My oven is no more. Last week as I was recipe testing, I noticed that the thermostat light did not go off to indicate the oven had reached the right temperature. I also noticed that my food was either coloring too quickly or not cooking well at all. We looked into getting it repaired, but ultimately decided on buying a new one, which is exciting because it’s really pretty! It’ll be installed on Thursday and I can hardly wait!
But what to do when it’s Friday and you want to make a nice dessert for the family?! My solution came to me in the form of French (OK, English too!) inspiration: a beautiful trifle made with French madeleines, cherries, sweetened cream and dark chocolate!
Enjoy and have a delicious weekend!
PS: Oh, and I think this will make a great Valentine’s Day dessert, too! Should you want to make your own madeleines, check out my recipe here.
French Madeleine & Cherry Trifle
- 100ml crème fraîche d’Isigny
- 2 sachet vanilla sugar (8g)
- 125ml cream
- 1 small jar cherries in syrup, drained (you will need 4 tbsps of the syrup and 6 tbsps of the cherries)
- 6 Bonne Maman madeleines, chopped (I chopped each one into 8 pieces)
- dark chocolate
Put the crème fraîche in a bowl and loosen it with a fork. Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar until stiff. Fold the whipped cream through the crème fraîche. Place the chopped madeleines in a shallow dish and drizzle with the 4 tbsps of cherry syrup. To assemble the dessert, place a layer of madeleine bits in each glass. Top with 1 tbsp of cherries and half of the cream. Grate in some dark chocolate and repeat with one more layer, ending with the grated chocolate.
In France, the gâteau au yaourt is a true classic and part of the repertoire of all home cooks. There’s a wonderful simplicity about this cake. Even children and the most novice of cooks can make it with excellent results. All of the main ingredients are weighed with a pot of yogurt, hence the name. But the charm of this beautiful yogurt cake is in its tender crumb and versatility. You can flavor it with citrus zest, stir in some fruit or serve it with Nutella or jam. A Twitter friend, Jeremie, suggested stirring in blackberries, assuring me it would be a “taste of heaven”.
Though the cake is suitable for almost all occasions, I like to serve it with tea, on pretty plates with a dollop of crème fraîche, fresh strawberries and perhaps a few shavings of dark chocolate.
By the way, you can replace the yogurt with sour cream, Greek yogurt or even crème fraîche. All would work beautifully in this cake.
Happy weekend and enjoy!
Note: Check the 20 minutes into the baking time to make sure the cake is not getting to brown. Should that be the case, cover with aluminum foil.
Gâteau au Yaourt
- 1 pot of yogurt (125 g)
- 2 pots of all-purpose flour
- 2 pots of sugar
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 3 eggs
- ¾ pot sunflower oil
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 organic lemon
Preheat oven to 190° C. Lightly grease a 20 cm springform tin, and dust the sides with flour. In a large bowl whisk all of the ingredients until thoroughly mixed and the batter is smooth and satiny. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack before unmolding.
In many restaurants in France, I have been served a vegetable flan as a side dish with either meat or fish. Some were more interesting than others, but they all had one thing in common – a thick, eggy custard base, usually flavored with a little bit of cheese. This fragrant carrot and courgette flan is a perfect side dish to chicken, yet I think with a salad and a glass of wine it would make a perfect light lunch.
Carrot & Courgette Flan
- 300g courgette (1 medium)
- 170g carrots (about 4)
- knob of butter
- 1 tbsp mild olive oil, plus extra to grease the baking dish
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- 200ml crème fraîche
- 50ml milk
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 1 tsp dried mint
- salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
- 60g grated goat’s cheese
Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 27 x 17 cm baking dish with a little mild olive oil. Grate the carrots and courgette. Melt the butter with the olive and gently sweat the shallots and garlic for about 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat, add the grated vegetables and cook while stirring for a further 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, crème fraîche, milk, coriander, mint and salt and pepper. Stir in the goat’s cheese. Transfer the vegetables to the greased baking dish and pour the batter over them. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You might want to cover the dish after about half an hour.
Last week I made a French pear tart that had been on my mind for a while. It’s the perfect tart to serve with tea and is very easy to make. I think it’s also a great treat to start the week with! PS: stay tuned because tomorrow I will be sharing my recipe for my galettes des rois — a traditional French Three Kings’ tart which also calls for an almond cream filling.
Here’s the recipe!
Want to see a quick video? Click here!
Tarte aux Poires
- 1L water
- 3 tbsps brown sugar
- 2 small Doyenne du Comice pears, peeled, cored and halved
- a 28cm circle of puff pastry
- 100g butter, softened
- 100g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g almond flour
- 1 1/2 tsps almond extract
- 1 tsp apricot jam & 1 tsp water
- powdered sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 24cm pie pan with the pastry, trimming off the edges using a rolling pin or sharp knife. Place the pan in the fridge. Mix the water with the sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer the pears for approximately 10 minutes and drain well. Cream the butter and the sugar using a standing or hand-held mixer. Beat in the eggs one by one. Beat in the almond flour and almond extract. Slice the cooked pear halves thinly. Spread the almond cream over the pastry. Arrange the pears over the cream and fan them out slightly. Bake the tart for approximately 45 minutes. Check after about half an hour to see if the tart is not browning too much and cover with foil if necessary. Whisk the jam with the water and heat. Brush the tart with the syrup. Allow the tart to cool completely before unmolding. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.