Cooking the Book: The Little French Bistro by Nina George

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“White witches should be very skilled at baking,” Pascale said as she showed her how to prepare the gâteau breton, but however hard she tried, Marianne’s cakes never tasted as luscious and as enticing as Pascale’s.”  -The Little French Bistro, Nina George, 2017.

With a title like “The Little French Bistro,” you know food is going to play an important role in the novel. Armchair traveler foodies will delight in the descriptions of classic Breton cuisine. In fact, the ability to cook is critical to the protagonist. It helps her find employment and a place in her new community.

If you are looking for something sweet to enjoy while reading the book try Gâteau Breton, also known as kouign-amann, Brittany’s shortbread. Perhaps you will even discover a bit of magic in your first slice.

“Some said that it took a sprinkling of magic to make a kouign so good that it would enchant a person’s heart forever, so they would never forget where they had eaten their first slice. -The Little French Bistro, Nina George, 2017.

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Gâteau Breton

Ingredients

350g plain flour

350g salted butter

300g sugar

6 egg yolks (+ 1 extra for brushing over)

A splash of rum (optional)

Method

Mix together the flour and sugar then gradually mix in the butter.

Add the egg yolks as you knead the dough – normally by hand – and the rum if you wish. Don’t knead the dough for too long, only long enough to incorporate all the ingredients.

Spread out the dough in a deep, round ovenproof dish or springform mould.

Using a fork, etch diagonal stripes onto the surface, then coat with a yolk egg-wash for a golden finish.

Bake for around 45 minutes at 180°C, leave it to cool then take it out of the dish or mould.

This cake keeps for a long time and some believe it tastes even better after a few days. It is usually served in slices with a cup of good coffee. It can also be served with a little jam or prune conserve – but whichever way it’s served, it’s delicious.

Sources:

First image: finisterebrittany.com

Second Image: Unattributed via Pinterest

Recipe: finisterebrittany.com

 

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