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Skillet Desserts in Southwest France


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I enjoyed the prologue to your section on the homey skillet desserts of southwest France in the cookbook. They remind me of the sweet omelets, crepes and pancakes of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia which constitute part of the category called “Mehlspeisen”,literally “dishes made with flour”, but which are also sweet and usually contain eggs and butter and are cooked on the stovetop. Mehlspeisen are sometimes eaten as a lighter meatless dinner or lunch. I’ve read that the penchant for sweet omelet type dishes in Austria and surrounding areas was actually strengthened by exchanges between French and Austrian cuisine in the early 18th century and later.

Do you know if there are traditions in SW France of using these dishes for meatless meals during lean times or during Lenten fasting?

Two dishes that you describe in that section also caught my eye. One is the ‘Pescajoun aux fruits’ which you describe as “crepe batter made with buckwheat and wheat flour and lightened with beaten egg whites, served with fresh diced fruits soaked in liqueur”. I’d like to try and recreate this and would be grateful to hear any other details you might recall regarding the types of fruit and liqueur typically used. I looked on the net a bit for pescajoun recipes but the ones I found do not use buckwheat flour although perhaps substituting half of the regular flour with buckwheat would work Also, are the fruits cooked into the batter or is the finished ‘crepe” rolled around the fruit? .

The clafoutis variation with sugared pumpkin also sounds wonderful. As a starting point, would you recommend trying the recipe you give for Limousin cherry clafoutis and substituting in sugared cubes of pumpkin?

Thank you very much for your comments. I realize that you might not have this information at your fingertips but thought I would ask in case you did. I really enjoy dishes like this for light dinners, perhaps just preceded by a soup and salad.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Two dishes that you describe in that section also caught my eye.  One is the ‘Pescajoun aux fruits’ which you describe as “crepe batter made with buckwheat and wheat flour and lightened with beaten egg whites, served with fresh diced fruits soaked in liqueur”.  I’d like to try and recreate this and would be grateful to hear any other details you might recall regarding the types of fruit and liqueur typically used.  I looked on the net a bit for pescajoun recipes but the ones I found do not use buckwheat flour although perhaps substituting half of the regular flour with buckwheat would work  Also, are the fruits cooked into the batter or is the finished ‘crepe” rolled around the fruit?  .                 

The pescajoun is very similar to the batter cake on page 365. I would substitute a little rye or buckwheat flour for the regular flour for an earthier taste. I might use pitted prunes or sliced apples that have been soaked in Cognac or Armagnac. And I would beat up one or two of the egg whites and fold them into the batter to provide extra lightness . The pescajoun that I remember is laid flat on the plate and the fruits are baked right in with the batter.

Try the pumpkin cubes with the flognarde batter and let me know. That might be a good idea to do something like that in a black chamba skillet.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Thank you very much Paula! I look forward to trying these and will let you know how it goes.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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