As a follow up from my rather complicated, but very warmly received Christmas cake, here is a VERY simple and VERY adaptable ‘Strudel Tarte’ that I saw featured on French breakfast tv, and in true Taste of Two Cities’ manner, I have tweaked and adapted it, and I am very pleased with the results so far.
Also in true ‘Taste of Two Cities’ manner, I am going to run a little cultural introduction, and this week I have been inspired by a visit to a local restaurant on the banks of the river Marne, ‘La Goulue.
‘La Goulue’ (real name Louise Weber) was a dancer at the ‘Moulin Rouge’ who was immortalised by Toulouse Lautrec’ in his advertising posters.
She was in fact the first dancer to introduce the racy dance moves that were to evolve into the famous ‘French Can Can’ by lifting her skirts high while dancing and revealing a heart embroidered on her panties, and would make a high kick, lifting a gentleman’s hat from his head.
She was given the name ‘La Goulue’ (the glutton) as, as she danced past the tables she would sweep up a customer’s drink and down its contents in one!
The restaurant echoes the ambiance of the ‘Belle Epoque’ with Lautrec style murals and Tiffany style glass.
The menu is very typically French with dishes such as ‘Magret de Canard’, ‘Porc Normand’ and ‘Coquilles St Jacques’ and a wonderful selection of traditional desserts all cooked to perfection.
We were there early at a mid-week lunchtime, so I was able, with the permission of the owner, to take some photographs, but at Sunday lunchtime you must book in advance to secure a table.
To return to the Strudel Tarte, the one made on breakfast television contained ‘Nutella’ pecan nuts and pear, as I do not like ‘Nutella’ and I was out of both pecans and pears, I used ‘crème de marrons’ assorted raisons and apple (and a sprinkling of all spice)
My next attempt is going to feature ‘mincemeat’ (to make ‘mince pies’, not ‘minced meat’ to make lasagne – in case any non-Brits are confused!) and cranberries and either pecans or walnuts (whatever I have to hand).
You could equally use fig or apricot jam with figs and dates, or whatever you like – you are only limited by your imagination – and what you have in your cupboards! I am also going to try this out using Cranberry sauce and Brie cheese and walnuts – so watch this space.
All I have to add is that this is one of the easiest recipes that I have tried and it got the ‘Silent’ factor from my usually gregarious beau-fils (step-son) and Monsieur le Frog also…so without further ado…
Two sheets of ready-made ‘puff’ pastry
1 table spoon of crème de marrons (or equivalent – I used ‘crème de marrons du ‘Massif Central’)
A good handful of mixed raisons
Half an apple finely chopped
1 teaspoon of all spice
1 beaten egg for brushing
2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
Cut two circles of puff pastry
Cover one with the crème marrons, leaving a 1 inch (2 cm) border
Sprinkle with the raisins, apple and all spice
Brush the edges with the egg and place the second circle on top, gently pressing down the edges to seal them
Place a glass upside down in the centre and cut into quarters up to the glass, leaving the centre intact
Cut each quarter into three and twist the edges in a ‘clockwise’ direction
Remove the glass and sprinkle a handful of flaked almonds in the space where the glass was
Brush with the remaining beaten egg and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the vanilla sugar, return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes until golden
Allow to cool a little for 5 minutes before serving with a little crème fraiche on the side
Guaranteed success on a plate…..