Meeting with Catherine, our nonnettes maker
Have you heard of nonnettes, delicious cakes of jam-filled spiced breads?
The result of centuries-old traditional knowledge, they are today among the essentials of our sweet range. Discover all the secrets of this speciality from Dijon, with Catherine, our expert on the subject.
What is a nonnette, speciality from Dijon?
We have specialised in making spiced breads for over 220 years. The nonnettes is part of this family because it is still made of a circle of spiced bread, filled with jam and covered with icing sugar.
The first nonnettes were made in the Middle Ages. Their name refers to the nuns who made them in the monasteries. At that time, people sought nourishing, filling products.
The recipe was gradually improved over time. It has become sweeter, with the addition of new fragrances. We have also expanded the range with mini-nonnettes.
The small size goes better with todays’ consumer expectations. It is easy to carry around and can easily replace a dessert or accompany a snack.
What was the origin of the range of nonnettes at La Grande Épicerie de Paris?
I had a meeting at the outset of the project. In 2015, I got to know Angela, responsible for the launch of the La Grande Épicerie de Paris own brand. Together, we wanted to develop the product, which already knew great success in the store. It corresponded well with the bias of La Grande Épicerie de Paris, showcasing French regional specialities.
The development of the range, of course, meant reaching more customers, and bringing nonnettes to the Parisians!
Which are the iconic flavours, that must absolutely be tried?
Historically, nonnettes were filled with orange. At the time, it was an exotic, luxury fruit, whose tangy notes went well with spiced breads. Today, we have 9 flavours, from mirabelle to caramel with blends like apple and cinnamon. 3 mini-nonnettes also complete the range.
How do you make the nonnettes for La Grande Épicerie de Paris?
Nonnettes are made artisanally, respecting the historic methods and recipes.
First we make a “mother dough”, of flour, honey and sugar. This rests for 15 days before making it a “worked dough”, also used to make our spiced breads. Then, we add complementary ingredients, such as egg yolks, and we divide the dough into small moulds. They bake for about 15 minutes, enough time to inflate and obtain their moist texture. Then they are garnished, iced and left to rest for about 30 minutes before being wrapped.
We favour the use of local and national produce.
Have you any advice for enjoying nonnettes from La Grande Épicerie de Paris?
Nonnettes can be eaten for breakfast. They keep well, because the dough contains no fat. They are also rich with honey, reputed for its natural preservative properties.
The spiced breads can also go with a savoury recipe. The dough can be re-used to garnish a small glass of fish or vegetables. As an aperitif, I have realised that cheese on toasted slivers of spiced breads is simply excellent!
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