I HAVE had my first invitation since le confinement to a clergy staff meeting, and wonder — this being the most important question — what biscuits will be served. At the moment, we are still doing “home church”, and I have discovered a delicious pastry, Broyé du Poitou, which would be ideal in either situation, if one isn’t consecrating bread and wine. It’s a galette, or a large biscuit, to be broken and shared.
Anne Cazalet, Specialiste Produits Régionaux, explains the mystery on YouTube. It is a special regional pastry which is made for all rites of passage, such as bringing in the wheat harvest, and marriage. It can be as wide as a metre, or as small as you like, but the point is that it is made in one circle which is broken and shared.
A lady from the restaurant Le Palais des Saveurs, also on YouTube, demonstrates the making and finishing. These quantities make a 30-35cm (12-14 in.) biscuit.
125g (4 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon Cognac
125g (4 oz) butter
pinch of salt
250g (8 oz) plain flour
1 egg yolk
Cut the butter into small pieces. In a food processor or with a whisk, beat the egg, sugar, and Cognac until it has doubled in volume. Gradually beat in the pieces of butter. Change to a dough hook, and add the flour and salt, and work until you have a smooth pastry dough. Wrap this in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Roll the pastry into a circle 1cm (½ in.) thick on a baking sheet, and make a straight criss-cross pattern on top with a fork. Brush the pastry with egg yolk and scatter flaked almonds on top. Bake it for about 25 minutes. The Palais des Saveurs lady suggests that it would make a nice change to your traditional Epiphany galette.
Meanwhile, what to do with all the marrows? I particularly like Peeled marrow and roasted garlic. Lemons pair well with fresh, astringent herbs such as thyme and sage; so I experimented with this combination, and it was good:
1 medium-sized marrow, half skinned
1 onion and 1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Marigold stock powder
1 sage leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest and juice (or as much of it as required, to taste)
Chop the vegetables and sauté them for 10 minutes. Add enough water to cover, the stock powder, and fresh herbs. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Remove the thyme sprigs but blitz the rest until smooth. Flavour with lemon to taste.