French Berry Gratin with Elderflower

After a bubbly afternoon of Champagne tasting in Paris last week, I promised to make this ‘French Berry’ Gratin recipe with thoughts of that 100% Pinot Noir evoking grilled fruits. Isn’t it incredible how wine tastings can leave you dreaming about accompanying foods?

A fruit gratin is popular in France – probably because it not only showcases the sweetest of seasonal fruits, but it’s also such a quick yet elegant French dessert to whip up in under 30 minutes.

Berry Gratin

A Perfect Summer Heatwave Dessert

This kind of gratin isn’t to be confused with a Crème Brûlée, where the top has a thick layer of sugar and is burned to form a hard cracking layer on top. I have a classic recipe in Mad About Macarons, but try this Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée – it’s from another planet!

Instead, this gratin dessert highlights the fruits; it’s lightly grilled without the crunch and it has a more liquid form of custard, rather similar to a Crème Anglaise rather than set.  That’s why it’s a handy summer recipe to have if you don’t want the oven on too much during a heatwave.

berry gratin recipe method

Although I say ‘sweet’, this berry gratin has just enough sugar added but not too much to overpower the natural sugars in the fruits.

It’s on the same lines as this Rhubarb and Strawberry Gratin – have you tried it yet?

Berry Gratin dessert

I’d normally make this using a vanilla pod/bean but this time I felt like some elderflower to highlight the strawberries.  If you’ve tried my Strawberry Eclairs with Elderflower Cream recipe in Teatime in Paris, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

As I’m not lucky enough to have elderflowers around, I cheat with a little cordial (Ikea have one) or syrup (Monin’s is good). However, if you have Elderflower liqueur such as Saint Germain, then that’s great too!

If you’re not into elderflower, then infuse this cream with some lemon verbena – so many variations are easy to dream up for this berry gratin recipe.

Berry Gratin recipe

Berry Gratin Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Berry Gratin Recipe
Berry Gratin with Elderflower
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 

Summer red fruit berry gratin, a quick yet elegant French dessert with fresh berries topped with an elderflower cream and toasted under the grill for a couple of minutes.

Servings: 4 people
Calories: 215 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 400 g (14oz) mixed fresh berries organic
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar
  • good pinch vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp extract)
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial or syrup (or Saint Germain liqueur)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Divide the mixed berries between 4 ovenproof dishes and spread them out in a single layer.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy (about 5 minutes). Continue to whisk, adding the cordial/syrup and the cream until well mixed.

  3. Pour over the fruits and place under a hot grill for just 2 minutes until the cream is toasted but not burned.  You could also use a blowtorch instead.
    Serve immediately -  or prepare a couple of hours in advance, chill then reheat in a warm oven at 140°C for about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

There are countless floral variations to this recipe: replace elderflower cordial/syrup with violet or rose syrup. Or replace the syrup with 25g more cream and infuse with lavender or lemon verbena.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Berry Gratin

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Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Berry Gratin recipe?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much for popping in! Just to let you know I’ll be rather disconnected on my annual travels (as ever, like the French, we leave Paris at this time!) over the next 3 weeks but will try to pop in when I can.  Have a lovely summer, wherever you are! Speaking of French Berries, don’t forget to wear a hat!

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Blueberry Lemon Bavarois With Roasted Coriander

With an abundance of fresh summer berries at the market, it’s great to whip up a quickly made, refreshing dessert that brings out their flavours. This Blueberry Lemon Bavarois ticked all the boxes as an elegant yet easy dessert.  During our yo-yo-ing Parisian heatwaves, it’s welcome to have something chilled, no-bake and prepared in advance so that we, too, can chill and make the most of the outdoors.

Blueberry Lemon Bavarois recipe with roasted coriander seeds

What is a French Bavarois?

You may recall my recipe for red fruit bavarois a few years ago, getting rather carried away on the sexy theme for Saint Valentine’s Day. Since then I have developed the recipe further.  Normally French bavarois desserts are made using a crème bavaroise (a mixture of whipped cream, crème anglaise – a runny vanilla custard – and gelatine). In this recipe, it couldn’t be simpler: instead just add the gelatine to puréed fruit and add some thick, full-fat crème fraîche or thick double cream.

It’s like an Italian panna cotta, except with more fruit pulp in it and less cream. As with this rose panna cotta recipe with cherry & cardamom coulis, I pour the fruity mixture into silicone moulds, leave to chill then un-mould them before serving directly on the plates.

Blueberry lemon bavarois recipe step-by-step

Blueberry, Lemon & Roasted Coriander Seeds

Using blueberries in this dessert makes the recipe even easier: there’s no need to eliminate any seeds through a sieve. As blueberry and lemon are a particularly good combination, inspiration came from Nikki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus, by adding roasted coriander seeds.

I love how Nikki Segnit describes coriander seeds, and devotes two pages to its tempting combinations:

Coriander seeds have a delicious citrus and balsamic character … (they are) also one of the key botanicals in gin. A spare peppermill filled with roasted coriander seeds could easily get you hooked…. (they) can contain up to 85% linalool, a flavour compound with a woody, floral, slightly citrus quality that’s a key component of synthesised blueberry flavour.  Freshly ground, they can lend a fragrant background note to your home-baked blueberry muffins.

strawberry bavarois no-bake recipe

I’m the same recipe made with strawberries instead of blueberries!

Here, the addition of roasted coriander seeds brings out the blueberry and lemon flavours in this dessert perfectly and, roughly ground in a mortar and pestle, adds a delicate crunchy intrigue, I find.  Served with a Beaujolais Cru (Moulin à Vent) quite by accident the other day, we discovered that this fruity red wine brought out the lemon even more.  It’s sheer bliss!

Blueberry Lemon Bavarois

5 from 1 vote
Blueberry lemon bavarois dessert
Blueberry Lemon Bavarois
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Chilling Time
4 hrs
Total Time
29 mins
 

An easy no-bake French dessert, similar to an Italian Panna Cotta, made with fruit purée and less cream. This recipe adds a touch of roasted coriander seeds, giving a lovely texture to  bring out the lemon and blueberry flavours.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: bavarois, blueberry, frenchdesserts, glutenfree, lemon, nobake
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 206 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 200 g / 7oz blueberries organic fresh or defrosted
  • 2 leaves @ 2g gelatine ensure each sheet is 2g
  • 1 tbsp zest of a lemon unwaxed, organic
  • 50 g / 1.75oz sugar
  • 1/2 sachet vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 150 g / 5.5oz thick crème fraîche 30% fat or thick double cream
Instructions
  1. Wash and drain the blueberries.  Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 10 minutes.

  2. Place the coriander seeds on a baking tray and toast under the grill for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

  3. Finely grate the zest of the lemon (yellow zest only, no white pith, otherwise this is too bitter). Add the lemon and seeds to the blueberries and purée in a food processor (or mix by hand with a mortar & pestle).

  4. Heat a quarter of the purée in the microwave for 1m30 seconds. Squeeze the gelatine of any excess water and stir into the purée until melted.  Add the crème fraîche or double cream then pour into shaped silicone moulds (here I used briochettes, but half spheres are even better). 

  5. Place on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  6. When ready to serve, turn the moulds upside down and run under hot water for a few seconds.  Turn them upright so that no water touches them and turn out each bavarois with the help of a pastry scraper or pie slice and place directly on each serving plate.

Recipe Notes

Serve with fresh blueberries that have been macerated in some crème de cassis or limoncello liqueur. Add any extra roasted coriander seeds for that extra crunch. I added fresh lemon verbena, which complements this dessert beautifully.

Discovered that a red wine (Beaujolais Cru, such as Morgon or Moulin à Vent) brings out the citrus flavours. Serve with lemon or lemon verbena macarons (recipes are in Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris respectively).

Ensure gelatine sheets are 2g each, as I've discovered that some brands have smaller sheets and the whole thing is too liquid (if this is the case, block in the freezer for an hour, then turn out and leave to defrost for 20 minutes).

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Both lemon and lemon verbena macarons are a perfect accompaniment to this Blueberry Lemon Bavarois dessert, too (see respective recipes in Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris.)
Serve with blueberries soaked in Crème de Cassis liqueur or Limoncello (Christina Conte has a lovely homemade quick Limoncello recipe at ChristinasCucina)

Blueberry lemon bavarois dessert

Blueberry Lemon Bavarois (no-bake chilled dessert)

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Blueberry Lemon Bavarois?  Please do leave a comment below – or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much for popping in!

 

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Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis

Who said that a French Clafoutis should be made only with cherries? Cherry season has perhaps started in France, but let’s first celebrate the most sweet, shiny seasonal strawberries with a Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis. 

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis

With some desserts, I’m fussy – especially with French Clafoutis, a speciality of the Limousin in France. In my honest opinion, a clafoutis is a light, set eggy custard that’s perfumed with fresh seasonal fruits (traditionally made with cherries – see this classic Cherry Clafoutis Recipe with a hint of almonds) and not a stick-to-the-top-of-your-mouth heavy cake-like dessert that can taste of too much flour.

I urge you to try this twist to the classic – not unlike the Raspberry Clafoutis with Lemon Verbena – where I’ve replaced the flour with fragrant pistachios.

pistachio-strawberry-tart

Strawberry Pistachio tartlets from ‘Teatime in Paris’

Strawberry and Pistachio Desserts

If you’ve been following the recipes on le blog, you’ll notice that strawberry and pistachio are one of my favourite flavour combinations.

Haven’t tried this combination yet?

Then do try this strawberry pistachio panna cotta (serve with pistachio macarons and it’s heaven!), or the strawberry and pistachio tartlet recipe from the tart chapter in ‘Teatime in Paris‘. I’m sure you’ll be concocting many more of your own twists with this combination in your recipes.

 

Fresh Strawberries

The other day at the market in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, I simply got carried away.  Well, tell a Scot there’s a promotion or special price for 4 packs of sweet-smelling strawberries and I pounced on these Fraises de Charlotte like they’d go out of fashion tomorrow. Needless to say, the last couple of batches were just ever so slightly fatigué, so baking them at this ‘just becoming tired’ stage is perfect for making this Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis.

I do stress that you use fresh strawberries and not frozen for this recipe, so that all the flavours are at their best.

Strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Adding in some wild strawberries to fill in the gaps!

 

I still can’t believe that we’ve been blessed by the birds spreading a carpet of wild strawberries (fraises des bois) in the garden this year.  I thought that mint in the herb garden took over the other plants, but I’m now surprised to see the strawberries popping up in all nooks and crannies, as we say in Scotland.  They’re like tiny voilet-tasting bonbons.

strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Bubble, bubble, out of the oven

 

In this strawberry pistachio clafoutis, it’s the strawberries that dominate: baking strawberries in this way intensifies the flavours – it’s incredible! The pistachio is quite subtle but adds that extra intrigue to the fruit, plus helps to soak up the juices too.

Please note, that for all my recipes, I encourage you to weigh out your ingredients using a digital scale (find out why in this post), so that you have continued successful results each time you make this.

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis
Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Resting Time
10 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis, a delicious twist to the classic French cherry baked custard dessert using sweet fresh strawberries and pistachios to soak up the juices- and it so happens to be gluten free too.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: clafoutis, pistachio, strawberry, gluten-free,
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 273 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 200 g (7 oz) fresh strawberries washed, hulled & cut in 2 if big
  • 4 medium organic eggs
  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • 70 g (2.5oz) sugar + 1 tbsp for the dish
  • 170 g (6oz) single or pouring cream
  • 50 g (1.75oz) ground pistachios (pistachio flour)
  • few drops bitter almond extract (optional) (even better, pistachio extract)
  • 15 g (0.5oz) butter for the dish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/ 200°C / 400°F (gas 6).

  2. Butter a gratin or pie dish and top with about a tablespoon of sugar, shaking the dish to spread it evenly.  Lay the strawberries over the surface in one layer.

  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolk, sugar, cream, ground pistachios and extract, if using.

  4. Pour this egg mixture over the strawberries and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the middle (it shouldn't sink in the middle). I'd suggest placing the dish on baking tray to catch any sticky juices that could run out, if too full.

  5. Set aside to cool and either serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

Matching wines with strawberries: this is great with a light fruity red such as a Pinot Noir (from Alsace or a Burgundy), or a gamay Beaujolais Cru as it brings out the fruitiness yet light enough not to overpower the dessert. Otherwise a chilled rosé Champagne or New World fizz.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

strawberry pistachio clafoutis

PIN ME and make this for later …

Have you made any more of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this French Clafoutis dessert?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook.

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Thanks so much for popping in!

French peonies from the market

Let me leave you with some peonies I picked up at our local market – to say thank you for following and for making the recipes!  Don’t forget there’s more on Instagram…

 

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

A good sherry trifle is a must dessert as part of a Best of British party table. If you’re watching the Royal Wedding this weekend, or have Wimbledon strawberry parties this summer, then I have you covered with this easy no-bake Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle. And for Francophiles, decorate this as the French flag for Fête Nationale on 14th July!

It celebrates the freshest of sweet berries in season with ready-made macaron shells soaked in berries and sherry then topped with the lightest elderflower Chantilly cream.  And if you want to make a Union Jack decoration with berries, then this is a perfect quick dessert to fly the flag!

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

As the Royal family love a touch of French in their cuisine, I’m giving the traditional trifle a Parisian macaron touch: bake a batch of macaron shells in advance (and even store them in the freezer) and this trifle is an easy dessert to assemble on the day.

Traditional sherry trifle is something I remember Mum making when I was a teenager growing up in Scotland. If we needed to impress friends with a typically British dessert, then a boozy trifle ticked all the boxes. Well, perhaps not all the boxes: I did wish on a couple of occasions that one of our guests went back for so many more helpings, that he’d get tipsy and give me a kiss but I was a pathetic romantic dreamer.  Of course, he was far more interested in the trifle!

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

If you know my recipes in ‘Teatime in Paris‘, then you’ll know I adore the combination of sweet, fresh strawberries with elderflower – I have a most delicious strawberry éclair with an elderflower pastry cream that will make you forget to watch the wedding or the best shots in Wimbledon – but that’s another story.  Here, I’ve just added a hint of elderflower to the trifle’s Chantilly Cream to add some intrigue.

If you can’t find elderflower cordial or syrup, then you could always use Saint Germain elderflower liqueur – added with the sherry already in there, and your party will swing!

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle – an easy dessert to assemble

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle Recipe

Although the photos for this recipe are made as a romantic dessert for 2 large portions, the recipe below is for 8-10 people. Let’s be honest: I don’t have a lovely party-sized glass bowl!

5 from 2 votes
Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle
Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle
Prep Time
40 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle - a traditional British party dessert, replacing classic trifle sponges or lady fingers with gluten free Parisian macaron shells. 

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 300 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 40 macaron shells
  • 250 g / 9oz fresh raspberries
  • 250 g / 9oz fresh blueberries
  • 250 g / 9oz fresh strawberries
  • 200 g / 7oz dry Sherry
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
Elderflower Chantilly Cream:
  • 300 g / 11oz whipping cream chilled
  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial or syrup (or caster sugar + vanilla essence)
Instructions
  1. First, chill a large bowl in the fridge or freezer for the Chantilly cream.  
    In a large glass bowl (if making one large trifle) or individual glass serving dishes, place half of the macaron shells at the bottom.  Top with half of the blueberries.

  2. Liquidise half of the raspberries and strawberries with the sherry in a food processor (or just mash the berries with a fork to keep things easy) and pour the boozy pulp juice over the macarons.

  3. With the remaining macarons, sandwich them together with the raspberry jam, so that there is the equivalent of one macaron per person.  Plop the macarons on the top.

  4. To make the cream: whisk the chilled cream in the chilled bowl until soft peaks form.  Add the elderflower cordial/syrup (or sugar with a few drops of vanilla extract) and continue whisking until firm peaks form.

  5. Top with the cream by either spooning or piping it out. Refrigerate until ready to serve and decorate with the remaining fresh berries.

Recipe Notes

For the elderflower Chantilly cream, I use Ikea's cordial or Monin's syrup (their elderflower/sureau is particulary good).

If you prefer trifle with jelly, use the homemade raspberry & rose jelly used in my recipe for raspberry, rose & lychee mini macaron trifles.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

For those of you who want to decorate your desserts with a Union Jack flag using berries, now’s your chance to get creative! You’ll make a much better job than I have, I’m sure.

British Union Jack decoration with berries

Trifle for two, and two for tea…

Serve with Darjeeling tea, the Champagne of teas – or a glass of fizz!

A Trifle More …

If you love trifle, try my other easy versions with macarons, including a Tiramisu.  Ideal for those of you who have faulty macarons, cracked macarons if you’re not following a good recipe. Just don’t bin them! Make these delicious macaron desserts:

Eton Mess

Don’t have macarons, gingerbread or trifle sponges? Use meringues instead, omit the sherry and use rose syrup instead of the elderflower – and you have an ETON MESS!

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this trifle?
Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much for popping in!

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

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French Crème Caramel

I was scared to make this classic French Crème Caramel for many years after my arrival in France. Instead, I sat back and let my French mother-in-law make her delectable family-sized version each time we visited them in their pretty Provençal village of Saignon.  Back in Paris, I’d order it hands down each time it was on the dessert menu in brasseries,  bistros or cafés.

Somehow that pristine dark caramel reflecting our wide, greedy eyes looked so perfect yet was so light that I thought it was a no-go to make. French Crème Caramel seemed so simple but it was totally out of my comfort zone.

French Crème Caramel

French Crème Caramel – a classic favourite!

Growing up in Scotland, we made ours using a green-boxed packet mix: my job was to squeeze out each sachet of caramel into each dish and excitingly, the whole thing worked just beautifully. Many years on, I cringe at packet mixes but then it’s an entirely different era; now we prefer to make dishes from scratch – as we know exactly what’s in it, can lower sugar levels and add our own creative twists.

This classic French dessert can easily take on many twists – as the likes of teas, herbs, and floral infusions work well while infusing in the milk.  I’ve made this with jasmine tea, Earl Grey tea and fresh or dried lemon verbena (incidentally, have you tried this lemon verbena ice cream?).  They’re all fantastic – but I keep referring back to the good old classic vanilla.  There’s something so nostalgic about it, isn’t there? Fresh berries or exotic fruits on the side are enough for me. Simple yet effective.

Over the years, I prefer this version, as I’ve experimented making Crème Caramel with cream, milk and cream, milk and eggs but in the end, this is by far my favourite: just with milk but the addition of 3 egg yolks gives it that creamy melt-in-the-mouth feel, keeping it light.

French crème caramel recipe

Not long after launching this blog, I was fortunate to have my Japanese friend, Nami, from Just One Cookbook guest post before she hit super stardom.  Here is her recipe for Japanese Purin, a no-bake version using gelatine.

This French Crème Caramel recipe below does look long and complicated but I’ve given detailed recipe steps to explain how easy it is.  Et voilà !

5 from 2 votes
French Crème Caramel
French Crème Caramel
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

An easy, step by step recipe for the classic French Crème Caramel. No cream but made with egg yolks for a light, melt-in-the-mouth perfect end to any meal.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 306 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Caramel:
  • 100 g / 3.5oz sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
Custard Cream:
  • 500 ml / 17 fl oz milk (whole milk)
  • pinch vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2 medium eggs (organic)
  • 3 egg yolks (organic)
  • 70 g / 2.5oz sugar
Instructions
Make the caramel:
  1. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Over a low heat, stir using a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely disappeared or dissolved. Turn up to a low-medium heat and leave the caramel to form without stirring. This should take about 10 minutes (PLEASE don't multitask and leave the pan - keep your eye on it). Wait until the caramel is medium to dark brown - not light otherwise it will just be too sweet. (Don't leave it to go too dark, either, otherwise it will be bitter!)

  2. Pour the caramel into 4 ramekin dishes, ensuring that it coats completely the base.  Set aside to cool so that the caramel sets and immediately put the saucepan in the sink and soak in water, making it easier to clean later.

Make the custard cream:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F/150°C fan/Gas 3.  Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, adding the vanilla and just allow the milk to heat to simmering point (not boiling). Take off the heat.

  2. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the hot milk and whisk constantly. Put the ramekins into a roasting tin and pour in the custard mix over the caramel. Place in the oven and pour in warm water into the roasting tin so that it comes to about 2/3 of the way up the ramekins.

  3. Bake for about 40 minutes or until set (they're not cooked properly if there's a dip in the middle). Remove from the oven carefully, and gradually remove the ramekins onto a cooling rack. When cool, transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours - or overnight.

  4. To serve, slice through a cross in the middle of each ramekin with a thin sharp knife and loosen the creams by running the knife also around the sides.  Turn upside down directly on to the serving plates.  Or just serve them directly in their ramekins, as many Parisian brasseries do! Best served at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Serve with fresh berries or slices of exotic fruits, depending on the season.

Tip: To release the crème caramels from their ramekins, my Dad explained "as an engineer" that it was easier to slice a cross through the middle.  Since then, I've always used this method, and find there's no need to grease the ramekins. However, if you prefer to grease them with butter, do so just before pouring in the custard.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

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Have you made any of the recipes from le blog (from my books, too) or fancy making this classic French Crème Caramel?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much for popping in!

 

Almond Lemon Easter Cake

Who loves lemon? We’ve been seeing such gorgeous lemons at the market recently, bringing their springy southern sunshine to Paris, that this Almond Lemon Easter Cake is giving us a bit of much needed zest at this time of year. It’s also ideal for pairing with chocolates in all shapes and sizes.

What fun it has been to put this simple, sticky cake together and dress it up with sugared edible flowers, macarons and Easter chocolates – just to be festive and celebrate Spring, following Macaron Day. It goes without saying – take the decorations away and it’s still a luscious lemon cake in its own right at any time of year.

Almond Lemon Easter Cake

Why is there a chocolate hen nesting on the cake?

French traditions of chocolate are surprising at first: as we’re used to mainly chocolate eggs and Easter Bunny sculptures and more in the UK, there are also some added traditional popular forms that appear – from supermarkets to the high-end expert Chocolatiers all around France. These are notably hens, bells and fish.  For a more detailed explanation and a tour of many Parisian chocolate Easter displays, see my post here.

French Easter Chocolate Traditions

HENS: As hens continue to lay their eggs even during the 40-day Christian tradition of Lent when meat or eggs are not allowed to be eaten, Easter’s arrival signalling the end of Lent means that there are a lot of eggs to be used.

BELLS: Tradition has it that church bells fly to the Vatican in Rome on Good Friday (bells therefore don’t ring for 2 days) and return with chocolate to distribute on Easter Sunday after joyfully ringing in the Mass to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

FISH: There are even more chocolate fish than usual this year, as Easter weekend falls on 1st April.  In France, April Fool’s Day is known as Poisson d’avril (April Fish) and any decently duped April Fool in France will probably be sporting a school of colourful paper fish taped to their back.

Chocolate Easter Mendiants

Chocolate Easter Mendiant Decorations

You’ll see all sorts of bags of dark, milk or white chocolate fritures, a mixture of fish, seafood and shell shapes. As I previously made Mendiants of Easter macaron bonnets, I couldn’t resist melting some white chocolate and sticking on some fritures with candied orange peel and toasted almonds.

What’s more, I used my silicone macaron mat (have you seen my review here?) to make them. Gently melt white chocolate in a bowl over simmering water (bain marie) until 3/4 melted, quickly take it off the heat and stir to melt the rest of the chocolate, and leave for 5 minutes to cool. Spoon into the macaron circles (or simply onto baking parchment) and as soon as the chocolate appears to set (about 10 minutes later), quickly press in candied fruit, nuts and miniature chocolate eggs or friture. Leave in a cool place for about 20 minutes then peel off the mendiants.

almond lemon easter cake

Almond Lemon Easter Cake with macarons, mendiants and sugared edible flowers

Edible Sugared Flowers

Pick some untreated, clean edible flowers such as primoses, primula, winter pansies or violas, lightly brush with egg white from back to the fronts of the flowers, then sprinkle lightly with caster sugar. Leave to dry in a cool, dry place and use within a month.

For the macarons, use the recipes that are in either of my books, Mad About Macarons or Teatime in Paris!

Almond Lemon Easter Cake Method

Almond Lemon Easter Cake Recipe Method

This recipe uses cornflour instead of flour, making the cake extra light. I used a cake mould of 23cm diameter but any similar-sized cake tin will work well.  Ensure that your lemon is unwaxed before grating the zest.  If not, pour over boiling water and brush off the wax with a clean kitchen brush and pat dry on kitchen paper.

Almond Lemon Easter Cake Slice

Almond Lemon Easter Cake – just another slice …

Almond Lemon Easter Cake – Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Almond Lemon Easter Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

A simple, light lemon cake made with ground almonds and soaked in a tart lemon syrup to make this Easter cake extra moist

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Servings: 12
Calories: 350 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 175 g (6oz) butter, unsalted (softened)
  • 150 g (5.25oz) sugar
  • 5 eggs (medium) (or 4 large eggs)
  • 250 g (9oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • grated rind of an unwaxed lemon
Syrup
  • 50 g (1.75oz) lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 40 g (1.5oz) sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan/Gas 4.
    Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, either using a balloon whisk or mix together in a mixer until pale, smooth and creamy.

  2. Continue to mix together, gradually adding the eggs, ground almonds, cornflour, baking powder and lemon zest until the batter is smooth.

  3. Transfer to a cake mould (I used a shaped mould, 23cm diameter, although a normal cake tin is good) and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until golden.

  4. Meanwhile, make the syrup: squeeze out the juice in a bowl via a strainer to sift out the pips then weigh the juice and sugar together in a saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until it thickens slightly for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

  5. Cool the cake in the mould for about 10 minutes then take out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.  Pour over the syrup all over the cake and decorate as you wish.

Recipe Notes

Can keep for up to 5 days if kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Good for freezing.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

350 Calories per serving; 7g protein; 26g lipids; Gluten Free.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Almond Lemon Easter Cake

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