French reader recipes
Thank you to all who submitted recipes for our Milly’s reader recipe competition to celebrate Bastille Day. Our winner is Isabelle Boulliat with her recipe for a traditional French pudding (pictured above). On her entry she says:
"This is an easy recipe that is very tasty and so versatile that in France it has two different names and uses different fruits depending on whether you live in Brittany in the west or Lorraine in the east. This recipe I am sharing is made with pitted dried plums (pruneaux) and is found in Brittany under the name of Far Breton. Where I come from in Lorraine, we use fresh, whole cherries (usually the darker, smaller kind), but cherries are quite dear in New Zealand, so I now make the Brittany version most of the time. But don’t stop at dried plums and fresh cherries, you can use dried currants, fresh plums and even apricots in season."
250g pitted prunes
2 tea bags (whatever takes your fancy)
500ml full cream milk
50g butter, plus extra for the top
100g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
125g white flour
Dash of rum, optional
- Soak the prunes in warm water with the tea bags for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 200C. In a pot, add the milk and 25g of the butter and heat until just warm.
- In a bowl cream the eggs and sugar then beat in the salt and flour.
- Gently mix the milk into the flour mixture. You can add a dash of dark rum too at this point.
- Place the remaining 25g butter in a large baking dish and put it in the oven to melt. Ensure it spreads all over the bottom of the dish.
- Drain the prunes and place them in the bottom of the dish, then gently pour the batter on top.
- For added calories (Brittany is known for using lots of cream and butter in cooking) add small pieces of extra butter on top.
- Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the sides start to look like they are setting. Reduce the heat to 160C and bake for another 1 hour 15 minutes until the top looks nice and caramel coloured. Enjoy warm or cold from the fridge.
Note: French desserts like this one do not need whipped cream or ice cream to accompany them.
Here’s a selection of entries that also piqued our interest:
French red onion soup (Recipe by Rosemary Cole)
The red onion gives this traditional soup a unique colour and flavour.
4 large red onions, peeled, finely sliced
1.5L stock, chicken or vegetable
4 thick slices of French bread, cut as for toast, not on the diagonal
4 thick slices of Tasty cheese
Parsley sprigs, to garnish
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Gently sauté the onion over a low heat until soft, stirring occasionally. This will draw out the sweetness. Watch carefully that the onion doesn’t burn!
- Stirring continuously, slowly add the stock. Simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toast the bread and cover each slice with Tasty cheese.
- Heat the oven grill. Put the toasted bread onto an oven tray and melt the cheese under the grill, taking care that the bread doesn’t burn.
- Divide the soup between four bowls, top with the cheesy toast and garnish with parsley sprigs.
Tahitian passionfruit and coconut tart (Recipe by Janene Joll)
400g sweet short pastry
½ cup passionfruit pulp
½ cup sugar or ¼ cup honey
1 cup desiccated coconut
1½ cups coconut cream
- Place oven tray on centre shelf and heat oven to 190C.
- Grease a 26cm flan dish and roll out the pastry to fit base and sides. Chill pastry while preparing the filling.
- Beat eggs, sugar and pulp together until blended.
- Add the desiccated coconut and coconut cream and blend again until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pastry base.
- Bake on the oven tray for about 35 minutes or until filling is set. Cool to room temperature before serving. Delicious warm or cold.
French potato and camembert bake (Recipe by Samantha Matete)
1 kg potatoes, peeled
250g bacon, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 glass of white wine
1 round of Camembert cheese, sliced
1 cup of cream
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with the knife. Remove from the heat, drain, and let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into thin slices and set aside.
- In a saute pan, cook the bacon over high heat until browned. Remove bacon and drain, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet. Add the onion. Cook over moderately high heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Return bacon to the pan with the wine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the potato mixture from the heat and place half of it in the ovenproof dish. Spread half the cheese slices atop the potato mixture. Cover this with the other half of the potato mixture. Top with the remainder of the cheese. Pour over the cream. Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot.
Baked ratatouille with lemon breadcrumbs (Recipe by Peter Tam)
50g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 courgettes, chunkily sliced
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
1 large onion, very roughly chopped
4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp chopped thyme
1 Tbsp tomato puree
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. In a small bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp of the oil and a good sprinkling of seasoning. Set aside.
- Put the courgettes, peppers, onion, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, tomato puree, vinegar and the remaining olive oil in a bowl. Season well and toss together. Tip the vegetables into a roasting tin and spread out in a single layer. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle over the lemon zest.
Gluten-free French chocolate toasties (recipe by Frida Sumardjo)
¼ tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup milk
8 slices gluten-free bread
- Mix eggs, cocoa powder, cinnamon and milk together.
- Dip the bread slices in the mixture until well coated. Heat butter in a pan and fry the bread until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup, butter and fresh berries.
Cauliflower gratin (recipe by Teresa Brannigan)
½ cauliflower - cut into steak-size pieces
Coconut or rice flour
Provolone dolce, grated
- Heat oven to 180C.
- Break cauliflower into pieces and layer in a casserole. Pour over cream. Sprinkle over flour and stir into the dish. Top with the provolone cheese. Cover with lid and bake in moderate oven for 1/2 hour. The sauce automatically thickens.
French apple tart (recipe by Joy Wilson)
150g butter puff pastry or 4 sheets
100g creme fraiche
¼ cup ground almonds
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp lemon rind, grated
2 Granny Smith apples, skin on
20g butter, melted
1 Tbsp Calvados or brandy
- Heat oven to 200C. Roll out pastry to 1cm thick or cut 20cm rounds from the pre-rolled sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place pastry on oven tray lined with baking paper. Combine the creme fraiche, almonds, sugar and lemon rind. Spread over the pastry leaving a 1cm border.
- Halve and core the apples, slice very thinly. Arrange in concentric circles, overlapping, on the almond mixture. Combine the melted butter and Calvados, brush over the apples and bake for 10 minutes.
- Brush with butter and Calvados again and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until golden. Serve with cream.
Onion and anchovy tarts (recipe by Gaston Rodrigo Fernandez)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 large red onions, halved length-wise and thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
10 salt-cured black olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 x 9" x 11" sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained, cut into 4 slivers each
Chives or flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish
- Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add thyme and onions and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add sugar and vinegar, and season with kosher salt and finely ground black pepper. Cook, stirring, until caramelised, 12-15 minutes. Stir in olives, remove from heat, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 200C. Roll out puff pastry. Using a 2½" cookie cutter, cut out 16 circles from each sheet. Transfer pastry circles to 2 paper-lined baking sheets and prick each circle all over with a fork. Cover circles with a sheet of parchment and another baking sheet; bake until light golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, 2-3 minutes more. Transfer circles to a large serving platter, spoon about 1 teaspoon onion mixture over each, and top with a sliver of anchovy. Garnish with chives or parsley.
Light salade aux lardons (recipe by Mark Loveday)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
226g (1 3/4 cups) Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 frisee, or curly-leaf, endive lettuce (about 8 cups), torn
1 large shallot, minced
3 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper, plus extra for serving
4 large eggs
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook, stirring, until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a large bowl. Add lettuce to the bowl. Add shallot to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over the lettuce and toss to coat.
- Meanwhile, bring about 3cm water to a boil in a medium skillet. Crack each egg into a small bowl and slip them one at a time into the boiling water, taking care not to break the yolks. Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan and poach the eggs until the yolks are just set, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Divide the salad among 4 plates. Top each serving with a poached egg. Grind pepper over the top and serve immediately.
Delicious potato gratin (recipe by Alex Flanagan)
2 kg floury potatoes
500ml full fat milk
500ml double cream
1 onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp soft sea salt flakes
50g unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 240C.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1cm-thick slices. Put them into a large saucepan with the milk, cream, onion, minced garlic, thyme and salt. Bring to the boil and cook at a gentle boil.
- Use some of the butter to grease a large roasting tin and then, after removing the onion, pour the milk and potato mixture into it.
- Dot with remaining butter and cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until the potato is bubbly and browned on top.
- Remove, let stand for 10-20 minutes and then serve.