Jun 13 2013

French Connection

Jasmine shares with us her délicieux recipes for when she is feeling homesick.

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Since living in Australia, Jasmine misses home from time to time. She cooks dishes that she learnt from her parents that remind her of the warmth and beauty of her hometown Nantes in France. One of them is this decadent Pear tart with Crême Patissière.

Jasmine: This is one of my Mum’s great desserts! I remember it from my childhood, she would make it for family reunions and birthdays. In summer she would use strawberries from the garden, which made it very colourful.

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For the crême patissière - beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until white and foamy then add the flour and mix in the hot milk. Put the whole mix in a saucepan and cook over high heat while keep whisking until thick, then take it off the heat

For the crême patissière – beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until white and foamy then add the flour and mix in the hot milk. Put the whole mix in a saucepan and cook over high heat while keep whisking until thick, then take it off the heat

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Jasmine adds some almond meal into the crême patissière mixture for added texture and nutty flavour

Jasmine adds some almond meal into the crême patissière mixture for added texture and nutty flavour

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While waiting for the tart baking away in the oven, Jasmine prepared a light tasty lunch called Galettes de Blé Noir (buckwheat crepe). A traditional dish from Brittany and usually served with savoury filling in “crêperies”, the crepes restaurants. You would have one or two galettes for main and then crepes for desert. To accompany your meal, you would be drinking some alcoholic apple cider. The typical galette is called the “complete” and is filled with an egg, some ham and grated cheese. Other fillings you would find in restaurants include goats cheese and leeks, mushroom and tomatoes, etc. and of course, just salted butter is also delicious.

Jasmine says, “If you are at a market in Brittany, you’ll definitely spot the one or more vans that make galettes for takeaway around mid-morning, most people would order a “galette-saucisse” , which is a galette filled with a good pork sausage.  This one is my Mum’s recipe. Some people prefer doing it with half milk, half water.”

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Voilà! Bon appétit!

Voilà! Bon appétit!

  • Who: Jasmine Menant
  • Home is: Nantes, France
  • Family origin: French
  • I can’t live without: Bread and salted butter
  • Occupation: Research Scientist
  • Dream Job: Though I love my current job, my dream job would have to be outdoors in the nature– maybe a hiking guide
  • Currently I am obsessed with: Reading modern comics (Tamara Drewe, Palestine, etc)
  • Childhood taste: Small rice cake in pastry (Petit Gateau de Riz) that my grandmother would get for me when she took me into town shopping; there were only 2 patisseries in Nantes which did this cake and it was a real treat
  • I will always have in my pantry: Olive oil, onions, fine salt from Guérande (my local area in France)
  • I learnt to cook from: My mum for the deserts and the fish and more recently from my dad for the meat stews and hearty dishes
  • Currently I’m listening to: Unknown mortal orchestra, Django Reinhardt, CW Stoneking, Sharon Jones and the rest of my husband’s vinyl collection
  • One day I must visit: Lebanon, where my husband’s parents are from
  • Go to meal: Ratatouille with couscous – a Mediterranean stew of onions, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and sometimes capsicum; the couscous is quick to prepare and pumps out the liquid of the ratatouille
  • The unforgettable meal: Pizza and pasta on the terrace of a restaurant on Piazza Santo Spirito in Florence (Italy) whilst on holidays in summer 2009, although it can sound very stereoptype, my husband and I still feel it is the best Italian meal we’ve had. We ate there, the same thing 2 nights in a row!
  • My piece of Sydney: Hard to say-there are so many pieces to Sydney! Balmoral beach has been a hit for us this past summer-beautiful landscape, perfect for swimming and snorkeling
  • Guilty Pleasure: A piece of cheese, local Tomme or St Nectaire fermier when I go home to France
  • Who does the dishes: The dishwater and me

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Beautiful kitchenwares from Jasmine's Mum from her regular visits to Nantes

Beautiful kitchenwares from Jasmine’s Mum from her regular visits to Nantes

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Galettes de Blé Noir (Buckwheat Crepe)

Ingredients - Serves 12

  • For the crepe mixture
  • 250g of buckwheat flour
  • ½ L of water
  • 4 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • A soup spoon of cooking oil
  • For the filling
  • Ham
  • Grated cheese
  • Eggs (1 per galette complète)
  1. Pour the flour in a deep bowl.
  2. Make a well in the flour and crack the eggs in it.
  3. Mix the flour and the eggs well with a whisk.
  4. Add the water progressively and mix with a whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the salt and the oil.
  6. Leave the mix to rest for about 1hr.
  7. After the mix has rested, give it a good stir.
  8. Heat up the crepes pan (crepiere) or normal frying pan to very high temperature .
  9. Apply some oil at the bottom of the pan with a paper towel (you’ll repeat this step before you cook every single galette).
  10. Fill in a small ladle with the mix and spread on the pan so that the mix covers the surface of the pan.
  11. Wait until you see that the galette is cooked enough on one side to turn it over.
  12. Once you’ve turned it over, crack an egg in it and spread it on the cooking galette.
  13. Once the egg looks cooked, add a slice of ham on one half of the galette and add some grated cheese
  14. Fold the galette in half and serve immediately.
  15. Bon appétit!

Pear Tart with Crême Patissière

Ingredients - Serves 8-12

  • For the pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 60g of sugar
  • 250g of flour
  • 125g of butter – soft divided in small cubes
  • A pinch of salt
  • For the filling (Crême Patissière)
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g of caster sugar
  • 75g of flour
  • 0.5L of milk
  • 60g of almond meal
  • Vanilla essence
  • For the topping
  • 2 big tins of pear halves – cut the pear halves into thinner slices
  • Some almond flakes – toast them under the grill or in a frying pan with a bit of butter
  1. Making the pastry. Work together the egg, the sugar and the salt into a foamy mix.
  2. Add the flour in one go and mix the whole preparation up into a kind of sandy texture.
  3. Add the butter and knead the dough.
  4. Leave the dough rest in the fridge for about one hour.
  5. Making the crême patissière (custard). Bring the milk to boil. In a bowl, beat together (with the egg beaters) the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until white and foamy then add the flour.
  6. Mix in the hot milk and the almond meal.
  7. Put the whole mix in a saucepan and cook the preparation over high heat; keep whisking and keep applying the whisk to the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the mix from burning. Keep doing this until the mixture is thicken then take it off the heat.
  8. Assembling the tart. Preheat your oven to 180˚C. Take the pastry out of the fridge, knead it until it is quite elastic.
  9. Roll it out with a rolling pin on a kitchen bench top or a table over which you would have spread some flour to prevent the pastry from sticking.
  10. Put the rolled out pastry sheet in a buttered quiche/tart dish.
  11. Add the crême patissière, spread it so it covers the whole surface of the dish.
  12. Arrange the pear slices in a circle from the outside all the way to the centre of the dish.
  13. Put the tart in the oven and bake for about 1hr at 180˚C.
  14. The tart should be cooked when the pastry looks dry and the pears have lightly browned up.
  15. Take out from the oven and spread some toasted almond on top.
  16. Eat when it has cooled down – it is even better the day after if there are leftovers!
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4 Responses to French Connection

  1. Kristin

    Beautiful post, photos and tarte. Makes me very peckish!

    • WDTD

      Thanks so much Kristin, I am very flattered to receive such lovely comment from you as I admire your work!! Very inspiring!!

  2. Tillie

    Wonderful post Lucy! Jasmine makes pastry (my nemesis) look so easy! And I love her handwriting 🙂

    • WDTD

      Thanks Tillie! Yes Jasmine was really amazing in handling the pastry! Very cute and neat handwriting I agree too!

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