If you’re not on your bike for Le Grand Depart, why not celebrate Le Tour de France with un petit peu of what the French are famous for – sugar filled treats and patisserie. Here are a few classic French desserts to try out for the biggest day this year in Leeds.
These buttery little rounds of joy originate from the financial district of Paris. Here’s a fruity twist to the classic butter and almond combination.
(makes 12 financiers)
- 25g plain flour
- 125g ground almonds
- The zest of one lemon
- 125g butter
- 3 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 dessert spoon of honey
- 125g raspberries
- A pinch of baking powder
- A few drops of vanilla essence
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, or gas mark 5.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add in the almonds and lemon zest.
- In a non-stick pan, melt the better over a high heat until it starts to brown. Sieve into a bowl through a fine sieve, and allow to cool.
- Whisk the egg whites and sugar until they form soft peaks
- Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture.
- Stir in the cooled butter, and then add the honey and vanilla.
- Chill the mix in the fridge for at least an hour. Now spoon the mix into financier/mini-muffin tins, so that each mould has about half a centimetre of space below the rim.
- Finish with a raspberry or two in the centre.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven until golden and slightly risen around the raspberries.
- Serve with cream – lemon if you have it. The yellow colour of these delights means they are perfect to celebrate the race with!
Le Chocolat Chaud
This is no ordinary hot chocolate. This is French hot chocolate. It is rich, creamy and will warm you through if Yorkshire weather threatens to dampen le départ.
- A dash of vanilla extract
- 600ml of whole milk
- 250ml of single/pouring cream
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 150g of dark chocolate, finely chopped.
- 100g of milk chocolate, finely chopped.
- Pour the vanilla, milk, cream and brown sugar into a pan, and heat over a low heat until it begins to simmer. Don’t let the mixture boil.
- Take off the heat and add the two types of chocolate, stirring until they have melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Now, get a little bit of exercise yourself, and whisk the mix for a couple of minutes until it is a little bit frothy. You won’t burn as many calories as the cyclists, but oh well.
- Reheat again, though do not boil, and pour into mugs. Serve with whipped cream, or add a dash or mint or hazelnut extract for another dimension of flavour.
Tarte au Citron
With a tantalizingly tangy taste, and a rich yellow colour, this is the most fitting Tour de France treat.
(Serves 6-8 people)
- 300g ready-made shortcrust pastry
- 75g of butter
- 150ml of double cream
- 2 whole eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- 160g caster sugar
- 250ml of fresh lemon juice
- The zest of two lemons
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Roll the pastry until it is just under half a centimetre thick. Then, line a fairly deep tart dish with the pastry, gently encouraging it into the corners and cerated parts. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, and fill with baking beans (of rice or pasta if you don’t have baking beans).
- Blind bake the case for 10-15 minutes, until it is a light golden brown, though not completely cooked.
- Melt the butter gently in a medium sized saucepan over a low heat, then slowly add in the cream. Once the mixture is fully combined, set aside.
- In a ban marie, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
- Then, add the lemon juice, stirring constantly for three minutes.
- Add the lemon zest, and then the butter and cream mixture and continue to simmer, continuously stirring for five minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 150°C/gas mark 2. Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it turns a deep yellow and still wobbles slightly in the middle.
- Leave to cool slowly, and enjoy!