Les Patiences Fraxinoises And Boodle Goes To Provence

If you follow any of Julie Andrieu's TV programmes then you'll know that she's fond of wandering around digging up authentic, local recipes. (My wife is firmly of the opinion that I'd follow Julie Andrieu anywhere she wanted to lead me. She may well be right.) Ms Andrieu visited La Garde-Freinet in Provence a few years ago and was given a recipe for the authentic patience fraxinoise. Until I saw the programme I thought they were little almond biscuits but it turns out that I knew nothing.

In fact, these biscuits are somewhat similar to a langue de chat, although there are a few major differences: they don't include any butter, they're flavoured with orange flower water and they're round and not shaped like a cat's tongue. I did depart a little from the original recipe by adding some maple syrup.
Patiences Fraxinoises
Strictly speaking these should be baked in a very hot oven – something wood-fired would be ideal – but they work perfectly well in a domestic oven on a high setting. I've cut the recipe down to the minimum practical amount but it still produced around 40 biscuits of roughly 4 cm diameter. They're  lovely with a glass of sweet wine or a small coffee and do a fine job when served with ice cream.  Or you could use them with a creamy dessert and funnily enough you'll find one of those below.

150 g caster sugar
1 egg
50 ml water
2 tsp orange flower water
2 tsp maple syrup
170 g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 230°C. Cover a few oven trays with baking paper or silicon sheets.

Whisk the caster sugar and egg together thoroughly until very pale. Whisk in the water, orange flower water and maple syrup.  Add about a quarter of the flour and beat in. Repeat three times with the rest of the flour.

You need to place small circles of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets and the neatest way of doing this is probably to pipe it on. The mixture is relatively thin and will spread so aim for circles of about 3 cm diameter and you should end up with finished biscuits of around 4 cm. If you don't fancy piping, you can simply spoon small amounts onto the baking sheets – the shape may not be perfectly round, but what's a few odd shapes between friends?

Bake the biscuits for around 5 minutes. When they're ready the biscuits should have some colour around the edges but remain pale and interesting in the centres. Carefully transfer to a rack to cool. (Make sure you eat one or two as soon as they're cool – I think they're at their very best then).  Store in an airtight tin.

And now for the "creamy" dessert……

Boodle’s Orange Yoghurt

Boodle's Orange Fool is a traditional dessert invented and served at the seriously exclusive club in London. This definitely isn't it. This is a low fat alternative that just uses some of the same flavours. The real thing is a genuine fool with more than a hint of trifle and depends upon the thickening action of citrus on cream and that's not going to happen with yoghurt.  This combination of flavours is probably not strictly historically correct either, but it makes a refreshing mix that works very well with the patiences fraxinoises.
Boodle in Provence
Juice and finely-grated zest of 1 orange
Juice and finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
15 g caster sugar
300 g 0% fat Greek yoghurt

Mix the zest and juices with the sugar and stir to dissolve. Beat into the yoghurt and chill thoroughly. The mixture will thicken a little as it chills but please don't expect the texture and thickness of a fool. Either layer the yoghurt and patiences fraxinoises in a small bowl or glass or simply serve the biscuits alongside.


  1. I really enjoy learning new French delights from your blog, Phil. These sound delicious, as does the yoghurt.

    1. I'm very pleased to know that you enjoy the recipes. I'm certainly no expert in French food and I wish I knew more but over the years I have stumbled across a few recipes that aren't as well known as they could or should be.

  2. Sounds delicious and quite different. Have a good day Diane

    1. They do taste a little different to the usual dessert biscuit. Although maybe if I was from Provence I'd think differently.

  3. Your biscuits sounds delicious and look beautifully golden, they sound ideally paired with the yoghurt. Thank you for linking up to #TreatPetite!

    1. Thanks for hosting and my apologies for not linking up before now.

  4. Phil, another new-to-me treat! I'll probably aim for tidy circles, as you did, but I love the idea of "what's a few odd shapes between friends."

    1. I've come across several very capable bakers who just hate any mention of the piping bag and so I never object to a bit of an odd shape. But I must admit that I prefer regular circles for this kind of biscuit.

  5. How lovely! And so cute to serve to visitors with coffee, better than a huge slab of cake.........although both have their place!
    Piping is not one of my strong points, faff alarm bells start ringing, but luckily my friends are definitely not averse to odd shapes! Although I think that somewhere I have a macaron/whoopee silicone baking mat that I won in a raffle and have never used......that might work perhaps?

    1. I was given one of those macaron mats as a present some years ago and I'm sure it would do the job. My one has circles that are a bit small, though, so be careful to avoid adding too much mixture.


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