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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

 

 

 

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Truth be told, I was planning all sorts of French travel posts and recipes lately but have been so tired after radiation treatment, I’ve things left aside until after the holidays. Yesterday, however, I did make these Crispy Sesame Tuiles for teatime, simply as they were so quick to make: they’re made in only 30 minutes!

I experimented using the basic Almond Tuiles recipe in my book, Teatime in Paris. Not only did they work using sesame seeds but they were so delicious, we couldn’t stop eating them! The bonus? They can keep even longer in a biscuit tin – if you can resist the temptation.

SEE THE VIDEO 

HERE

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Sesame Seeds – High in Calcium

Why Sesame Tuiles? Well, for the last 4 months, I’ve had trouble balancing calcium levels following the removal of my thyroid – and especially parathyroid glands. Even if you don’t have thyroid issues, we need calcium in our diet for healthy bones. Sesame seeds are naturally high in calcium, so I’ve been sprinkling them on more or less everything: on breakfast oat granola, on my favourite goat’s cheese salade de chevre chaud, soups like corn chowder and grilled Béarnaise chicken. It has worked!

Then yesterday, I just thought, why not replace the almonds with sesame seeds in my favourite, easy-and-fast-to-make teatime Tuiles? They’re even crispier and not as sweet as the classic French biscuits.

sesame tuiles

Whether you need more calcium or not in your diet, I urge you to try them: you’ll discover that Crispy Sesame Tuiles are also rather compulsive eating. What’s more – YOU NEED ONLY 2 EGG WHITES!

Sesame Tuiles

How Can I Serve Sesame Tuiles?

Crispy sesame tuiles are not just great on their own for teatime. Here are some ideas to serve with some of our favourite desserts:

In the recipe I have used white sesame seeds but try black sesame too. What about serving sesame tuiles with this Black Sesame ice cream, inspired by our gourmet visit to Japan last summer.

Sesame tuiles ice cream
Read more on our experience of Teatime in Japan here.

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Crispy Sesame Tuiles Recipe

4.89 from 9 votes
Sesame Tuiles Best Recipe
Crispy Sesame Tuiles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Cooling Time
14 mins
Total Time
32 mins
 

A variation of French Tuiles (literally 'roof tiles' by their biscuit shape) using sesame seeds instead of almonds - and high in calcium. Recipe adapted from French almond Tuiles from my book, Teatime in Paris.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: teatime recipes
Servings: 9 people
Calories: 162 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 70 g (2.5oz) Egg whites from 2 eggs
  • 65 g (2.25oz) cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 65 g (2.25oz) butter melted
  • 35 g (1.25oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 65 g (2.25oz) sesame seeds
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/170°C fan/gas 5.

  2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together with a spoon until well combined.

  3. Leave to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes - this will make your batter easy to spread out thinly on the baking sheet.

  4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper or a silicone mat and spoon the mixture into oval discs - using the back of a spoon - to about 6cm (2.5") in diameter.

  5. Bake in separate batches* (one tray at a time) in the oven for 8 minutes - keep your eye on them, as they cook fast. They should be toasted around the edges and cooked but golden in the middle.

  6. Straight from the oven, transfer each flat tuile (using a palet knife or pie slice) to a rolling pin to shape them to their tuile - or roof-tile - shape. Otherwise transfer to a wire rack to cool for 4 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Enjoy the tuiles freshly made, otherwise eat within 2 days if stored in an airtight container.

* If not using all the batter, keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

If you love rhubarb, you’ll fall in love with this French Rose Rhubarb Orange cake.  It’s on the same lines as this  easy sticky almond and lemon cake yet made extra moist with a little rhubarb pre-roasted in fresh orange with a subtle hint of rose. The welcome timing of rose and rhubarb season is also perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day.

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

Rhubarb & Rose Recipes

By now, you may have noticed I adore rhubarb and rose together. I even wear a French perfume of the two together – it’s glorious. To taste the two, have you tried this rhubarb and rose sorbet or this rhubarb, rose and hibiscus jam?

It doesn’t just stop at roses: in my second book, ‘Teatime in Paris‘, I also have a recipe for Rhubarb and Poppy macarons. Poppy is a particularly French sentimental flavour, associated with French childhood bonbons or sweeties (you’ll find the extract in speciality stores, such as Deco Relief in Paris. See stockists here.) I loved discovering that it totally worked with rhubarb.

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

A Yearlong Tip for Rhubarb Fans

For fans that find the rhubarb season FAR TOO SHORT, make batches of this delicious rhubarb compote and freeze it in jam jars.  I often make it without the ginger, infusing a fruity hibiscus teabag in it to pink it up and add a touch of rose water. So, when rhubarb is well out of season, omit the roasted rhubarb step in this Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake and serve it with your defrosted rhubarb compote – it’s the best combination ever!

What’s more, this cake is pure heaven served with rose macarons, lemon or almond macarons (recipes in Mad About Macarons) – or sublime with rose and orange blossom macarons (recipe in Teatime in Paris).

While developing the recipe, I based it on the lines of a French financier style teacake (also in Teatime in Paris) but reduced the butter and added egg whites to lighten it up a bit for a bigger cake. It’s also reduced in sugar as much as I dare but, of course add a little more, if you do prefer it slightly sweeter.

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

French Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

More Rhubarb Recipes

My Grandpa’s favourite pudding was Rhubarb and Custard and there’s nothing much to beat it, especially with delicious memories of growing up in Scotland.  We loved putting ginger with rhubarb, from jams to compotes, but the various combinations or just pure rhubarb on its own is fabulous.  Check out my UK blogger friends’ rhubarb recipes too – they also write out their recipes by weight (grams/ounces):

rose rhubarb orange cake

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

5 from 7 votes
Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake
Rhubarb, Rose and Orange Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
17 mins
Total Time
37 mins
 

Celebrate rhubarb and rose season with this financier style rose rhubarb orange cake, an easy French teatime treat with reduced sugar, making it also ideal for breakfast or brunch - or dessert served with rhubarb compote and some rose macarons.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French rhubarb cake, rhubarb cake, rhubarb financier, rhubarb recipes, rhubarb rose orange
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 270 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Roasted Rhubarb with Rose and Orange
  • 2 sticks rhubarb, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large unwaxed orange, juice (organic)
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp of the grated zest (below)
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
Almond Cake
  • 110 g (4oz) butter, softened (unsalted)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) sugar
  • zest from 1 large unwaxed orange organic
  • 2 large eggs organic
  • 75 g (3oz) egg whites (from 2 eggs)
  • 200 g (7oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 35 g (1.5oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • slivered almonds, for sprinkling (optional)
Instructions
Roasted Rhubarb
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°Cfan/360°F/Gas 4.  Line a 23cm non-stick cake tin with parchment paper.

  2. Wash rhubarb, cutting off the extremities and cut into 5cm sticks. Place in a non-stick roasting tin with 1tsp of the orange zest and all the juice. Add rose water and sprinkle over rhubarb with cane sugar. Roast until soft for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Almond Cake
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy - either using a ballon whisk o mix together in a mixer.

  2. Gradually whisk in the orange zest, eggs, whites, ground almonds, flour, baking powder until mixed together.

  3. Place the roasted rhubarb in the bottom of the cake tin and top with the mixture.  Sprinkle over the slivered almonds, if using, and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

  4. Leave to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.  Brush over the rhubarb, orange and rose juices from the roasting tin onto the cake.

Recipe Notes

Store in a cool, dry place. Can keep for up to 5 days and also good for freezing.  Excellent served for breakfast or teatime with rhubarb compote.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: 270 Calories per portion; 6g protein; 17g carbohydrates; 20g fat.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

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Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

10 Reasons to Visit Honfleur, Normandy

It doesn’t take long to discover why Honfleur is in France’s top 5 of tourist destinations. With only 2 hours’ drive from Paris, I have enjoyed much testing – and tasting – my way around Normandy’s most charming French coastal town to present at least 10 reasons to visit Honfleur. 

Ten reasons to visit Honfleur

Our most recent stay in Honfleur was for 6 days to sample as many restaurants for you, visit the local museums, walk and discover interesting landmarks, the organic market and soak up the wonderful general ambience of France’s historical and pretty port nestled on the Seine’s Estuary before it opens up to the English Channel.

10 Reasons to Visit Honfleur

So, what is there to do in Honfleur? What is Honfleur famous for? Find out in my 10 reasons to visit Honfleur and what makes it such a special, popular getaway in Normandy.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Honfleur’s Old Harbour (Vieux Bassin)

This is the first spectacle that hits you in Honfleur. The Vieux Bassin, or inner harbour, is the heart of the medieval town that has attracted writers, musicians, and painters over the centuries. Listen to the hypnotic bells vying with the tinkling yachts from the nearby churches and at the end of the harbour, is the 17th-century watch-tower, the Lieutenance.  It was here that Samuel de Champlain set sail from Honfleur in 1608 to colonise Canada and led to Quebec’s foundation.

Dotted with bright, colourful clinking boats and lined with bustling restaurants, seafood bars, cafés and art galleries, it’s an ever-changing mix of quietly humming weekly fishing haven to a weekend and holiday cacophany of happy tourists meandering along the port, watching the world go by while artists seated quietly behind easels squiggle their brushes to capture the varying scenes and ambience.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Honfleur’s Fresh Fish and Seafood

A giant pot of steaming moules (mussels) sums up the fresh seafood and fish that’s caught daily in Honfleur. We often see bikers whizz up the autoroute from Paris just for their Sunday lunch plate of oysters or mussels sold on the harbour.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur, Normandy

Old Town

The old town is what makes Honfleur so particularly charmant and so French. Its quaint narrow streets and pretty cobbled squares are crammed with half-timbered houses, juxtaposed with wooden and slate houses, many on 7 floors. Don’t forget to look up, as you may see plaques indicating famous birthplaces (Eugène Boudin, Erik Satie, Alphonse Allais…).

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

10 reasons to visit Honfleur, Normandy

Honfleur’s Beautiful Churches

St Catherine’s Church dates back to the 15th century. Constructed by local ship-builders, it’s primarily made of wood and resembles an upturned ship’s hull. St Catherine’s tower is separate across the square and houses the bells.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

St. Leonard’s Church – With its 15th century portal, just a step inside reveals two spectacular fonts made out of natural seashells, with gigantic oyster shells crowning them (my photo wasn’t good enough here).

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Notre Dame de Grace (Our Lady of Grace) – this chapel is in the heights of Honfleur and is accessible by a short, steep climb (really recommend the walk) or easily reached by car to Le Mont-Joli. I can’t recommend this highly enough – especially out of peak season to appreciate its special tranquility. Inside, boats and relics high on the ceiling and thanksgiving plaques by the Honfleurais and pilgrims can make this a rather personal experience. Every 15 minutes, the impressive external bells ring and on the hour, don’t miss the bells playing Bizet’s Carmen from l’Arlésienne.

It’s also here that the last king of the French, Louis-Philippe and his wife, Marie-Amélie, spent their last days in France before leaving for England.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Pont de Normandie

From the Mont-Joli next to the Chapel of Notre Dame de Grace, is a fabulous view of the River Seine’s Estuary and the Pont de Normandie – 2.14 kilometres across the Seine from Honfleur to Le Havre. Opened in 1995, the Normandy Bridge is the largest  cable-stayed bridge in the world. It’s a motorway toll bridge but for walkers and cyclists it’s free, with a footpath. Check out the monument just at this panoramic viewpoint: it glorifies Notre Dame de Grace for sparing Honfleur during the 1944 Battle of Normandy.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Honfleur’s Museums

With Honfleur being the birth-town of major artists such as Eugène Boudin (who inspired Claude Monet) and Erik Satie, it’s great to delve deeper and discover more about them and other artists and writers (Alphonse Allais) that worked here. Feel the history of the Honfleurais of its fishing, maritime world and way of life over the centuries. We purchased a reduced-priced collective ticket for the following 4 museums (except the separate salt lofts):

  • The Eugène-Boudin museum is above all devoted to art about Honfleur, daily Norman life in the 18-19th Centuries,  the estuary and showcases nearly a hundred works by Eugène Boudin – known as the painter of the sky and sea, who influenced Claude Monet – among others. I particularly loved discovering artists such as Adrien Voisard-Margerie with his painting of Toulouse-Lautrec and his model. Also featured are 20th Century artists (Dufy, Villon) who worked in the region and more recent works from Denis River, who was also born in Honfleur in 1945.
  • On entry to The Satie Houses – Erik Satie’s birthplace in 1866 – we’re told that it’s not a museum as such; instead a whimsical discovery through sound, light, images and objects to appreciate the musician and composer’s eccentric character. Via movement-sensitive audiophones (tour is also in English), listen to his life and anecdotes to the sound of the Gymnopédies, Gnossiènes or the Morceaux en forme de poire. The final theatrical show is, alas, only in French but you can appreciate the character of Satie, including one-page works that were written, for example, when he hadn’t had breakfast yet and was about to venture out from his home in Montmartre (rue Cortot).
  • Musée de la Marine is about the history of the port, housing a collection of model ships and marine artefacts on just one floor in St Stephen’s Church (the oldest church in Honfleur), on the old harbour. It is paired with the Ethnographical and Popular Arts Museum around the corner – presenting the inside of ten 16th-century Normandy dwellings.
  • Greniers de Sel (Salt Lofts) salt lofts, 17C buildings made of stone and covered with tiles. These lofts were built under the salt tax agreement to store 10,000 tons of salt needed by the cod fishing boats to preserve the fish.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur Normandy

Honfleur’s Markets

In St Catherine’s quarter, under the shadow of St Catherine’s Bell Tower, is the local farmers’ organic market on Wednesday mornings. Here you’ll regularly find an abundance of locally harvested watercress (to see how it’s grown, see my post from Veules-les-Roses, including a recipe for French watercress soup.)

The main market is on Saturday mornings, with fruits and vegetables, other Normandy local specialities such as Cider,  Calvados and cheeses (such as Pont l’Evèque, just down the road), plus plenty of fish and seafood. Head to Place Arthur Boudin for the flower market and for clothes, accessories and souvenirs, you’ll find them at the Cours des Fossés et Rue de la Ville.

Arriving in Honfleur on non-market days is not a problem, as shopping is also great for local produce to quaint antique shops. Try the Crottes de Mouettes (seagull droppings!), morsels of chocolate and caramel.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Honfleur’s Restaurants

Whether it’s fine dining in any of the numerous Michelin-listed addresses, enjoying a plate of oysters or mussels by the harbour, or a good quality traditional Normandy crêpe, there’s something for all budgets and tastes in Honfleur. Here is my personal list of favourites. Note that during January and February, many restaurants close for their annual holidays (I loved the humour in one window – although closed it finished off saying “sending salty iodine kisses”).

  • La Fleur de Sel – Chef Vincent Guyon sets the bar high with gastronomic dishes at great value. Ensure to book, as this small gem has already been discovered. Perhaps my favourite.
  • SaQuaNa – Chef Alexandre Bourdas shows just why he received 2 Michelin Stars. Just watch opening times, as when we were there previously, they were shut for their annual holiday. Ensure to book.
  • Le Bréard – I mention this, as it serves great food but, from our experience, the service needs work: not in speed but in politesse.  It’s up to you if you don’t mind and just concentrate on the dishes, although it’s the first time I’ve been served bread and told not to eat it yet. There were more issues, but I’m far too polite…
  • Entre Terre et Mer – although also a super restaurant, just across the road we love their oyster bar where a simple, fresh plate of oysters or mussels are great value.
  • La Chaumière – slightly out of town, this characteristic thatched hotel-restaurant has a homely feel.  Outside eating in summer with views over to Le Havre, and cosy nooks by the roaring fire, friendly service and super menus. Great for celebrating a birthday, too.
  • Le Manoir des Impressionnistes – Also slightly out of town, this is an ideal quiet haven away from it all with good, simple yet beautifully presented food. We just found the wine list a bit pricey but the list is excellent. If you’re looking to speak English, the British owner, Brigitte, usually comes around the tables to say hello.
  • La Crêperie des Arts –  We’ve tried many crêperies in Honfleur and this one gets our top vote each time as the buckwheat galettes (savoury crêpes) are beautifully lacy thin and all fillings use fresh ingredients (alas, more establishments serve the likes of tinned fruit with the local cheesy galettes or on sweet crêpes). Great friendly service.
  • Laurence – At first glance, you’d think this was an antique shop but it’s the cutest restaurant with curious nick-nacks on rue des Lingots. Laurence herself, like the ambience, is charming. Enjoy French traditional family dishes such as the blanquette de veau (see my recipe here) and a particularity is that no phones are permitted. Lovely!
10 reasons to visit Honfleur

10 reasons to visit Honfleur, Normandy

2 Hours Drive from Paris

With only 2 hours drive north of Paris, Honfleur is particularly accessible. It’s pretty much a straight drive up the Autoroute (A13), passing Giverny. So, if you have time en route, visit Monet’s house and garden. However, if you’re looking to spend time between Paris and Honfleur, it’s a “straight” sail on the buckling River Seine all the way up to the Estuary.

Good Base for Visiting Normandy

If you’re staying in Honfleur for a few days, it’s a great base for visiting the nearby towns of Étretat, Deauville, Cabourg, Veules-les-Roses (check out the summer sea festival), and Le Mont Saint-Michel. It’s also great for discovering the nearby Cidre and Calvados farms, as well as cheese in nearby Pont l’Evèque.

10 reasons to visit Honfleur

Top Tips for Visiting Honfleur

  • If you can, do try and speak as much French as you can.  The locals appreciate visitors but, as we are in France, it’s only polite to try and speak the language. No matter how little you speak, if you show willingness to try, it helps keep the lovely Honfleurais smiling.
  • If arriving by car, try to park on the outskirts of the town using the various car parks as much as possible.  Busy periods mean busy traffic and, as many streets are one-way and pedestrian only, this will make everyone’s lives easier. Please note that the harbour is closed to traffic after 1 May.
  • For boat trips, information on timings for museums and other visits including Calvados tastings, see Honfleur’s tourist information office
  • Personally speaking, our best time to visit Honfleur is out of tourist peak season (particularly avoiding the French summer holidays in July to August), as it is less crowded. If you do make it during a tourist wave, ensure to book your restaurants and do some advance planning using the links on this post.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. This was a personal trip and as we live in the Paris region, this is to share the best things to do if you’re visiting Paris and want a weekend or short getaway not too far from the Normandy coast. The only link to Context Travel above, is an affliate link at no cost to you.

10 reasons to Visit Honfleur