A big, big thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a copy of Rachel Khoo’s latest cookbook, My Little French Kitchen. The response was fantastic and I loved reading everyone’s entries on their favourite French food. The entries made me realise how far-reaching and popular French food really is; from the simple baguette loaf and famous croissant to the more exotic Duck à l’Orange, the entries highlighted how wonderful and delicious French food is, and how difficult it is to name just one favourite! The lucky winner will be notified by email shortly.
But my adventures in cooking from My Little French Kitchen are far from over and, this week, Rachel Khoo’s spin on the classic Far Breton has made my afternoon tea breaks that little bit more indulgent.
A Far Breton was what my mother-in-law served when I travelled to Brittany to meet the future in-laws for the first time. It was a rather nerve-wracking trip for me, not least because, if things went pear-shaped, I was going to be stranded on the furthest north-western corner of France where any chance of escape would have required a 5 hour train ride to the next major city. Thankfully, my first encounter with my in-laws was a charmed event and, if the only thing I can remember from that first meeting was what we ate, I’m guessing it couldn’t have been too bad.
A Far Breton is a dense flan with prunes and is very traditional to the region of Brittany. Given my familial connection to this cake, one of the first recipes to catch my eye in Rachel Khoo’s latest cookbook were her Tartlettes Far Breton. A traditional Far Breton is usually made in a large dish and which is then sliced upon serving. Here, Rachel Khoo has given this classic dessert her unique spin by recreating them as little custard tarts.
What I love about Rachel Khoo’s version is that it combines the Far Breton with one of my favourite afternoon tea treats, the Palmier, a pastry with various names translated into English, including Elephant’s Ears, Prussians and French Hearts. A Palmier is simply made from thin slices of puff pastry rolled into the shape of elephant’s ears or a heart shape (hence their adopted names in English), sprinkled with sugar and baked until the pastries are golden and caramelised.
In Rachel Khoo’s recipe, the base of the tartlets are similarly made from puff pastry which are rolled in sugar to give a crisp and caramelised crust, creating a wonderful contrast to the soft and delicate custard filling which is studded with sweet prunes.
Whilst a Far Breton is rather understated and restrained in its traditional composition, I’m rather impartial to Rachel Khoo’s sweet makeover. I ate one whilst it was still warm from the oven and my day suddenly felt better.
Due to the sugar content in the pastry, the pastry will caramelise upon baking. Hence, it is important to remove them from the muffin tin as quickly as possible, otherwise they will stick to the pan. If you are unable to remove them quickly enough, simply pop the muffin tin back in the oven for a few minutes and try again.
The tartlets taste best when they are warm, but they keep well under a covered dish for a few days.