Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream

This Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream makes me dream of holidays in France – and particularly of my husband’s island of Corsica.  Candied chestnuts are such a festive French treat during the holiday season but I love this light and easy dessert at any time of year. During the festive season, it’s also a welcome lighter end to a rich meal.

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Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe Pin

This post was originally published on 21 January 2012 but has now been updated to include a printable recipe card and updated text.

Mad About Chestnuts!

My youngest daughter is mad about chestnuts in all forms. If I mention this magic word, Lucie’s smile makes me melt quicker than the contents of this ice cream dish. She’s obsessed about roasted chestnuts and vacuum-packed chestnuts that we simply toss on pumpkin soup, with green beans, or in this butternut & walnut gratin.

When she was little, she was even willing to sacrifice precious pocket money for an expensive poke of chestnuts. It’s the biggest winter treat, smelling them roasting on trolleys at the welcoming exit of a Paris metro station – and helps to calm the effects of the howling winds at the top of the steps.

Montmartre chocolate pastry walk abbesses chestnuts

She nibbles at luxury candied chestnuts, marrons glacés, as if she was Charlie with a golden-ticketed chocolate bar and went into raptures when I made these marrons glacés macarons. She also craves the sweetened candied chestnut & vanilla spread that is so common in France – by the legendary Clément Faugier. However, I won’t ramble further since that’s already (literally) covered on fromage blanc, crêpes, etc. in my blog post: Chestnuts!.

Candied Chestnuts in France (marrons glacés)

Candied chestnuts are a total gourmet speciality in France and are traditionally enjoyed over the festive season. They’re primarily prepared in the Ardèche region but honestly (in my humble opinion) the best candied chestnuts are in Corsica – and I’m not just saying that because my husband is Corsican! The Corsicans put chestnut flour and chestnuts in so many of their recipes.

A Perfect Recipe To Use Egg Yolks for Macaron Lovers Who Need Egg Whites!

When you’re as mad about macarons as I am (and I know I’m not alone on this one – come on, own up), you need to use up plenty of egg yolks while you’re ageing your whites for 2-3 days before making macarons.

So, Ice cream is one of my favourite egg yolk recipes (this link is to my yolk database!), as it uses up 8 yolks in this easy, classic recipe.

Do I need an Ice Cream Machine? What If I don’t Have One?

Ideally, it’s best to have an ice cream machine. I don’t have one, but instead use the ice cream attachment for my stand mixer that still does the job well.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine or mixer sorbet/ice cream attachment, then take the cream out of the freezer every 30 minutes (about 5 times) and mix up the partially frozen mixture well.

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW

Makes 1 litre

8 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
2 small 100g tins of sweetened chestnut & vanilla purée (Clement Faugier)
400ml whole milk
200ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod
pinch of caramel powdered colouring (optional)
a handful of broken marrons glacés (or whole ones if you’re feeling posh)

1. Cream together the egg yolks, sugar and sweet chestnut purée in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

2. Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod, cut in two lengthways. Add the powdered colouring, if using. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes. Scrape out the seeds from the pod and add to the cream.

3. Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod and set the mixture aside to cool.

4. Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn then freeze for a couple of hours minimum.

Serve with marrons glacés and macarons.

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream Macarons Pin

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Chilling & Freezing
4 hrs
Total Time
24 mins
 

The French love their chestnuts so churn a sweetened chestnut vanilla ice cream to chill over the festive season - or any time of year

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chestnut paste, Clement Faugier, sweetened chestnut purée,
Servings: 12
Calories: 192 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 100 g (3.5oz) caster sugar
  • 2 (7oz) small 100g tins of sweetened chestnut purée
  • 400 ml (14 floz) whole milk
  • 200 ml (7 floz) whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • pinch of caramel powdered colouring optional
  • a handful of broken marrons glacés or whole ones if you're feeling posh
Instructions
  1. Cream together the egg yolks, sugar and sweetened chestnut vanilla purée in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

  2. Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod, cut in two lengthways. Add the powdered colouring, if using. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes. Scrape out the seeds from the pod and add to the cream.

  3. Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod and set the mixture aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn. Then follow ice cream maker's manufacturer's instructions. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.

Recipe Notes

Serve with marrons glacés (candied chestnuts), gavottes, crispy French tuiles or macarons (recipes in both Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris).

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Lightest French Chocolate Mousse – without cream

Trust the French to transform just a few simple yet good quality ingredients into a most elegant dessert. This dark chocolate mousse is also an extremely light chocolate mousse. This recipe essentially consists of 70% dark chocolate with whipped, organic egg whites. It’s fluffy yet still an intensely chocolatey, dark French chocolate mousse – without any cream!

A version of this recipe was originally posted on 8 October 2018 but is now updated to better explain the recipe process along with a short video.

Dark chocolate mousse recipe

It’s not unlike this egg white-based light-as-a-feather white chocolate mousse with orange blossom.

This dark chocolate one is intense and rich for serious chocolate lovers.

dark chocolate mousse

Egg Tips for Making Chocolate Mousse

The recipe is basically just using a few best quality ingredients: good bittersweet (couverture) chocolate – I use 70% cacao; a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder, a little sugar, fresh, organic egg whites and only one egg yolk.

My tip? Ensure your egg yolk is at room temperature.  It doesn’t matter for the egg whites, but the yolk if cold and added to the chocolate will seize the chocolate up while added.  If this does happen, then just add a spoon of boiling water to fix it.  Otherwise, to make it EVEN EASIER, I add the egg yolk to the whites at the end of whipping.

Problem completely solved!

dark chocolate mousse recipe method

Classic French Chocolate Mousse Recipe

As you can see from the recipe card below, the recipe is so easy: it’s basically melting (good quality) dark chocolate and unsweetened chocolate powder together over a pan of simmering water, then folding in whipped egg whites with a little sugar and an egg yolk as if as  an afterthought. Although slightly tweeked with more dark chocolate, less powder and the addition of salt, this is my favourite recipe originally inspired by chef Raymond Blanc. I also added the yolk in the egg whites rather than adding it to the chocolate.

Speaking of Blanc, this recipe uses many fresh egg whites. Only ONE egg yolk is used, so I’d suggest making any of the recipes from the egg yolk recipe database in advance. That way you can put aside plenty of egg whites (I normally store them in a clean jam jar in the fridge for up to 5 days) to make this mousse – and indeed, homemade macarons!

 

dark chocolate mousse

French Chocolate Mousse – No Cream!

A classic French chocolate mousse like this doesn’t need any cream. The egg whites make this light and fluffy and we can appreciate the good quality of the chocolate.

According to my Larousse Gastronomique, a French Mousse is literally a foam and can be savoury as well as sweet.  It’s created by whipping up many egg whites to achieve this and cream is normally not used – although many recipes add a touch of cream to lighten it up.  Personally I prefer it without the cream; that way the chocolate shines through completely.

See a demonstration of this recipe – NOW ON VIDEO

 

Little Sugar in a Chocolate Mousse

Little sugar is used in this chocolate mousse, too.  Too much sugar not only makes the mousse become grainy but it also interferes with the flavour of the intense chocolate.

“What’s the point of having good quality ingredients if you mask it with too much sugar?” I agree with many French pastry chefs that shout this out from the Parisian rooftops here!

Wood Cottage like chocolate

As the dark chocolate mousse was chilling nicely in the fridge, we popped along to Wood Cottage in Le Vésinet (just west of Paris, in les Yvelines), for a FREE (!) jazz concert.  It’s an annual event at the end of the summer – and a real treat. Now classed a historical monument, the 1864 Wood Cottage buildings look remarkably like chocolate, don’t they?

While we’re on the subject of chocolate, stay tuned for the most incredible Parisian chocolate shop personality just 5 minutes’ walk from Le Moulin Rouge in Montmartre, à l’Etoile d’Or with Denise Acabo. Meanwhile,

French dark chocolate mousse no cream

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or fancy making this dark chocolate mousse recipe?  Please leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram / Facebook, or just tell your friends to join me on le blog! Thanks so much – I love to see you enjoying the recipes!

French Dark Chocolate Mousse Recipe

5 from 7 votes
dark chocolate mousse
French Dark Chocolate Mousse
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Chilling Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins
 

A French classic dessert with no cream: a light yet intensely bittersweet dark chocolate mousse for serious chocolate lovers who love their chocolate rich and airy.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate mousse recipe without cream, lightest chocolate mousse recipe, French chocolate mousse recipe
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 243 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 170 g (6oz) 70% dark (bittersweet) cooking chocolate (a cup)
  • 10 g (2 tsp) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 170 g (6oz) organic egg whites (from 5 large fresh eggs)
  • 30 g (1oz) sugar
  • 1 organic egg, separated (at room temperature)
  • pinch salt fleur de sel*
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate and cocoa powder together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (Bain-marie), taking care not to overcook the chocolate (don't have the water at a rolling boil, just simmering gently). As soon as the chocolate begins to melt, switch off the heat and stir until completely smooth, then take the bowl off the heat.

  2. Separate the extra egg, keeping the yolk aside for later (it's important the yolk is at room temperature).

    In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft and strong peaks form. Add the extra egg white and continue to whisk.

  3. When the whites are strong and hold well, continue to whisk in the egg yolk and add the fleur de sel.

    Gradually add the whipped egg whites to the chocolate using a strong yet flexible spatula, folding each carefully until well blended together. Repeat folding gently until the consistency is completely mixed together, light and airy.

  4. Either transfer the bowl to the fridge or pour/spoon into serving glasses and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours until ready to serve.

    Serve chilled and top with fresh fruit, shaved chocolate or a sprig of mint.

Recipe Notes

Serve chilled with chocolate macarons (see the recipes in both my books), crispy almond tuiles, or garnish with a sprig of mint, edible flowers or fresh fruit. If you really want the cream, add a dollop of freshly whipped Chantilly cream.

* Variations: Omit the salt and add a teaspoon of soluble coffee granules for a mocha treat - or add the zest of an orange or lime for a citrus take on the recipe. Add a tablespoon of Cognac or Grand Marnier liqueur for a special occasion (adults only).

Note: see list of egg yolk recipes for the leftover egg whites needed for this recipe.

Recipe demonstrated fully on VIDEO HERE.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

French Chocolate Mousse

Black Sesame Ice Cream

After tasting the most popular Japanese ice creams on our family trip to Japan, our favourite choice was Black Sesame Ice Cream.

One or two spoonfuls of this light yet creamy dark nectar has the same kind of addictive reaction that you’d get from eating a spoonful of slightly salted peanut butter. Yet it’s not peanuts, of course – but who would have thought that black sesame seeds made into ice cream could be this good?

This post was first published on 17 September 2018 but now updated to include the accompanying recipe video.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Melting for Black Sesame ice cream

Japanese Ice Cream

We love the Japanese word for ice cream. It looks complicated at first glance but just say this out loud:
AISUKURÏMU. My daughter, Lucie, is still trying to work on me saying it right!

I’m the biggest ice cream fan when it’s homemade; even more so during a heatwave like it was this summer in Japan – and now, mid September, it’s back to ice cream weather in Paris this week with 29°C/84°F temperatures!

Such a dark grey colour of ice cream perhaps doesn’t look that aesthetic, does it? Neither does my black sesame version look particularly like ice cream as it melted pretty quickly in this heat. Although, personally, this is how I prefer it – do you?

Matcha ice cream

Matcha Do About Green Tea Ice Cream

What I didn’t realise when I took this photo, is that the black sesame ice cream hidden underneath would be our favourite. With all the hype on the Matcha flavours, I almost felt embarrassed to prefer the Black Sesame!

For more about our ice cream experiences and the sweeter side of Japan, read about it in my post, Teatime in Japan.

See VIDEO on my YouTube Channel HERE

Black Sesame Ice Cream: Powder or Paste?

Straight after tasting the black sesame ice cream, we headed to the nearest store to find black sesame.  Antoine and the girls were so inspired and determined we had to make this at home!

So I got to it straight away on return to develop a recipe. Here I used a 70g (2.5oz) packet of pre-prepared powdered black sesame seeds (Surigoma Black by Hokuya) which we found in the Matsuya store in Tokyo’s Asakusu district, next to the Senso-ji temple and near the popular gelateria. It worked well, and was even lovelier when toasting the black sesame in a pan first (see recipe below).

Happily, on return to Paris I discovered the most divine, intense black sesame paste (which is pre-roasted) at Nishikidôri, which makes this recipe even easier, but if you can’t find it, the powder is just as good.

EVEN EASIER: toast whole sesame seeds lightly in a pan to release the flavours , then grind in a food processor or spice grinder.

Black sesame ice cream

Ice Cream That’s Not Too Sweet

I also experimented using a little honey, but it really overpowered the black sesame, no matter how little I used.  The family have now unanimously tasted and approved the recipe below: not too rich and lighter with milk rather than just made with cream.

To top it all, black sesame seeds are so healthy too!

Recipes to Use Up the Leftover Egg Whites?

Serve this black sesame ice cream on its own or rustle up some crispy sesame tuiles in just a few minutes using up the egg whites from this recipe!  Here’s the recipe (including a video demonstration) here: Crispy Sesame Tuiles.

Sesame tuiles ice cream

Yuzu’ll Love this with Yuzu Macarons

Sorry for the Scottish joke (can never resist). Needless to say, the ice cream is delicious served with lemon macarons (using the leftover egg whites) – better still, make yuzu macarons!  Just follow either of the lemon macaron recipes in either Mad About Macarons or Teatime in Paris, and replace the fresh lemon juice with yuzu juice, available from Japanese specialist stores.

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or just fancy making this Black Sesame Ice Cream?  Please leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram or Facebook.

 

Black sesame ice cream

Black Sesame Ice Cream

5 from 10 votes
Black sesame ice cream
Black Sesame Ice Cream
Prep Time
13 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Chilling/Freezing Time
3 hrs
Total Time
23 mins
 

A light but creamy popular Japanese ice cream that would particularly appeal to fans of peanut butter, due to its addictive, roasted, nutty intensity of flavours.

Course: Dessert, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: French, Japanese
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 224 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 75 g (3oz) Japanese black sesame paste (or whole black sesame seeds) available from Japanese speciality stores
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz) whole milk full-fat (2.25 cups)
  • 5 egg yolks organic
  • 110 g (4oz) sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) whipping cream (30% fat)
  • pinch salt Fleur de sel
Instructions
  1. Open Sesame (sorry, couldn't resist). 

  2. If using whole seeds, dry roast them in a non-stick frying pan for 4-5 minutes then grind in a coffee grinder (optional step but recommend doing this to bring out extra flavour). If possible, use pre-packaged black sesame paste found in Japanese speciality stores. 

  3. Gently heat the milk in a heavy-based saucepan (do not boil).  Meanwhile, in a large bowl with a lid, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Add the black sesame powder and salt, whisking until smooth.

  4. Pour about half of the hot milk on to the black sesame mixture, whisking until combined then transfer back to the saucepan.  Whisk constantly to keep the mixture smooth and heat over a medium heat just until thickened then remove from the heat to avoid curdling the eggs.  At this point, the mixture should smoothly coat a spoon to show that it's ready.

  5. Add the cold cream, set aside to cool, then cover and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

  6. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, then freeze for at least an hour before serving.

Recipe Notes

I recommend using pre-prepared Japanese black sesame paste, as it's already roasted. However, if you can't find it from speciality Japanese stores, it's also great using whole seeds: toast in a pan then blitz in a grinder. N.B. At my local Japanese store in Paris, I learned that black tahini paste is much lighter than the Japanese black sesame paste and just as good.

Serve the ice cream on its own or with crispy sesame tuiles (see recipe here - ideal as uses up the egg whites!).

Accompanying video HERE on Jill's YouTube channel

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Black sesame ice cream with tuile and redcurrants in bowl

Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

You heard me right: this isn’t a classic French cherry clafoutis but an ASPARAGUS CLAFOUTIS.

We are totally mad about French Clafoutis every summer. It’s such an easy custardy classic dark cherry dessert – but it’s also just as delicious made with fresh raspberries – or my latest addictive craze, a gluten free version with strawberries.

However, if you haven’t tried a savoury clafoutis yet, I urge you to try this Asparagus Clafoutis! It’s delicate and divine.

Update: See me demonstrate how to make this on my new YouTube channel here.

Asparagus Clafoutis

White Asparagus Clafoutis Recipe

You may recall I tried out this gorgeous large custardy version of a White Asparagus Clafoutis recipe inspired by chef, Eric Frechon from the Bristol in Paris. It’s served in one big dish.

White Asparagus French Clafoutis

White Asparagus French Clafoutis

Since then I’ve played around with the recipe to serve it as a starter – this time with less yolks, adding lemon (optional – but really delicious with white asparagus), and serving with a most incredible yet easy parmesan sauce.

Lemon Asparagus Clafoutis

Asparagus Clafoutis

Serve as Individual Portions for a Touch of French Elegance

I also love to serve them as INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS – it’s perfect for entertaining or wanting to show that you’ve made that little bit extra effort for a dinner party or special occasion.

This turns a simple family dish into a wowzer summery lunch or light starter.

How to prepare asparagus

Stacked as they are sold at our local market

A Perfect Light Lunch

Just before serving, dribble a little olive oil and some lemon juice over the asparagus. While the clafoutis are creamy enough on their own, you can add some lemon zest to the batter, and forget the parmesan sauce for a lighter version – great for those on a summer diet!

Lemon Asparagus Clafoutis

Green Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

Not everyone, surprisingly, seems to be in love with white asparagus, as I’ve discovered via your comments on Facebook and Instagram.

Instead, the printable recipe below is for a green asparagus clafoutis – without the lemon but served with the most silky, creamy parmesan sauce that you can mop up with a crusty baguette.

The addition of a parmesan sauce with an asparagus clafoutis just takes it to another level! It’s so good, you may decide to double the quantity!

Parisian Inspiration

This time last year, I was kindly invited to take part in a pilot run for Parisian cookery classes with Chef Philippe Excoffier in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, where I wrote up an article about the delicious experience.

Chef Excoffier showed us how to prepare asparagus, telling us there was nothing to beat the old-fashioned traditional way and to remove the pedoncules or spikes to make digestion easier. He also served his legendary cheese soufflés – the Soufflés Suissesse. I strongly recommend trying out his signature dish in his restaurant in rue de l’Exposition, near the Eiffel Tower.

Asparagus Clafoutis

Remove the pedoncules or spikes to make asparagus easier to digest

Asparagus with Parmesan Sauce: A Marriage in Heaven!

Clafoutis is not exactly the most stylish looking of dishes and not to be confused with a soufflé.  While a soufflé stays upright and puffy, made with bechamel and whisking up the egg whites, the much easier clafoutis falls back down after cooling from the oven – there’s nothing to worry about when that happens: it’s totally normal and as it should be!

Chef Excoffier added a parmesan sauce to his soufflés and I find that this adapted version compliments the Asparagus Clafoutis so well.  Although the clafoutis are already creamy inside and light, this cheesy addition means saucing it all up with the freshest French baguette (the French even have use the verb, ‘saucer’ to wipe the end of the sauce with the bread – it’s that good!).

Asparagus Clafoutis

Serve them directly in their pots, to make it even easier!

 

Asparagus Clafoutis with parmesan sauce

 

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this asparagus clafoutis recipe?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and let me know you’ve made it via Instagram and Facebook. Enjoy the recipe!

French Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

5 from 13 votes
Asparagus Clafoutis Recipe
Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

A perfect elegant yet simple dinner starter or light summer lunch served with crusty French baguettes to mop up the most silky creamy parmesan sauce.

Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Light Lunch, Starter, Supper
Cuisine: French
Keyword: asparagus recipes, french asparagus recipe, savoury clafoutis recipe
Calories: 395 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 500 g (1 lb) fresh asparagus (2 bunches)
  • 3 eggs organic
  • 2 egg yolks organic
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) all-purpose flour (or 1/2 tbsp cornflour to make this gluten-free)
  • 115 ml (4fl oz) half-fat single cream (I use 12% fat cream)
  • 55 g (2oz) matured parmesan cheese finely grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • good pinch each salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan Sauce
  • 55 g (2oz) matured parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 140 ml (5 fl oz) half-fat single cream (1/4 pint)
  • good pinch each ground nutmeg, salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan/Gas 4.  Prepare 4 ramekin oven dishes (or 6 muffin moulds) by greasing them well with softened butter. 
    Snap the asparagus spears about 1/4 off the bottom, where they break naturally. Peel or scrape them as close as possible to the spear heads then cut the spears into 3.

  2. Fill a large pan with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Add a generous heaped teaspoon of salt to the cooking water. Prepare a large bowl of (preferably iced) cold water.

  3. Cook the asparagus for 3 minutes (no more than 4 minutes if they're more chunky). Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the cold water to stop the cooking process.

  4. Prepare the clafoutis batter: beat the eggs, yolks, grated parmesan, flour and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Drain the asparagus, setting aside a spear top per person for the decor and one spear top each for the clafoutis. Place the rest of the asparagus in a food processor and mix to a purée with some of the batter.

  6. Stir in the puréed asparagus to the rest of the batter. Pour into the individual buttered ramekin dishes/muffin moulds, placing a spear top in each. Alternatively, pour into one buttered ovenproof dish, throwing in the rest of the spears. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (35 mins for a large clafoutis).

  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then using a sharp knife, release the clafoutis from around the edges and place directly on the serving plates.

For the Parmesan Sauce:
  1. Bring the cream to the boil, adding some salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg.  Add the parmesan then beat together well until smooth with a balloon whisk. Serve immediately around each clafoutis.

Recipe Notes

Decorate with an asparagus spear, a basil top or edible flowers.  Also delicious with smoked salmon. Serve with a crusty French baguette.

I used 4 ramekin dishes but regular muffin moulds also work well, including briochette silicone moulds (makes 6 generous portions).

Wine Suggestions: Serve with a fruity white wine - such as a Voignier (Condrieu a real treat!), a dry Muscat or Riesling from Alsace, or Chenin from the Loire (Savennières).

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

French Asparagus Clafoutis

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis – Most Versatile Summer French Dessert

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

This post was first published on 31 May 2018 but is now updated to include a video and demonstrate the different versions of this clafoutis recipe using ground almonds (gluten free). See below for different fruity Clafoutis combination ideas.

Now on Video

Demonstration: How to make a versatile French 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 – and discover just how versatile it is with the best of France’s summer fruits.

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.

Strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Adding in some wild strawberries to fill in the gaps!

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 if possible rather than frozen for this recipe, so that all the flavours are at their best.

strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Bubble, bubble, out of the oven

Pop in a Few Wild Strawberries

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

Baking Strawberries Intensifies the Flavours

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.

Don’t Have Pistachios?

If you don’t have pistachios, then use ground almonds instead.  This recipe is GLUTEN FREE.

French peonies from the market

Some pink peonies for you from the local market.

When the peonies arrive, it’s Clafoutis time!

Strawberry Clafoutis Dessert

Summer Fruit French Clafoutis Ideas

What we love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile. By replacing the fruit, this French Clafoutis ends up having its delicious variations all throughout the summer.

Here are some ideas using the same recipe batter (gluten free) using GROUND ALMONDS (almond flour) instead of pistachios:

If using the optional liqueur, then pick a fruity liqueur that matches the fruit used: e.g. Chambord liqueur with raspberries, Kirsch for cherries – although Kirsch is great with all fruits! For the amount of fruit used, my general rule of thumb is to lay just enough fruit in a single layer in the pie dish then just pour over the batter. It’s as simple as that. Check out the video here.

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis Recipe

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 cherry baked custard French recipe using fresh strawberries and ground pistachios (or almonds) to soak up the juices. Gluten free treat for breakfast, dessert or teatime.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: clafoutis, pistachio, strawberry, gluten-free,
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 273 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 275 g (10 oz) fresh strawberries washed, hulled & cut in 2 if big
  • 4 medium organic eggs (or 3 large eggs)
  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • 70 g (2.5oz) sugar + 1 tbsp for the dish
  • 170 g (6oz) single or pouring cream (I use half fat cream 12%)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) ground pistachios (or ground almonds)
  • 1/2 tbsp Amaretto or Kirsch liqueur (or other liqueur, depending on fruit chosen) (optional)
  • few drops almond extract (or vanilla powder/extract)
  • 15 g (0.5oz) butter for the dish
  • 1 tbsp almond slivers (optional, for topping)
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 (or almonds) and extract, if using.

  4. Pour this egg mixture over the strawberries and if using, sprinkle over some slivered almonds.

    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 a 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

This recipe is just as good using ground almonds (almond flour) instead of pistachios. Serve warm or chilled for breakfast, teatime or for dessert.

Dessert 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.

Variations using the same recipe batter (gluten free) with ground almonds:

Recipe now demonstrated on Video.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

French Clafoutis fruit variations

 

 

 

Palets Bretons: French Salted Butter Biscuits

Put just a few good quality basic ingredients together – salted butter, sugar, egg yolks, flour and baking powder – and what do you get? Irresistible Palets Bretons, the popular French salted butter biscuit or cookie from Brittany.

Palets Bretons

This recipe was originally published 10 April 2016. As it’s one of the most popular recipes on Mad About Macarons’ website, I have updated it to include a better, printable recipe card. I have also added ideas for toppings – let’s dress them up to celebrate Spring with teatime at home. 

See the video

click HERE

 

Palets Bretons Recipe

Homemade Palet Breton Recipe

These delicious sweet-yet-salty butter biscuits (cookies) may not be found easily in patisseries in and around Paris these days – but I guarantee you’ll find them lining the aisles of sweet munchies in French supermarkets. But let me warn you: once you make them, you’ll not want to buy the regular brands again.

You will, however, find them disguised in French patisseries.

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

Pastry chefs often use Palets Bretons as a base for individual creamy strawberry cakes, topped with chocolate or crunchy nougat, for example.

Palets Bretons Chocolate Easter Eggs

Chocolate toppings are the best during Easter – think of all the possibilities you could make!

If you’ve made them already, please do leave me a comment below and tell me how you like them – plain or decadent for a tea party.

Palets Bretons Recipe

Sablés and Palets Bretons: What’s the Difference?

Very like Sablés Bretons, Palets Bretons (meaning “Breton disks”) are much thicker, airy and lightly crispy.

Sablés Bretons are thinner and are a shiny salted biscuit/cookie resembling shortbread. Sablé means sand in French, referring to the crumb-like texture of the dough.

What Butter is Best to Use for Palets Bretons?

Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea, the best part is that Palets Bretons are not that sweet since they contain a large amount (about 20%) of the famous Breton salted butter from the North coast of France. This is what makes them compulsive eating!

Ideally, use good quality salted butter from Brittany for this recipe but – as this isn’t always easy to find outside of France – use unsalted butter and add good quality salt from Brittany such as fleur de sel from the Guérande, so that the resulting taste is more authentic.

Palets Bretons Chocolate Easter

How to Serve Palets Bretons?

I know you may be tempted to add vanilla, cinnamon, or lemon zest – but there’s nothing to beat enjoying Palets Bretons plain to enjoy their irresistible, salty and buttery addictiveness.

Somehow, the word ‘plain’ doesn’t do them justice! Taste them for yourself and tell me in the comments below how you prefer them.

Ideas for Palets Bretons Biscuit Toppings

This is also a handy French recipe to have up your sleeve as it serves as a base for many chic yet easy desserts like cheesecake, mousse or even if it’s just a topping of pastry cream and fresh strawberries.

  • Here I piped on some pistachio pastry cream, taken from my recipe book, Teatime in Paris. Many of the cream variations are good: e.g. coffee, hazelnut and chocolate;
  • A blob of chocolate ganache (or chocolate spread if you don’t have time) would also be perfect with the salt and sweet – especially for Easter: stick on some mini Easter eggs, edible flowers, raspberries – let your imagination go mad;
  • As this is part of the egg yolk recipe collection, USE UP THE EGG WHITES to make this Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse (and macarons, of course!)?
  • Top with crunchy nougatine – I saw a Parisian pastry shop carry this in their window – great idea, as the salty biscuit goes heavenly with the nuts.  Get the easiest French nougatine recipe here;
  • A simple dollop of Chantilly cream or even crème frâiche with a strawberry on top will be simply and utterly delicious.

Palets Bretons French Biscuits

How to make Palets Bretons: roll the dough into a sausage, chill, then press into unbuttered muffin moulds

How to Make Palets Bretons – or French Salted Butter Biscuits

Many French chefs tell you to roll out the dough between two baking sheets, cut out circles using cookie cutters and bake them directly in pastry rings. As I’m making them at home and don’t have that many pastry rings (who does?), I find it so much quicker and easier to roll out the dough into a sausage shape and bake them in muffin moulds.

This recipe makes enough for about 10 large Palets Breton biscuits using regular muffin moulds (at 156 calories per large biscuit). I love making these mini versions (using mini muffin moulds) but if you prefer the bigger version, then just double the recipe quantity below -the dough also freezes well up to a month in its sausage shape. Defrost in the fridge before use and cut to size for the rest of the recipe.

Egg Yolk Recipe

For those of you who love to make macarons, macaron trifles, meringues, financier cakes, tuiles, etc. you need just egg whites. This recipe uses 2 egg yolks (or 4 yolks if you make a bigger batch of larger biscuits), so is ideal to make if you’re planning to make any of them later.

Don’t forget that there’s an egg yolk recipe database for you on the website, searchable by number of egg yolks!

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

Best Buttery French Teacakes & Biscuits

Love buttery French teacakes and biscuits like these Palets Bretons? Enjoy similar, quick and easy French teatime recipes in the first chapter of my second book, Teatime in Paris!
You’ll find Financier teacakes (including gluten-free chocolate hazelnut), chocolate-filled Tigrés, Madeleines, Diamond biscuits, almond Tuiles, Canelés, Coconut macaroons … and that’s just part of the FIRST chapter, out of 6 main French pastry types.

 

5 from 8 votes
Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits
Palets Bretons - Salted French Butter Biscuits from Brittany
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Easy French recipe for the best buttery, salted cookies using just 6 easy-to-find ingredients and ideas for teatime toppings

Course: Dessert, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French butter cookies, palets bretons, Salted butter biscuits,
Servings: 20 Mini biscuits
Calories: 78 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 90 g (3oz) butter (unsalted)* at room temperature
  • 75 g (2.5oz) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt (fleur de sel) omit if using good quality French salted butter
  • 2 egg yolks organic
  • 125 g (4oz) Plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. Using a mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar and salt until light and creamy.  Mix in the egg yolks then the flour and baking powder until a lovely soft dough forms. (If you don’t have a mixer or electric whisk, this can be done by hand in a large bowl).

  2. Using the palm of your hands, roll the dough back and forward to create a sausage shape until the diameter is the size of your moulds (here I used mini muffin silicone moulds @5cm diameter). Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan (gas mark 4)

  4. Cut disks of 1.5cm (3/4 inch) and press them into the muffin moulds (unbuttered – there’s enough butter in the biscuits!)

  5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  6. Leave to cool in the moulds then turn them out on to a baking rack, pretty side up.

Recipe Notes

* As finding good quality salted butter from Brittany is difficult to find outside of France, I make this recipe using unsalted butter and add good quality 'fleur de sel' from the Guérande.

Delicious on their own with a cup of tea (such as Jasmine green tea or Ceylon).
They’re also ideal as a base for easy French individual desserts. For example, top with Chantilly cream, chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, lemon curd, or French pastry cream and strawberries.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits