Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rillettes du Mans, Quiche Lorraine , Walnut Cake with Chantilly and Berries

Rillettes du Mans
This is a delicacy for the French... and you do not ( I mean do not) spread it over a slice of bread, non non, you need to put a bit of rillettes at the end of your piece of bread and crunch it. Then put again some rillettes at the edge of your bread and crunch again.... Yum!
Originally from Le Mans (French town in the Loire valley) this is a preparation of pork meat slowly cooked in its fat.  An ideal dish for the aperitif or an entree with a glass of white wine...

Serve 6 to 8 persons

500g of pork neck
500g of pork rashers without the skin
1 spoonful of 4 spices
15 g of sea salt
5 g of white ground pepper

  1. Cut the pork neck and the pork rashes in small cubes. Put this meat in a stoneware pot (Le Creuset style) or any slow cooking pot and add 100ml of water. Let it cook at really small temperature during 3 hours steering from time to time (the trick is that it should not burn in the bottom but cook slowly in the fat. When the meat begin to disintegrate add the salt, pepper and 4 spices. 
  2. let it cool down and add again salt or pepper to taste.
Put in small jars and refrigerate. This can stay for 1 week in your fridge (if it is not all eaten before).

Quiche Lorraine from my mother's recipe
Almost everybody I know from the Lorraine region have this recipe from their mothers... it is such a popular family dish in France. This one is from Estelle 's mother and as she describes the dish it sure brings childhood memories...

Serve 6 to 8 persons

classic pie pastry dough (called "pâte brisée"* in France)
250g of smoked speck
1 yellow onion
3 eggs
250ml of whipping cream
250ml of milk
2 spoonful of flour
200g of grated Swiss cheese or Gruyere
Salt, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste

*For the pastry dough: 250g of flour, 125g of melted butter, 1/2 coffee spoon of salt and a small amount of water to help agglomerating these ingredients .
Mix the ingredients for the dough and form a ball.Roll down the ball of dough into 2 sheets of baking paper and place into the fridge for 20mn.
Cut the onion and the speck (or smoked bacon) in small pieces and cook until the speck releases some of its fat. Set aside.
In a bowl, crack the eggs incorporate the flour to the whipped eggs and mix slowly adding the whipping cream, the milk and a handful of grated cheese.Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Take the dough out of the fridge and place it in a quiche dish or tart dish (a quiche dish is slightly deeper than a tart dish). Remove the upper baking paper and pour the mixture over the dough. Add the rest of the grated cheese on the top.
Place into the oven at 210 degrees for 30 to 40mn.

This dish is delicious when served hot with a green salad but it can also be served cold as finger food when cut in small pieces.

This recipe is not limited to speck as you can replace it with smoked salmon, mushrooms, spinach, capsicums or fresh goat cheese...get creative and try!

Walnut Cake with Chantilly and Berries
In France, walnut recipes exist since the Middle Age.There are 3 different varieties of walnuts (Franquette, Mayette and  Parisienne). Walnuts are rich in mineral salts, good fatty acids and vitamin B and D.

Serve 6 to 8 persons

400g of walnuts
8 eggs
250g of sugar
100g of flour

For the Chantilly: 200ml of whipping cream, 50g of sugar
Berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries or else

Grind the walnuts and mix with 50g of sugar. Crack the egg separating the white and the yolk. Mix the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar(200g) until the yellow colour turns lighter. Whip the egg whites adding a dash of salt to help them getting firm quicker.
Mix the walnuts with the flour and add the egg yolks preparation. Incorporate delicately this to the firm egg whites. 
Place a baking paper over a large tart oven dish. Pour the preparation into it and bake in the oven for about 30mn at 210 degrees.
Whip the whipping cream with the sugar (50g) until it gets firm but do not whip it too much as it will turn into butter.
Prepare the dessert plates: cut small portions of the walnut cake and place a spoonful of Chantilly on top of the cake portion. Sprinkle berries on top of the Chantilly.
Et voila ! 

Enjoy your meal...


  1. Great . . . Je vais essayer les rillettes !

  2. Hello Benedictine and Estelle. Now I have just moved into the new apartment in vancouver I can start to cook some of these wonderful recipes. Wish me luck.

  3. Benedictine- is this "1 spoonful of 4 spices" mean't to be all spice?
    If not, which spices? Thanks