stick to all of them; but then neither do all the apparently authoritative recipes I've seen. Two rules I do stick to, though, are that there should always be the same weight of sugar as butter and that the butter has to be salted. I'm reliably informed that using unsalted butter in a Gâteau Breton would be one of the worst thing you could do in Brittany – roughly the equivalent of walking into a bar in Quimper and announcing that you don't like bagpip

Lemon Ground Rice Pudding and Croquants de Corde

I remember with something close to horror eating strange puddings made with ground rice as a kid. But in my defence I should point out that cooking as we know it today hadn't been invented then and food was mostly hit with sticks until it gave up. There are ground rice puddings from many parts of the world flavoured with a vast range of lovely things such as rosewater, orange flower water or cardamom as well as good old vanilla, so I thought I should try making some myself. It turns out that everyone else was right and they're very comforting. This pudding will be even more silky and luxurious if you add some cream, of course, but I'm trying to be a little healthy. The croquants are the traditional biscuit from the beautiful town of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn. The recipe dates back to the 17 th century so I've tried to restrain myself from mucking about with it too much. La Fête du Croquant is held in Cordes-sur-Ciel every June, which sounds like an excellent oppo