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Mint Omelette – Corsican Style

Let me show you one of our favourite easiest, summer lunches: a Corsican Mint Omelette. This recipe was first published on 8 June 2018 but now updated to include a new video.

I make this mint omelette often in summer (totally copied from Antoine’s Corsican mum) to help contain our friendly-but-wild mint varieties, as it makes a deliciously refreshing dish, served with plenty of fresh, crusty baguette. It’s a change from Mojito Macarons!

When I first posted this photo on social media, your reactions were, “What? There’s just mint in it?”

Yes, there is.

Mint Omelette, Corsican style

My mother-in-law always makes it just with mint – but there are two versions to a Corsican Mint Omelette: one is with mint, the other with mint and cheese.  However, I didn’t tell you the best part about a Corsican mint omelette.

Firstly let me tell you, if you’re new here, that my husband is Corsican. He’s from l’Ile de Beauté, the beautiful island that sits southeast of  France’s hexagone and above the Italian island of Sardinia. While Corsica has officially been part of France since 1768, its culture is still predominantly Italian.

See my video HERE

Corsican Mint Omelette Recipe Video

It’s fascinating listening to my mother-in-law speak the Corsican language with her neighbours, with its Italian and French lilts. To give you an example, bonjour is bonghjornu and au revoir is avvèdeci. Admittedly, I’m too shy to attempt the lingo, as there’s a particular accent that sets the Corsicans apart – you could say it sets their ‘bones apart’ (Sorry, couldn’t resist an awful pun, as Napoleon Bonaparte was born here). My only two words are va bè (ça va), said slowly with a positive shoulder-shrugging gesture that probably says, “I may sound ridiculous but yes, everything is cool”.

Two-thirds of the island is made up of dramatic mountains with perched hilltop villages, which influences Corsica’s cuisine. Although fresh fish and seafood are popular in the touristy coastal resorts, inland there’s trout from the rivers – always served simply – but good, rustic food from the land features most.

Corsicans love their meat (namely lamb, boar and lots of veal: try this Corsican Veal and Peppers recipe here), their own cheeses (notably brocciu – read more here in my recipe post for Fiadone, Corsican Cheesecake), vegetables and wild herbs from the unique maquis, the most unmistakably Corsican fragrance of the surrounding shrubs that cover the island.

Corsican herbs like mint in cooking

Corsican dishes rely on the land, using herbs and vegetables fresh from the garden or surrounding maquis

 

Antoine’s family hilltop village is nearest the mountain town of Corte. Homegrown vegetables and herbs are in nearly all of the villagers’ gardens and, while there are plenty of dishes I could cite here, let’s focus on mint – otherwise I can feel the next book coming on!

It’s a powerful, yet subtle ingredient that’s added to many of the most memorable dishes I’ve had in Corsica, including the traditional Cannelloni au Brocciu. Ever since I tasted the mint coming through the cheese in a restaurant in Rogliano (in Corsica’s top finger) I make a lazy version of it (without stuffing cannelloni tubes). Adding mint just gives it that special, extra intriguing taste to this Corscian Brocciu Lasagne and stuffed cheesy courgettes – like, “What is it that I’m tasting?”

It’s peppermint.

Differences between a French and Corsican Omelette

I left the best for last. So, what makes a Corsican omelette different to a regular French omelette?

Mint Omelette

One is folded over, the other is served flat but still runny and soft inside

Authentic Corsican Omelettes

Authentic Corsican omelettes are made using OLIVE OIL and, instead of being folded or rolled over, they are SERVED FLAT – cooked more underneath and just a quick minute (maximum) more on the facing side.

As with the regular French omelette, it’s still deliciously runny inside; as the French say, it’s an Omelette Baveuse – literally dribbling.

Corsican Mint Omelette with cheese

Best Substitute for Brocciu Corsican Cheese

Traditionally, brocciu cheese is often added to a mint omelette – but as it’s difficult to find (often expensive) and not widely available during the summer months (it’s normally produced between November to June, when the milk is at its richest – otherwise it’s known as ‘brousse’ if it’s not 40% fat by AOC standards), we need an alternative. A Corsican chef told me to use la Faisselle in France, which is good, but I believe the best substitute for brocciu is a good quality, soft fresh goat’s cheese – although a good, salty ricotta cheese also works well.

Mint Omelette Corsican recipe - step by step

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Mint Omelette recipe?  Please leave a comment below (it motivates me to continue posting here) or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much for popping in!

Corsican French mint omelette

Mint Omelette – Corsican Style

A frittata incu a menta (e brocciu)

5 from 16 votes
Corsican Mint Omelette
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A simple omelette dish, popular in Corsica made with mint and often includes Brocciu cheese. If you can't find fresh Brocciu, a good fresh goat's cheese or ricotta is excellent.

Course: Light Lunch, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: Corsican, French
Keyword: Corsican,, easyrecipes,, Mint, Omelette,
Servings: 3
Calories: 241 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 6 Large eggs Organic
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil Extra Virgin
  • 10-15 Fresh mint leaves (peppermint) chopped finely
  • 50 g (2oz) Brocciu or fresh goat's cheese roughly chopped or crumbled (OPTIONAL)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork just until the eggs and whites are mixed together. Add the salt and pepper, according to taste.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick omelette pan over a medium heat.

  3. Tip the egg mixture into the pan with the hot oil. As the eggs cook, quickly move around the mixture away from the sides, tilting the pan so that the liquid from the middle goes all around the outside, to enable more even cooking.

  4. Top evenly with the mint and cheese (if using) and, while still a bit liquid, top with a large plate and tip the omelette onto the plate.  Carefully, slide the omelette back into the pan, cooking the other side just for a minute then serve the omelette with the least cooked side upright.  The omelette should be soft and runny in the middle ("baveuse" or dribbling, as the French say).

    Corsican Mint Omelette recipe - step by step
Recipe Notes

Corsican omelettes are served flat and not folded over like French omelettes.  It doesn't matter if the omelette isn't coloured - it's normal! Just ensure the eggs are cooked but the omelette is still a bit runny or baveuse (juicy).

See quick recipe video here.

Nutritional information: provides 21g protein

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

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 7 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

Fluffy Cheese Scones

Whatever time of day it is, there’s something incredibly comforting about serving warmed fluffy cheese scones with melted butter and a pot of tea.

Somehow teatime at home is all highly civilised.

Fluffy Cheese Scones

This post was originally published in March 2017 as Cheese Scones with Spring Onions & Rosemary. As it has been one of your favourite recipes on le blog, I’ve updated the photos and done away with the fancy spring onions. Now you still have the fluffiest cheese scones that can be rustled up in even less time. Moreover, for 12 scones this recipe only needs one egg so while perhaps rationing our fresh produce, this recipe should rise to the occasion!

NOW ON VIDEO!
Click HERE

 

Fluffy Cheese Scones

Out of the treats that come out of our kitchen, there’s one thing I can serve for lunch – in true British style with soup – and my ‘Scottish-half’ girls always squeal,  “YES! CHEESE SCONES!”  They may be so grown up now but as soon as these scones come out of the oven, my teenagers are little girls purring like the cat that’s got the cream.  Perhaps it’s the memory of our cheese scone ritual we had, stopping off at the Scottish garden centre tearoom near Prestwick airport on our way back to Paris Beauvais.  We did this so often over the years visiting Granny and Grandpa that it was our shuttle. Alas, these days there’s far too much homework and exams.

As a result, I make cheese scones at home, as they are – surprisingly – so quick and easy to make.

Two Top Tips for High-Rise, Fluffiest Cheese Scones

My idea of a perfect cheese scone is that it’s light, high and fluffy.  I started off many years ago using the classic recipe in the Be-Ro Flour Cookbook. Now, over the years I have used this slightly adapted recipe which ensures that they have a lovely height.

There are TWO SECRETS to high rise scones:

  • Don’t be shy on the baking powder. Even if using self-raising flour, add a teaspoon; and
  • Don’t work the dough too much – including not rolling it out too flat.  Keep it quite thick, cutting them with a scone or cookie cutter.

How Do You Eat Cheese Scones?

How do you eat yours?  We just split them in half while warm and spread on a little butter, watching it melt.  Perfect with a cup of tea – and also with soup (see ideas below).

 

Best Cheese to Use for Savoury Scones

Ideally use a good, strong, mature cheddar (orange will give it a lovely colour but it’s not necessary) as the flavour should shine through. Using half of grated aged parmesan or a mature hard orange vieille mimolette adds extra punch too. The stronger the better!

Personally, as we don’t have the easiest access to the best mature cheddar in France, I use a half and half mix of what orange cheddar I can find with best quality French Comté cheese (preference 12-18 months mature), thus making them a bit of a Scottish-French Auld Alliance.

Scone Glaze

As we’re currently being careful not to use too many eggs (I want to avoid going to the shops too much!), I brushed the tops of the scones with milk only.
For a shiny royal scone look, however, the best way is to brush the tops of the scones with the milk and egg yolk glaze.

Then top the scones with more grated cheese and/or poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

The result? The cheese scones have a lovely, finished shine that gives that slight crunch to the outside and split open warm, they’re soft, light and fluffy inside – ready to spread with quickly melting butter!

fluffy cheese scones soup

Look – we’re not even a shiny batch but open us up and taste!

Quick Soup Recipes from the Pantry

Cheese scones are also a real treat served for a light lunch with a comforting bowl of soup. Here are some ideas for homemade soup, using little from the pantry:

 

perfect-fluffy-cheese-scones

Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe

5 from 13 votes
Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe
Fluffy Cheese Scones
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy recipe for the fluffiest, light cheese scones. Only uses one egg for a batch of 12

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Light Lunch, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cheese scones, savoury scones
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 293 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 250 g (9oz) Plain (all-purpose) flour T55
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder (use only 1 tsp if using self-raising flour)
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 50 g (2oz) Butter, unsalted (at room temperature)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Cheese, finely grated (Cheddar, French Comté, Mimolette)*
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary, finely chopped (or fresh thyme, chives, dried Herbes de Provence)
  • 1 egg (@60g)
  • 100 ml (3.5fl oz) Milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
Glaze
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7/200°C fan. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder/soda, salt, pepper, and rosemary in a large bowl.  Either rub in the butter using your fingers but if you have a mixer, this is even better.  Mix just until the butter looks like breadcrumbs in the flour then add the cheese. Add the egg and milk and mix until fully combined. The result should be a sticky dough. If you find it's too dry, add a little bit more milk.

  3. Roll out on a floured surface to about 2 cm thick (nearly an inch) and using a scone/cookie cutter (6cm/2.5"), cut out medium-sized rounds. Alternatively, to save time or if you don't have cutters, roll into a circle (use a plate as a guide) and cut into triangles with a sharp knife.

  4. Place on the baking tray and brush with a mixture of egg yolk and a little milk to glaze (yolk is optional but recommended for a shiny glaze).

  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe Notes

YIELD: Makes 12 scones.

CALORIES: One portion of 2 scones is 293 calories.

CHEESES: mature, strong cheeses are best such as cheddar, mimolette, parmesan, comté & gruyère.

BUTTERMILK SCONES: If you replace the milk with buttermilk, omit 1 tsp of baking powder, but personally I prefer cheese scones made with milk, as find they rise better.

VIDEO: Now available on video.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding (Vegan)

When we’re looking for satisfying, healthy comfort food using cupboard ingredients, then this Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding ticks the boxes.

Made the night before, we love it chilled or slightly warm for breakfast. Top with toasted almonds and served with extra dried fruits, it’s all prepared in just 35 minutes. What’s more, these creamy pots happen to be gluten free and vegan.

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Almond Milk as a Cupboard Diet Staple

Only a couple of weeks ago, I found myself reaching for more long-life cupboard ingredients at the supermarket that could come in handy over time. Although I can’t find an alternative to fresh cow’s milk for my morning bowl of coffee, as a family, we have completely converted to serving almond milk with our breakfast maple & oat granola.  Yippee!  We’re making progress on the vegan front, albeit slowly but each step helps, I hope.

Almond milk’s shelf life is long, making it an ideal pantry staple. What’s more, it is fortified with calcium, is lactose-free and is lower in calories than regular milk.
(Note: for those who are allergic to nuts or almonds, replace almond milk with coconut milk.)

Moreover, what’s more exciting than having a delicious challenge to make gourmet food with simple, easy-to-find ingredients?

Sweetened vs Unsweetened Almond Milk

Normally I spend time checking labels but exceptionally, this time around, in my speed to get organised as quickly as possible, I reached for our local French supermarket’s own brand of almond milk.

As Lucie poured it over her coveted dark chocolate & coconut granola the other day, she was shocked at how sweet it was. Reading the label together – to our amazement – the brand had added sugar to the almond milk.

Who adds sugar to milk, I ask you?

How to Use Sweetened Almond Milk

Clearly we had to find another use for this sweetened almond milk. So that no food would go to waste, I tried out my favourite French creamy riz au lait recipe, using less rice, much less sugar, no egg yolks and came up with this creamy almond milk version.

I literally added just a couple of tablespoons of raw cane sugar to this rice pudding but if you are using an organic, unsweetened almond milk (like we normally use from the health food store), then use the sugar quantities I’ve stated in the recipe below.

What Can I Use Instead of Almond Milk?

Don’t have almond milk in the pantry? Then rice milk or soya milk also work just as well, keeping the rice pudding creamy.

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding Topping Ideas

If you like the touch of rose to desserts, then I urge you to add just a little rosewater to this (see recipe below).  Topping the rice puddings just takes it to another level. Here are some ideas, based on what you have at hand:

  • Chopped fresh fruit or chopped dried fruits (figs, apricots, dates);
  • Toasted almonds (or any other nuts) just adds that perfect crunch and brings out the natural almond flavours too. Either toast them for a few minutes under the grill or dry-fry in a frying pan.
  • Top with a spoonful of jam – even better if slightly warmed so that it melts on top. I love fig jam, rhubarb & rose jam (or my strawberry & elderflower speedy jam in my book, ‘Teatime in Paris’) – or serve with this rhubarb and hibiscus compote – it’s fabulous.
  • Oat praline topping. Incidentally, make a batch of it and store it in a jam jar and use to top on ice cream or any dessert.

 

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

5 from 7 votes
Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding
Almond Milk Rice Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A Quick French Riz au lait rice pudding made with organic almond milk for a healthy vegan breakfast or dessert and an easy recipe to prepare using long-life cupboard ingredients.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: almond milk recipes, almond milk rice pudding, quick rice pudding recipe, riz au lait, veganbreakfasts
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 420 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 1 litre organic almond milk (6%) (unsugared)*
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder/extract)
  • 140 g (5oz) short grain pudding rice (arborio/risotto rice)
  • 30 g (1oz) golden sultanas (raisins or other dried fruits)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • slivered almonds (optional, for decor)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the almond milk to the boil with the vanilla pod, if using (or vanilla powder/extract). Remove the vanilla pod, scraping out the seeds with a sharp knife and return the seeds to the pan.

  2. Rain in the rice, sugar, rose water and dried fruits. Using a wooden spoon, stir every 3-4 minutes so that the rice doesn't stick together.

  3. The rice pudding will start to thicken after 25 minutes. Continue to stir gently for another 5 minutes and transfer to individual pots or dishes. Leave to cool and either serve or chill and serve next morning.

Recipe Notes
  • If you discover your almond milk contains sugar, reduce the sugar by at least a half.

Serve chilled or at slightly warm with toasted almonds (toasted for a few minutes under a grill or dry-fried in a frying pan) and any topping of your choice: e.g. chopped dried apricots, chopped banana, honey, walnuts. See more ideas in the post.

Don't have almond milk? Rice or Soya Milk also works just as well.

See my other recipe here for a French custardy rice pudding, using egg yolks.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Bon appétit !

Quick Almond Milk Rice Pudding

Vacherin Ice Cream Cake

The Vacherin Ice Cream Cake has to be one of the most impressive yet simplest special occasion cakes to make – it almost feels like cheating!

Trust the French to turn something we generally have stocks at home into an occasion. Take a tub of ice cream, a tub of sorbet and dress it up to party with some meringue and whipped cream. It also just happens to be gluten free.

Vacherin Ice Cream Cake Recipe

What is a French Vacherin Dessert?

Not to be confused with the round Vacherin cheese made of cow’s milk, the Vacherin dessert is also round in shape and basically composed of ice cream. I’ve seen some Vacherins on the web that are confusing, as they look more like a pavlova just with meringue, cream and fruit. A French Vacherin is an iced celebration dessert.

It couldn’t be easier: a Vacherin is made up of a layer or two of meringue, topped with vanilla ice cream then raspberry sorbet and finished off with a Chantilly cream, often laced with a little festive tipple.

An Ice Cream Birthday Cake

Vacherin Ice Cream Birthday Cake

My French father-in-law, Jean-Pierre, adores a Vacherin. Each time we have a family reunion or party of some sort – whether it’s a birthday or an excuse for a special dessert, he always orders a Vacherin Glacé from the local patisserie. It’s such a French classic, that most patisseries sell them in the freezer, opposite the counter.

So, when Jean-Pierre (‘le Toucan‘) was visiting recently, I decided to make my own homemade Vacherin to surprise him for his 80th birthday. Thankfully they arrived when they did last month, before this Covid-19 virus has taken over.

Pink Boobies

Surprise, Jean-Pierre! Except I really did create an element of surprise.

So much so, I shocked even myself by a last-minute mind-blowing idea of adding some pink colouring to the meringue.  Not exactly a great idea for a very traditional Corsican father-in-law male – but let’s just say it continued the raspberry sorbet theme? I loved how he totally ignored my pink boobies all around the cake, though. Luckily I had a few macaron shells handy to disguise them!

Vacherin French Ice Cream Dessert

Easy Dessert to Prepare in Advance

Moreover, a Vacherin is a perfect dessert made in advance.  Just prepare the day before, the morning itself – or even a few days before.

If you prefer the Chantilly cream fresh and unfrozen, then add this at the last minute and enjoy adding your own personal decorations. I added gold leaf, some pistachios and served cape gooseberries on the side, just as an excuse for some winter fruit, otherwise raspberries are great.

How to Prepare a Vacherin

A Vacherin is more about organising the presentation of ice cream than an actual recipe, to be honest. Traditionally it’s made with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet, but I used nougat ice cream with extra raspberry ripple in it. Pistachio ice cream would be wonderful too.

I make my own meringue as a base but you could buy yours or even make a macaron base out of it and stick macaron shells or whole macarons all around the cake.  Just follow the macaron recipe instructions in either of my books.

Warning: If you do buy macarons from a store, ensure they have not been frozen first – otherwise do not freeze and serve at the last minute.

First take an 18cm cake ring. Trace a circle on parchment paper. Whip the meringue until stiff peaks are easy to work with a piping bag and pipe it as a spiral in the ring (no need to add colouring – keep it white!)

With the remaining meringue, pipe out little kisses. These will be stuck around the cake at the end.

While the meringue is baking in a coolish oven, use the cake ring to mould out both ice cream layers. The ice cream shouldn’t be too hard, making it easy to spread it into the ring. For this part, you will need to act fast so that the ice cream is easy to work with (still frozen, not melted!). KLxDate

Start with vanilla ice cream (or try this lemon verbena ice cream), then with raspberry sorbet. Leave each layer to harden in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Top the vanilla ice cream with the meringue base, turn upside down and top with Chantilly Cream, sticking on the meringue kisses around the sides using more cream.
NOTE: I don’t add any sugar to the Chantilly cream, as there’s enough sugar in the meringue and ice cream.

Place in the freezer until dessert! I should add that this dessert is gluten free.

Vacherin Ice Cream Dessert Macarons

 

Vacherin French Ice Cream Dessert

French Vacherin Ice Cream Cake

5 from 4 votes
Vacherin-Ice-Cream-Dessert
Vacherin Ice Cream Cake
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Freezing Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hrs 25 mins
 

A French iced celebration cake that's easy to prepare in advance. Just add meringue to a layer of vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet and top with unsugared Chantilly cream, laced with Chambord raspberry liqueur (gluten free).

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French iced dessert, gluten free desserts, Ice cream cake, Ice Cream Dessert, Vacherin
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 396 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Meringue
  • 3 egg whites
  • 100 g (3.5oz) sugar
  • 100 g (3.5oz) icing sugar (powdered/confectioner's sugar)
Ice Cream
  • 500 g (18oz) vanilla ice cream or other creamy, soft ice cream
  • 400 g (14oz) raspberry sorbet
Chantilly Cream
  • 300 g (10.5oz whipping cream (crème fleurette 30% fat)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or few drops vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Chambord Liqueur (or Kirsch) (optional)
Decor (optional)
  • pistachios
  • dusting of icing/confectioner's sugar
  • fresh raspberries
Instructions
Meringue
  1. Take an 18cm cake ring and trace the ring on to parchment paper as a guide for the spiral. Preheat the oven to 130°C/110°C fan/250°F/Gas 1/2

  2. Using an electric whisk (hand or stand mixer) whip up the egg whites until foaming, then gradually add a third of the normal sugar until it starts to look brilliant, then add the rest until the meringue has stiff peaks. Stop the whisk and fold in the icing sugar

  3. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag with a regular, straight tip and pipe out into a spiral on to the parchment paper. Using the rest of the meringue, either pipe out another spiral or pipe out small kisses. Bake in the oven for an hour.

Ice Cream
  1. Using ice cream that's a little soft for ease of use, place the cake ring on to a rimmed baking sheet and spread the ice cream into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then repeat the process by topping with the sorbet. Freeze for another 30 minutes.

Chantilly Cream and Preparation
  1. Whip the whipping cream for about 5 minutes until thickened. There's no need to add any sugar as there's enough sugar in the ice cream and meringue. Once whipped into peaks, add the liqueur, if using. Transfer the cream to a piping bag with a star tip.

  2. It needs quick work during this stage so that the ice cream doesn't melt. Remove the ice cream mould, placing the meringue spiral underneath. Spread a third of the cream all around the surface and stick on the meringue kisses around the sides, sticking on a little extra cream for each meringue. Finish off the rest of the cream by piping it out in a circle around the edges. Either serve immediately or freeze for at least another 30 minutes until ready to serve. Decorate as desired with pistachios, raspberries and icing sugar.

Recipe Notes

Serve with a rosé Champagne or demi-sec Champagne.

I would recommend enjoying this dessert in one go and not re-freezing this dessert if leftovers (who needs an excuse to eat the whole lot, anyway?). Ideally, make using shop-bought ice cream - although this is delicious with homemade lemon verbena ice cream.

This iced celebration dessert is gluten free.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Vacherin French Ice Cream Cake

 

 

Luxury Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

There’s nothing more cereal-ously satisfying to see that many of you still enjoy making this healthy, homemade maple granola for breakfast.  For serious chocolate and coconut lovers, I’ve now taken it to a nutty new level. Make way for a luxury dark Chocolate Coconut Granola with plump dried cranberries, toasted brazil nuts, seeds – all wrapped in maple syrup and delicious dark chocolate. Moreover, this granola just so happens to be vegan.

The recipe is now demonstrated on a short video on my YouTube Channel HERE!

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Granola

No Added Sugar

This started out as a basis of a recipe I saw in a French magazine years ago. However, it was unnecessarily overloaded with sugar. You may know I have a sweet tooth – but not THAT sweet. Too much sugar can totally kill a dessert or a macaron filling overloaded with it. Likewise, for breakfast, I prefer sugar kept to the minimum. There’s NO added sugar in this!

When it comes to granola, the beauty of making homemade is you can control this.  By adding natural sugars via healthy, dried fruits and maple syrup, there is NO ADDED SUGAR. Add the dried fruits after baking so that the juicy fruit retains all of its healthy nutrients.

chocolate coconut granola vegan

Gluten Free Homemade Granola

If you follow a strict diet or you are Celiac, please do ensure that your oats are specifically labelled as being GLUTEN FREE.

When is Granola Not Vegan?

Making this for somebody following a strictly vegan diet and worried about granola being 100% vegan?
Granola isn’t vegan when honey or milk chocolate is used. Also ensure that there are no milk additives in your cocoa powder.

Chocolate Coconut Granola for Vegans

If you are following a strict vegan diet, use vegan dark chocolate for the recipe. Good quality chocolate chips are good, as are dark chocolate chips. If you’re not following a vegan diet, however, you may prefer to use milk chocolate which will work well.

chocolate coconut vegan granola

Quality Chocolate – Best Tips for Baking Chocolate Granola

How do you bake a good quality chocolate granola? The the best tip I have for you is adding the chocolate AFTER baking. Bake it together in the oven and the chocolate will be burnt – who wants that? Burnt chocolate is incredibly bitter and what a waste of good chocolate. Instead, melt it gently and give it the respect it deserves.

Either wait until your granola cools down completely and add chocolate chips or, my favourite method, as soon as it comes out of the oven, scatter over your chocolate chips, drops or grated dark chocolate and leave it to melt into the  hot cereal.  As soon as the chocolate melts, stir the granola around again to mix it well together. Leave to cool (even quicker if 15 minutes in the fridge) and voilà – a gourmet chocolate coconut granola is ready for you to fill a cookie jar!

Healthy Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts are particularly good for selenium (great for memory). Just 2 brazil nuts a day will have you covered – just don’t forget to buy them!

Sesame seeds (poppy seeds or flaxseeds) are good natural sources of calcium. All this makes for a HEALTHY THYROID too – and, if you’re like me without a thyroid, it’s a great way to keep a daily healthy supply of essential nuts and seeds.

Dark chocolate coconut granola

Healthy Homemade Granola Variations

To vary the flavours, try with a mixture of almonds like in this plain Maple Granola without the chocolate

or with a hint of warm spices such as cinnamon, gingerbread spice or pumpkin spice for a spiced festive granola version for the holidays.

 

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

5 from 4 votes
chocolate coconut granola vegan
Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Homemade dark chocolate granola with coconut, brazil nuts, cranberries and sesame seeds with no added sugar, just natural ingredients to sweeten this best luxury start to the day.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate granola, granola, vegan granola
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 300 g (10.5oz/3 cups) jumbo oats (if on a strict GF diet, ensure they're labelled gluten free)
  • 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) brazil nuts roughly chopped (or mix with walnuts)
  • 50 g (2oz/1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 25 g (2 tbsp) sesame seeds (or flax seeds)
  • 50 g (2oz) dessicated coconut
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 75 g (3 tbsp) coconut oil (melted) or a neutral oil
  • 100 ml (5 tbsp) maple syrup
To add after baking:
  • 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) dried plump cranberries (or golden raisins)
  • 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate chips, drops, or grated chocolate (Vegan if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (Gas 4).

  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chocolate and dried fruits. Mix well until completely coated in the coconut oil and maple syrup.

  3. Cover a baking tray with baking paper (or a silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turn over the mixture and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes.

  4. As soon as out of the oven, immediately sprinkle over the chocolate chips/drops/grated chocolate and the dried fruits over the hot granola (see note*). After about 5 minutes, turn over the granola to mix in the melted chocolate and dried fruits. Leave to cool for the chocolate to set either on the counter at room temperature or for 15 minutes in the fridge. Transfer to a sealed container when cool.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy at its best within 10 days.

* Quicker altervative: wait until the granola cools completely then add chocolate chips and fruits (the result is different - no clumps achieved with melted chocolate but still good).

Serve with almond milk, fresh berries or with homemade rhubarb compote for a vegan breakfast or any of your favourite vegan accompaniments.
Otherwise, if it doesn't need to be vegan, enjoy with yoghurt, milk or Skyr (we're seeing this appearing from Iceland in French supermarkets all of a sudden - it's great!)

See the short Video Demonstration here.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Chocolate coconut granola vegan