Posts

French Chocolate Mendiants – Perfect Easter Hats!

If any of you have walked around the inviting chocolate shops and patisseries around Paris, you may have spotted some French Chocolate Mendiants.  They’re delicious disks of chocolate covered in colourful dried fruits and nuts.

Read on for the story behind them but in the meantime, I think they make perfect hats to top macarons, cupcakes, cookies – or any of your favourite sweet treats for some fun. In this case, add a few mini Easter eggs and you have the perfect Easter Bonnet!

Jump to Recipe

french chocolate mendiants easter

This recipe was originally published on 6 April 2012 but the text and photos have been updated with a new printable recipe card.

What are French Mendiants?

Mendiant means ‘beggar’ in French. Mendiants are popular confiserie in France: simple disks of chocolate (dark, milk or white) with at least four kinds of dried fruit and nuts.

Each represents the robe colours of four mendicant monastic orders from the Middle Ages.

Fascinating, n’est-ce pas?

Mendiants are great for serving as mini bites or mignardises with coffee after dinner but are normally seen for special occasions such as Christmas. But since we’re talking chocolate – let’s make them for Easter… or for any time of year!

how to make french chocolate mendiants

Dried Fruits and Nuts the Colour of Mendiant Monks’ Robes

According to French tradition, raisins stand for the Augustinians, hazelnuts for the Carmelites, dried figs for the Franciscans, and almonds are for the Dominicans.

However, over time things have become totally out of hand: confectioners are adding orange peel, pistachio nuts, candied ginger and now I’ve added goji berries soaked in Kirsch (only because I forgot to buy some cranberries) and mini chocolate praline Easter eggs or even French chocolate fish!

almond lemon easter cake

This was used as decoration for this gluten free Lemon Easter Cake.

french chocolate disks mendiants

French Chocolate Mendiants Ideas for Toppings

Here I used dark chocolate and coarse praline chocolate, but mendiants can be made with plain, milk or white chocolate.

Use different nuts (I personally like to toast mine as it adds more depth of flavour) and dried fruits to add a contrast in textures and flavours.

I also added broken Mikado sticks (do you have these in America?) and homemade zig-zag sticks (just by melting chocolate and zig-zagging it on baking paper, then peeling off when set) for a nest and mini Easter eggs.

french chocolate mendiants disks easter

Easy to Peel Chocolate Off

As you can see, I’ve just used baking parchment to spoon the melted chocolate and – using the back of a spoon – form circles directly onto the sheet without any guide.  There’s no need!  They don’t need to be absolutely perfect: the spoon actually does make them into circles themselves.

Over time, however, I did eventually find a use for my silicone macaron mat (this links to my non-sponsored review, as I don’t need fancy gadgets to make homemade macarons (tips are all in my books). Using the macaron mat with it’s groovy circles, by spooning the chocolate into them, when I peel them off once set the chocolate is absolutely perfect.

how to make french chocolate mendiant disks

Do I need to Temper Chocolate for Mendiants?

Normally, professional chocolatiers temper their chocolate to sell Mendiants.  The reason being, they last so much longer and are prettier.

As I’m just making them at home with the idea of eating them quickly over the next few days, I honestly haven’t needed to.  Melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie (in a glass bowl over simmering water) and spoon out on to a baking sheet.  As the chocolate takes a good 30 minutes to set, you have enough time to enjoy topping them.

As you can see, it’s not even a recipe: just melt good quality chocolate and plonk on the dried fruits and (toasted) nuts of your choice!  Et voilà !

Join me on Instagram for a Daily Dose of French Life

I have just posted my first Reel.  Jings – that wasn’t as easy as I thought. It’s amazing how much time all these things take and I’m not even sure you’re seeing them!  So, if you’d like to follow me for a dose of daily French life, please do join me on Instagram.

It’s where I post shots from in and around Paris (at the moment it’s more outside Paris due to lockdown, as I live next to Saint Germain-en-Laye between Paris and Versailles), food snippets of recipes or the market – or just some fun stuff!

See my Instagram Reel Video on how to make them HERE.

french chocolate mendiants easy recipe

French Chocolate Mendiants

PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Setting Time: 30 minutes

200g dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids, minimum)
Candied orange peel, cut into cubes
Raisins or dried cranberries*
Hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds or pine nuts (plain or toasted)

  1. Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat).
  2. Break up the chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water over a gentle heat (bain-marie) until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Using a dessertspoon, spoon the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, pressing each one down with the back of the spoon to make a circle.
  4. Gradually decorate with the fruit and nuts using different colours and textures for toppings. Don’t worry about the chocolate hardening; you will have enough time to enjoy dressing each disk before it hardens.
  5. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When set, remove each mendiant carefully from the sheet with your fingers or a palette knife.

* To knock them into Adult mode for that extra je ne sais quoi, soak them in Kirsch, Chambord, Armagnac, Frangelico or any of your favourite liqueurs.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if you can wait that long!)

french chocolate mendiants hats

 

Here I topped chocolate macarons with French chocolate mendiants for an Easter bonnet look.

You could do the same by decorating cupcakes, brownies, muffins, chocolate mousse, etc. with your own personal French chocolate mendiant touch, or just devour them on their own.

5 from 1 vote
French Chocolate Mendiants (disks with fruit and nuts)
Prep Time
30 mins
Setting Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

French mendiants, chocolate disks traditionally topped with dried fruits and nuts, resembling the 4 monastic robes from the Middle Ages, seen in chocolate shops around France

Course: confiserie, Snack
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 200 g (7oz) bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao)
  • handful each golden sultanas &/or raisins
  • dried cranberries or goji berries
  • toasted flaked almonds, almonds or pine nuts
  • pistachio nuts
  • candied orange peel (optional)
Instructions
  1. Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat - even better, a macaron mat will set them perfectly into round shapes).

  2. Break up the chocolate in a glass bowl and place over a pan of simmering water over a gentle heat (bain-marie) until the chocolate has melted.

  3. Using a spoon, pour the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, pressing each one down with the back of the spoon to make a circle (don't worry if they are a bit messy - it will set well later!)

  4. Gradually decorate with the fruit and nuts using different colours and textures for toppings. Don’t worry about the chocolate hardening; you will have enough time to enjoy dressing each disk before it hardens.

  5. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When set, remove each mendiant carefully from the sheet with your fingers or a palette knife.

Recipe Notes

* To knock them into Adult mode for that extra je ne sais quoi, soak them in Kirsch, Chambord, Armagnac, Frangelico or any of your favourite liqueurs.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if you can wait that long!)

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Rhubarb Hibiscus Compote – How to Make Green Rhubarb Red

Not sure what to make with rhubarb? Make this healthy rhubarb compote! It freezes well and is perfect for a vegan breakfast or spooned on ice cream. I also have a clever, delicious trick to make green rhubarb red.

A ginger version of this rhubarb hibiscus compote recipe was first published on 27 April 2016 but I’ve now updated it to include a printable recipe card and video: What is Compote and How to Make a Healthy Rhubarb Compote.

Jump to Recipe

rhubarb hibsicus compote

What is Compote?

Fruit compote goes back to medieval Europe when a mix of puréed fruits was both healthy and cheap to make.

Today, I feel that the humble compote is so underrated: it’s low in sugar, a fruity accompaniment to loads of desserts and it’s a healthy (and vegan) way to start the day, spooned on granola or yoghurt.

Green vs Red Rhubarb

I’m always excited during French rhubarb season and love making rhubarb compote. It reminds me of all the lovely pink rhubarb we had in Scotland (ever since I was little until I left when I was 22), especially when it found its way into comforting fruit crumbles with a cheeky hint of stem ginger. We had the forced, lovely pink rhubarb in winter, followed by the still pinkish rhubarb in Spring to Summer.

However, in France we have to wait until rhubarb season between April and June.  I’m always a bit disappointed; somehow the rhubarb we find in Parisian markets is always so GREEN!

How to make Green Rhubarb Red

My answer to make green rhubarb red? Infuse hibiscus tea or Carcadet into your rhubarb – the best way is to make a rhubarb syrup by macerating in sugar first. Either use dried hibiscus flowers or hibiscus teabag infusions.

Teabags come in so many choices these days – many in the form of detox infusions, usually with the addition of rose or rosehip and berries.  It’s a perfect flavour match with rhubarb!

Now on video:

How to Prepare Rhubarb with a Versatile Fruit Compote Recipe (3 minutes)

rhubarb hibiscus

Healthy Fruit Compote – it’s Vegan Too!

The beauty with compote is that it’s versatile and vegan, too.

Try the same recipe using summer berries. It’s a great, healthy alternative to jam using just a quarter ratio of sugar to fruit.  It can keep well in the fridge, sealed in jam jars, for up to a week.

Can I Freeze Compote?

The answer is a YES! Compote freezes well too.

Freezing compote is perfect for that luxury winter moment when you need a dose of rhubarb or berries with that extra touch of hibiscus and rose.

What is Compote Used For?

We love rhubarb compote served chilled – from breakfast, to teatime, to desserts. Here are some ideas how best to serve your compote:

rhubarb rose crumbles

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

Not fancy making the compote with the tea? Then it’s even easier!  Forget the tea part and just add some candied ginger to the compote – the combination is so fabulous. It reminds me of when I grew up in Scotland, when we always paired ginger with rhubarb.

 

green rhubarb hibiscus compote

Rhubarb Compote with Fruity Hibiscus Tea

5 from 13 votes
Rhubarb Hibiscus Compote
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Macerating time
3 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 40 mins
 

Rhubarb Compote with Hibiscus tea, naturally colouring green rhubarb pink and infusing a delicious rose and cranberry-like flavour to it. So healthy, compote only uses a quarter of sugar, so far healthier than jam. Can keep in the fridge up to a week and freezes very well.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Condiments, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: fruit compote, hibiscus tea recipes, how to prepare rhubarb, Rhubarb compote,, rhubarb hibiscus
Servings: 6
Calories: 109 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 400 g (14oz) Rhubarb about 4 medium sticks
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Sugar (sugar ratio is 1/4 to rhubarb weight)
  • 1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers (Carcardet) or 2 hibiscus teabags
  • strawberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and cut the rhubarb at both ends and discard the inedible leaves (these are toxic). Weigh your rhubarb in order to calculate how much sugar to use: the ratio is a quarter of sugar to fruit (unlike jam, compote is so much healthier!)

  2. Cut into chunks about 3cm and place in a bowl with the sugar.  Leave to stand for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

  3. Sieve off the rhubarb juices into a saucepan.  Add the tea and bring to the boil. Reduce the liquid slightly for about 10 minutes, remove the tea then add the rhubarb.

  4. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the fruit is soft and collapses into a purée. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Refrigerate until needed.

Recipe Notes

Delicious served on top of homemade breakfast granola for a healthy vegan breakfast or spooned over vanilla ice cream for dessert.  

This recipe is also perfect made with soft summer berries. Again, the ratio is a quarter of sugar to fruit. For a complete demonstration of the recipe and variations, see my VIDEO HERE.

Refrigerate and keep in the fridge in sealed jam jars for up to a week.  This compote also freezes so well - perfect for a dose of rhubarb in the winter months.

Don't want the tea? Add candied ginger to this compote - the combination is fabulous!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Asparagus Clafoutis with Parmesan Sauce

Have you ever tried a savoury Clafoutis with vegetables?  The French Clafoutis is best known as the classic cherry baked custard dessert but when spring pokes its head out in France, I urge you to make this savoury green Asparagus Clafoutis.

It’s delicate. It’s divine. Served in a pool of the creamiest parmesan sauce, you’ll want to dive in with a crusty baguette to mop up every insy winsy bit of it.

Now on Video: How to cook Asparagus with an interesting Savoury Clafoutis Recipe.

Jump to Recipe

Asparagus Clafoutis

Trying out a Savoury Twist to the Classic Clafoutis Dessert

We are totally mad about French Clafoutis every summer.

It’s such an easy custardy classic dark cherry dessert – and just as delicious made with fresh raspberries – or my latest addictive craze, a versatile gluten free version with strawberries, plums, or with apricots and lavender.

However, give a savoury clafoutis a try. It’s so light as a starter or appetizer or for a light lunch.

White Asparagus French 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 and I added lemon to it, as the association with parmesan and white asparagus is a match in heaven.

Then I made individual versions of them, serving them out of muffin moulds.

Lemon Asparagus Clafoutis

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 social media.

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!

Asparagus & Parmesan Inspiration in Paris

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. Serve with a crusty baguette to mop up the most silky creamy parmesan sauce. The sauce quantity is good for individual portions but if making this as one big family size, I'd double the sauce quantity.

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

Fresh Broccoli Hummus (Vegan)

You didn’t think I’d be posting a recipe for Broccoli Hummus? You probably expect just sweet treats here but I do adore savoury (big time!) too. In fact, I’m sure this would be fabulous as a filling in my mini herb macarons (recipe in my book, ‘Mad About Macarons’).

Moreover, when something is as easy to make and deliciously healthy too, I feel it’s my duty to shout it from the rooftops and say:

“Please eat broccoli this way!”

Broccoli-Hummus

This broccoli hummus is made in just 15 minutes.

Have I convinced you yet?

Freshly Homemade Hummus: Tinned vs Dried

I love making my own hummus with the traditional chickpeas. It’s so quick and easy – BUT I have to remember to soak the dried chickpeas the night before.  Tinned or jarred chickpeas just don’t produce the same delicious creamy result. Apologies – I don’t want to be a kill-joy but it’s true.

Try it for yourself and see. We’ve tested so many versions at home that soaked dried chickpeas won without any doubt over the tinned, quick version.  See the recipe picked up from my French friends with the twangy accents from the south with their creamy Poichichade Recipe (as in pois chiches converted like olive tapenade, anchoiade …).

When the sun shines, there’s nothing quite like spreading on some creamy hummus spread on crackers or crusty bread for an apéritif in France, served with a chilled glass of wine with friends and family.

Broccoli Humous

Quick & Easy Fresh Broccoli Hummus

Antoine came back with 3 huge heads of fresh broccoli the other day – “Enough to last us for 3 weeks”. I don’t know about you but fresh, vibrant broccoli doesn’t last that long and so it needs to be used up pretty quickly. We love broccoli but this was clearly needing some improvisation, as serving broccoli as a side every night for a week was not going to hack it with the girls – or Antoine, even if he bought them!

I first discovered that replacing cauliflower with broccoli in this velvety Crème Dubarry soup is exquisite;
Antoine thinks it’s even better with broccoli, convinced there’s cheese in it when there isn’t.
I love playing food games – do you?

Broccoli Hummus – the Recipe (Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free)

I discovered this wee recipe in a French magazine (last October’s Gourmand).  It caught my eye, as it had simple ingredients. The broccoli was only cooked al dente for 5 minutes, retaining its vibrant colour and flavour and then whizzed together with a lemon zest/juice, parsley, tahini, garlic and oil.

The recipe asked for some pistachio oil (so if you have some, add a tablespoon) but instead of a neutral oil to accompany it, I used olive oil and added some sesame seeds.

THAT’S IT ! So, thanks to Antoine for doing the grocery shopping. I love it when we’re presented with delicious challenges like this, don’t you?

As you can see from the ingredients, this recipe just happens to be not just vegetarian but it’s also VEGAN, DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN FREE (as long as you serve it with GF munchies) and sugar-free.

How to Serve Broccoli Hummus

Serve this broccoli hummus as a dip with crusty French bread, crackers, toasted pita bread, tortilla chips, potato chips, potato wedges or oatcakes.
(I love this gluten-free all oatmeal oatcake recipe from Christina’s Cucina).

Leftovers? Toss Broccoli Hummus in Pasta

Ensure that any leftovers are sealed tight in a jam jar and covered with a little olive oil to retain its freshness.

It’s so incredibly tasty that I even tossed it in pasta with some of the leftovers. Just add a little extra olive oil and a little of the pasta water.

Green Vegetable Hummus

Don’t have fresh broccoli?

Then frozen would work so well with this recipe too. I’ll leave you to tell me in the comments below if you find a good alternative if you don’t have fresh broccoli. It’s all part of the most delicious, creative challenges in the kitchen!

 

broccoli hummus recipe

Broccoli Hummus Recipe (Vegan)

4.86 from 7 votes
Broccoli Hummus Recipe
Broccoli Hummus
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

A quick and easy healthy spread replacing the traditional chickpeas with broccoli. Just so happens to be vegan, dairy free and gluten free.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: broccoli, hummous, hummus,
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 114 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 250 g (9oz) broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest & juice
  • 75 ml (3 fl oz) olive oil (or 5 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp tahini (or almond/pistachio butter)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional), for decor
Instructions
  1. Cut the broccoli into florets and cook in salted boiling water for just 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or sieve and place in a mixer or food processor.

  2. Add to the mixer all the other ingredients: lemon zest and juice, the tahini (or other nut butter), parsley, salt and pepper. Gradually add the oil while blending the lot in the mixer.

  3. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with sesame seeds (if using), dribble on some extra olive oil and garnish with extra parsley.

Recipe Notes

Serve with crusty bread, oatcakes or crackers (for those following a gluten-free diet, serve with your favourite gluten-free bread, crackers or oatcakes.)

This broccoli hummus is also excellent as a pasta sauce - just add a little more olive oil and a little of the pasta cooking water.

Can keep for up to 5 days if stored in a sealed jar and topped with olive oil in the fridge. 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake (Gluten Free)

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 Easter and 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

Are you on Pinterest? Then pin this for later. Sending you sweet wishes and peony roses from Paris!

Rose Rhubarb Orange Cake

Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce

This Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce has just evolved over the last few years.

I never even thought to write up the recipe, it’s so simple. In 2011, I originally posted our favourite French summer classic, Warm Goat Cheese Salad (Salade de Chèvre Chaud). It’s more of an assembly job of good ingredients than a recipe but there are a few tips I picked up when I first moved to France in 1992 that I talk about here. So, how did it turn into a deliciously clingy pasta sauce?

Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce

Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce

A French Salad without the Salad!

We love the salad version, but we often find salads difficult to digest in the evening (I also have IBS, so huge salads are not ideal). Outside the summer months, we also don’t feel like salad. Enough said.

It’s a Salade de Chèvre Chaud without the salad – although place some small spinach leaves on the bottom of each plate if you still want your greens. The heat of the pasta slightly wilts them.

French goat cheese - crottin de Chavignol

From the fromagerie at our local market in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Best Goat Cheese to Use

Like the salad version, don’t skimp on using good quality goat cheese. The best kind of goat cheese to use is Crottin de Chavignol (from the charming little Loire village that also boasts some remarkable Sancerre wines from the famous town up the road) made with raw goat’s milk (lait cru).

In some of the touristy brasseries in Paris, watch out for the cheap’n’nasty stuff; the other day I was served a sickly sweet version with a thick layer of fig jam spread on Poilâne bread, then topped with the cheapest supermarket goat cheese that was bitter and didn’t like being melted (incidentally, fig jam is best served separately with a cheese board – just saying. So if you see fig jam included – AVOID IT!). Sitting on top of a ridiculous amount of green salad without much dressing, this seriously gives our visitors to France the wrong idea of the classic dish.

Needless to say, it gets my goat. Stick to garlic, olive oil, good cheese, herbs and walnuts.

Goat Cheese & walnut pasta sauce

The best, fresh quality ingredients is all that’s needed

The Extra Tips that Make the Perfect French Goat’s Cheese Dish

As with the salad version, I gently fry garlic in olive oil, add chopped fresh rosemary from the garden,  melt in the cheese, toast some walnuts either in another frying pan (dry fry) or quickly under the grill to toss on top. Add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes or fried bacon bits (lardons) for the full monty!

By the time I cook the fresh pasta for a couple of minutes and toss it in the sauce with a bit of cream, dinner is ready as soon as we’ve opened the wine!

If you love goat cheese and are not keen on salads, then make this sauce with pasta next time. It’s the taste of French summer on a plate that can be enjoyed at any time of year.

Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce

Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce

5 from 4 votes
French Goat Cheese Walnut Pasta Sauce
Goat Cheese & Walnut Pasta Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

My saucy take on the French classic, Salade de Chèvre Chaud, with toasted walnuts and rosemary to create a delicious creamy goat cheese pasta sauce. Serve with fresh tagliatelle, spaghetti or fusilli - and add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes or fried bacon bits to go the full monty.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Servings: 2 people
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled, core removed & chopped finely
  • 4 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 (60g small cheeses) Crottins de Chavignol or good quality matured goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (or thyme) finely chopped (or herbes de Provence)
  • 115 g (4oz) half fat cream (crème fleurette)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) lardons/bacon bits OPTIONAL
  • 250 g (9oz) fresh pasta
  • handful fresh spinach leaves optional
Instructions
  1. Toast the walnuts under the grill for a couple of minutes (keep an eye on them, as you don't want them to burn) or dry-fry in a non-stick frying pan. Set aside.

  2. Gently fry the chopped garlic in the olive oil for a minute but don't brown (it will otherwise turn bitter).  Add the fresh herbs then chopped goat cheese and leave it to melt then add the cream, plus salt and ground pepper to taste.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to packet instructions. I prefer using fresh pasta which only takes a couple of minutes but if you use dried pasta, prepare the pasta more in advance or take the sauce off the heat so as not to overcook.

  4. Drain the pasta and toss into the pan with the sauce, sprinkling over the toasted walnuts.

Recipe Notes

Good matching wines: Sauvignon Blanc or fruitier Chenin Blanc, ideally from the Loire (the goat cheese is from the same region). The result is a creamy, almost honey-like taste that marries to well together.

 

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this French Goat Cheese & Walnut pasta sauce? Please don’t be shy; leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram and Facebook – I love to see you making the recipes!

French Goat Cheese Walnut Herb Pasta