Confectionery: these absolute treasures of French expertise
Often set aside for special occasions, often somewhat forgotten, French confectionery is still an absolute gem of expertise. This month, the experts at La Grande Épicerie de Paris will allow you to discover these exceptional products, created in the heart of our different regions.
From the Aix Calisson to the Montélimar Nougat, all are created based on old traditional recipes, using rigorously selected ingredients.
The golden nuggets of French culinary heritage, made using exceptional ingredients
Masterpieces of our culinary heritage, our calissons, fruit jellies and nougat, to name but a few, must follow very precise specifications.
It all started with the choice of carefully selected local ingredients. Furthermore, La Grande Épicerie de Paris Montélimar nougat is made exclusively with French honey and Mediterranean almonds, known for their flavour.
The same applies to the fruit jellies by confectioner, François Doucet. Made with over 51% fruit pulp, these jellies are not only full of flavour, but are also especially gooey. With figs, orange Provence apricots and Hautes-Alpes pears, “we are the ones who choose the plots and carry out the fruit harvest with the producer, when the fruit reaches maturity. They are bursting with flavour”, explains R. Autret, deputy general manager of the François Doucet confectionery house.
The Aix confectioner, Léonard Parli, also abides by these specifications to the letter by using only local melons, the main ingredient in the recipe. Their flavour will indeed be a determining factor in their quality.
From a perfect mix to perfect cooking: the incomparable experience of master confectioners.
The secrets of this confectionery also reside in the expertise of the master confectioners. Passionate about their products that they know so well, they polish their techniques and refine their batches in order to create the ideal recipe. For example, the calissons created by Léonard Parli have a high almond content of over 42%. “They are also crushed with granite rollers to preserve their fibres. A generous texture is achieved, that is not too smooth, and is characteristic of a real, hand-crafted calisson,” states P. Gignoux, director of Léonard Parli.
Another equally as crucial stage is the cooking of the Montélimar nougat, which controls whether the texture is soft or hard. It also has an impact on how white it is; a sign which means it has been cooked properly. In this way, the nougat at La Grande Épicerie de Paris is cooked for several hours in a bain-marie, in real copper pots. The honey is also left to set slowly. “We make sure that we take the time needed to create the right product, with the right texture”, explains Didier H, creator of Montélimar nougat at La Grande Épicerie de Paris.
Confectionery: make it the secret ingredient of your recipes!
Gooey, crunchy or melt-in-the-mouth, confectionery alone brings together an incredible palette of textures. Although they are usually enjoyed after a meal or at tea time, nothing is stopping you from mixing things up a bit! For example, you can slip a few pieces of fruit jelly into a cake or add some nougat chips to your chocolate mixtures (mousse or fondants, for example) for a little more indulgence!
Whenever you need a sweet treat, feel inspired by our cinnamon and candied fruit rolls, which should be enjoyed warm.
Cinnamon and fruit jelly rolls recipe
Ingredients: (for about 5 rolls)
- 190 g milk
- 180 g soft butter
- 450 g flour
- 7 g dry baker’s yeast
- 1 half teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 400 g brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
1 packet of pear and raspberry fruit jelly from François Doucet
- 1 egg yolk
Les étapes :
Steps to follow: 1) Gently heat the milk in a saucepan with 100 g of butter and simmer. Once the butter is melted, mix it and remove from the heat.
2) Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and egg with 50 g of water and mix until you create a smooth mixture. Add a little flour if the mixture is too sticky. Knead the dough on a floured work surface for 5 minutes.
3) Roll the dough into a ball and place it in a mixing bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.
4) Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6–7). Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and the rest of the soft butter in a bowl until it makes a mixture. Dice the fruit jellies.
5) Spread the dough out on a floured work surface, making a rectangle of 40 x 20 cm. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of cinnamon mix evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the diced fruit jelly over the dough, then roll it in on itself. With a sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 equally thick pieces and place them in the moulds of a muffin tray that has already been greased with butter. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to grow in a warm place for 30 minutes.
6) Brush the top of the rolls with an egg yolk mixed with a little milk and place in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until the rolls are golden-brown and cooked all the way through. Remove them from the moulds after taking them out of the oven, and serve warm. If you would like to enjoy them later or the following day, you can reheat them for 10 minutes in the oven at 200°C (Gas Mark 6–7).