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French Monkfish Stew (Lotte à L’Américaine/L’Armoricaine)

I love this easy monkfish recipe and each time I make it, the family ask why we don’t have it more often. That’s coming from my eldest daughter who doesn’t even like white fish!  This French Monkfish stew is normally served on special occasions and is known as both Lotte à L’Américaine and Lotte à L’Armoricaine.

This recipe was originally published on le blog on 19 July 2016. As it is a popular recipe here, I have updated it to include a printable recipe card, a short video and more about the history of this French dish.

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french monkfish stew no bones

A French Fish Dish For Special Occasions

When first starting out in Paris nearly 30 years ago, I remember being bowled over by this dish cooked by Antoine’s friends. It’s a regional speciality of Brittany: a chic yet simple French Monkfish stew, Lotte à l’Armoricaine is cooked in white wine, garlic, onions and tomatoes with that extra French touch of being flambéed with Cognac.

It was the first time we were served fish for the main course at a French dinner and boy, did it leave a delicious mark on me.  The fish was firm and tasty and somehow the fish hadn’t disintegrated into the sauce.  It was so good, that I eventually managed to persuade them to tell me the recipe and over the years, I’ve made it in this way with more garlic and a hint of Cayenne pepper to give it that intriguing and subtle kick.

I often read in French cookbooks that the best way to serve monkfish is either roasted or grilled – but served as this classic French monkfish stew, you’ll discover just how a simple fish dish can be taken to another level.

rue de la poissonnerie french sign

Lotte à L’Américaine or Lotte à L’Armoricaine?

Later, I discovered this monkfish dish on some Parisian restaurant menus as Lotte à l’Américaine. Had they made a mistake? No. In our French gourmet dictionary, Larousse Gastronomique, it’s only known as Lotte à L’Américaine.

Both names refer to the SAME dish, although the Breton Armoricaine version adds a touch of crème fraîche at the end of cooking.

Let me tell you the story of the two names, although it’s a bit rough around the edges and can’t find any more on the subject.

The sauce à l’Armoricaine is a traditional French recipe from coastal Brittany where it is most commonly prepared with shellfish, or used to flavour firm white-fleshed fish such as La Lotte or Monkfish– otherwise known as poor man’s lobster.

The story dates back to the end of the 19th century when it was created by French chef Pierre Fraisse, originally from Sète who had returned to Paris from working in the USA. A group of clients arrived in his restaurant, Peter’s, and he realised all he had was tomorrow’s lobster: so he rustled up a lobster dish in a tomato sauce, reminiscent of his native South with Breton overtones. When prompted for the name of the recipe, he called it Lobster – with an American Sauce.

french monkfish stew rice beans

Monkfish: No Small Bones

Monkfish, or la lotte in French, is normally presented on our fish stalls without the ugly head – I’ve rarely seen it here hence I have no photos but if you look it up, you’ll see it’s a specimen that would be the bad guy in a film like Nemo! Hence why it’s also known as “sea-devil” (diable de mer) or “frog-fish” (crapaud).

How many times have you been served fish and you’re trying to filter out the bones in your mouth while juggling polite chit-chat at the table?

Once the large central bone is removed, there are NO OTHER BONES in sight – making it perfect to serve for special occasions.

What Does Monkfish Taste Like?

All the monkfish meat is in the tail (queue de lotte) and I say ‘meat’ as it’s a firm, ‘meaty’ fish. Also referred to as “Poor Man’s Lobster”, it even tastes a bit like it, as it has quite a sweet taste to it. So, it’s a fish version of lobster that’s slightly cheaper! Moreover, when cooked the fish doesn’t flake.

monkfish french market display

Monkfish – Perfect for Cooking

My daughter, Julie, says it outright. She just doesn’t like fish, especially white fish and yet will eat monkfish – only if done this way with such a delicious, thick tomato sauce. What’s more, it’s healthy too.

Monkfish is perfect for cooking as it doesn’t break up in cooking (as long as you follow the instructions below). The secret is to remove the fish after initially browning it on all sides and then TAKE IT OFF THE HEAT to cook the sauce.

Just add the fish back in to the pot 10 minutes before the end of cooking.  That way the fish is beautifully cooked. As fish is quite expensive, I like to respect it: overcooking will just turn the fish medallions into bullets, so please don’t leave the fish to cook all during the recipe.

french monkfish stew

Do I Need to Make Fish Stock?

I used to make a fish stock for this recipe but over time I have become rather lazy and honestly don’t see a  difference in flavour with this version. See my video for details.

If you really want to make your own fish stock, ask your fishmonger for the skin and bone to be packaged separately to make your own fish stock (see note below).
Fish Stock Tip: as you’re leaving the fish stock to cool, tell anyone lurking around the kitchen what it is: the first time I made this as a student, my Dad poured my precious hard-worked fish stock down the sink thinking it was dirty water!

Another reason why I don’t bother!  See the recipe below.

French monkfish casserole

How To Serve French Monkfish Stew

Whether dishing this up for family or for a dinner party, I love to serve this directly from the cooking pot at the table.

Serve with fluffy rice and green beans; for stress-free entertaining, I prepare the green beans in advance until just cooked, then plunge into chilled water (to stop the cooking process) then drain and keep aside until ready to serve.  At the last minute, I sauté the beans (haricots vert) in olive oil with finely chopped garlic and fresh parsley.

This dish is also perfect for serving outdoors. Serve with a chilled rosé and plenty of laughter with lively conversation.

french monkfish stew pin

French Monkfish Stew
(Lotte à L’Américaine/Armoricaine)

5 from 11 votes
French Monkfish Stew (Lotte à L'Américaine/Armoricaine)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

An easy Monkfish recipe from France using meat from the monkfish tail cooked in tomatoes, garlic, onions, white wine, Cognac and served with rice - a perfect dish for special occasions

Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: easy fish recipes, French Monkfish classic dish, Lotte à l'Américaine
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 488 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 2 kg (5lb) Large monkfish tail fillets (already prepared)
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 50 g (2oz) butter (unsalted)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Cognac (if no Cognac, use Whisky)
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tin (400g) peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée (concentrate)
  • 400 ml (14 floz) white wine
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 branch fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the monkfish tail fillets into large medallion chunks.

    Coat the fish lightly in the flour on a large plate.Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-based crockpot (dutch oven) and once slightly bubbling, add the fish. Lightly brown on all sides then add the Cognac. Take the pan off the heat and flambé off the alcohol (consequently if you’re worried about doing this, just add it into the pan and boil it off).

  2. Using a slotted spoon, place the fish medallions aside on a plate.

    Meanwhile, in the same pan, gently fry the onion & garlic back on the heat until translucent, then add the tomato, purée, wine, cayenne, bay leaves, thyme and pour in the juices from the removed fish.

    Bring to a boil then leave to simmer and reduce (uncovered) for about 30 minutes.

  3. Return the fish to the pot and heat through for just a further 10 minutes but be careful not to cook for much longer, otherwise the fish will turn into bullets!

    Add the fresh parsley and a few turns of the salt and pepper mills to taste and, if using, stir in the crème fraîche.

Recipe Notes

Serve with fragrant rice, fresh green beans and extra parsley.

*I used to make this with fish stock but now just drain the juices from the removed fish (see on VIDEO HERE)
For purists who prefer with, here's a Quick Fish Stock: Put the skin and fish bone in a large pan with a carrot, onion, fennel bulb, 2 bay leaves, sprig of thyme, 5 peppercorns and add just enough water to cover. Boil, remove any scum, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and cool.

WINE SUGGESTIONS: a fruity and sunny ample white such as Crozes Hermitage, Meursault, Savennières or Alsace Riesling; or a rosé such as Bandol, Côtes de Provence; or a red Sancerre.

Nutritional Information: 488 Calories per serving; 64g protein, 13g lipids.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

 

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 – and healthier too!

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

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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

French Vacherin Ice Cream Cake (Vacherin Glacé)

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.

Vacherin Ice Cream Birthday Cake

A French Vacherin Ice Cream Birthday Cake

My French father-in-law, Jean-Pierre, adores a Vacherin cake. 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.

La Vache! Pink Boobies…

Surprise, Jean-Pierre! I really did create an element of surprise, n’est-ce pas?

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.

Vacherin French Ice Cream Cake

How to Prepare a Vacherin Cake

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

 

 

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

A good sherry trifle is a must dessert as part of a Best of British party table. If you’re watching a Royal Wedding, celebrating a Royal birth, have Wimbledon strawberry parties this summer, then you’re covered with this easy no-bake, yet adult – Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle. For Francophiles, decorate this as the French flag for Fête Nationale on 14th July, or just enjoy this for any occasion right up until Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year!

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

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

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

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

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

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

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

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle – an easy dessert to assemble

Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle Recipe

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

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

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

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 300 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 40 macaron shells
  • 250 g / 9oz fresh raspberries
  • 250 g / 9oz fresh blueberries
  • 250 g / 9oz fresh strawberries
  • 200 g / 7oz dry Sherry
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
Elderflower Chantilly Cream:
  • 300 g / 11oz whipping cream chilled (at least 30% fat)
  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial or syrup (or caster sugar + vanilla essence)
Instructions
  1. First, chill a large bowl in the fridge or freezer for the Chantilly cream.  
    In a large glass bowl (if making one large trifle) or individual glass serving dishes, place half of the macaron shells at the bottom.  Top with half of the blueberries.

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

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

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

British Union Jack decoration with berries

Trifle for two, and two for tea…

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

A Trifle More, with Cracked Macarons …

If you love trifle, try my other easy versions with gingerbread or make them gluten free with macarons!  Cracked macarons? Don’t bin them! They’ll taste delicious in these easy trifle recipes:

Eton Mess

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

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

Berry Sherry Macaron Trifle recipe

 

French Crème Caramel

I was scared to make this classic French Crème Caramel for many years after my arrival in France in 1992. Instead, I sat back and let my French mother-in-law make her delectable family-sized crème caramel each time we visited them in their pretty Provençal village of Saignon.  Back in Paris, I’d order it hands down each time on dessert menus in brasseries, bistros or in Parisian cafés.

French Crème Caramel

French Crème Caramel – a classic favourite!

No Packet Mixes!

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

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

French crème caramel recipe

French Crème Caramel Flavour Variations

This classic French dessert can easily take on many flavour variations – as the likes of teas, herbs, and floral infusions work well while infusing in the milk.

Give a Crème Caramel a twist by infusing tea or herbs into it – the following are crème caramel flavour ideas:

  • Jasmine tea;
  • Lavender (infuse 1/2 tsp of dried lavender flowers);
  • Earl Grey or Matcha Green tea;
  • Fresh or dried lemon verbena (incidentally, have you tried this lemon verbena ice cream?).

The Lightest, Silkiest Classic French Crème Caramel Recipe

All tea and herbal variations are delicious for that extra je ne sais quoi – but I keep referring back to the good old classic vanilla.  There’s something so nostalgic about it, isn’t there? Fresh berries or exotic fruits on the side are enough for me. Simple yet effective.

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

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

This French Crème Caramel recipe below does look long making it home from scratch – but it’s the opposite: I’ve given detailed recipe steps below to explain how easy it is.  Et voilà !

 

French Creme Caramel Recipe

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog (from my books, too) or fancy making this classic French Crème Caramel?  Please leave some comment love below, take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram and Facebook – or simply tell family and friends about le blog! Thanks so much for sharing.

5 from 8 votes
French Crème Caramel
French Crème Caramel
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

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

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 245 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Caramel:
  • 100 g / 3.5oz granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
Custard Cream:
  • 500 ml / 17 fl oz milk (whole milk)
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean (or pinch of vanilla powder/1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2 medium eggs (organic)
  • 3 egg yolks (organic)
  • 70 g / 2.5oz sugar
Instructions
Make the caramel:
  1. Put the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir using a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar in the water. Over a low-medium heat , then leave the caramel to form without stirring. This should take about 10 minutes (don't multitask and leave the pan - keep your eye on it). It should start to smell like caramel when light brown. Swirl it around a bit and wait until the caramel is medium to dark brown (too light and it will just be too sweet; too dark, it will be bitter).

  2. Pour the caramel into 5 ramekin dishes (or one big one), ensuring that it coats completely the base.  Set aside to cool so that the caramel sets and immediately put the saucepan in the sink and soak in water, making it easier to clean later.

Make the custard cream:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F/150°C fan/Gas 3.  Split the vanilla pod down the middle if using. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, adding the vanilla (or other infusions if using) and just allow the milk to heat to simmering point (not boiling). Take off the heat and remove the vanilla pod (scraping out the seeds and adding to the hot milk).

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

To serve, many Parisian brasseries serve crème caramel directly in their ramekins. If you like to see them upturned as shown in the photos above, slice a cross in the middle of each ramekin with a thin sharp knife and loosen the creams by running the knife also around the sides. Turn upside down directly on to the serving plates. 

Best served at room temperature.

With the leftover whites, why not make macarons or financiers from my books - or try these quick almond tuiles

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

French-Creme-Caramel-Recipe

 

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