Team Pretty Bake's French baking odyssey began in the wee hours of Saturday morning. A combination of work commitments, obligatory slow cooking incubations and a Sunday morning walkathon meant work began early. Miss Emily was left alone in the kitchen to begin the simple country terrine, and my oh my, there is nothing quite like offal to start the day. Or pork back fat for that matter. Still, we must do these things for the greater good.
The terrine filling marinating contently in the fridge, it was time for bônet. Touted as the ultimate dessert combination – caramel, chocolate, custard and nuts – Team Pretty Bake thought it was a worthy addition to their carte du jour. Marsala caramel was poured and set, topped with amaretti-adorned chocolate custard and then all we had to do was wait…
Miss Rose returned from her morning's outings to immediately commence the cassoulet. A simple undertaking this was not. Almost all ingredients were measured by the kilo, there was every cut of pork you could possibly imagine, and then a few that you'd probably rather not.
As Miss Emily took charge of the wild mushroom pate, Miss Rose created the most extraordinary lemon cream imaginable. To go with the pastry case Miss Emily had prepared earlier, how could we possibly hold a classic French luncheon without French lemon cream tart? The terrine was assembled, slow-cooked, and left to press with a rather ingenious method of weighting. And so it was that Saturday ended in a flurry of preparation but without a single TPB creation consumed. For that, we required patience…
While Miss Emily and her team of willing participants loped and ambled to make good their sponsors expectations, Miss Rose ensured that all was in readiness for Team Pretty Bake Sunday. As the expectant diners descended on Chateau de Rose, they were treated to an entrée of wild mushroom pate and simple country terrine with cornichons, all atop fresh crusty bread.
A short pause to complete construction of sweet delights (you must always, always, whip the lemon cream), and then it was on to the cassoulet. Who knew that pork and beans could be so delicious? Well, obviously the French.
We completed our French experience in style – bônet, lemon cream tart with strawberries, and finally a pungent Gorgonzola served with oat crackers and port-soaked muscatels.
French lemon cream tart
Oat crackers with Gorgonzola and port-soaked muscatels
And with that, our busy weekend was over. Our guests were thoroughly impressed, and Team Pretty Bake contented by their first satisfactory foray into cuisine from the mother continent.
Viva la France.