Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Funny Comment From a Reader in France and a Fig Tart Recipe from a Provincial Garden

Hello Beach Dwellers

 I so want this guy for a guest post.  He's an old friend of Mr Beach House, now living in Paris, but with a family home in Provence. 

The Beach House Dwellers (minus one, as she wasn't born yet) and Malcolm (right) out to lunch in the Loire Valley 
Here's what he had to say on my last post about the strawberry and apple crumble.   And he's got a lovely fig dessert recipe from the Pays Basque for you as well. I love his method for the recipe.....had me laughing. The shots are just random ones, I took in the south of France 5 Years ago.

Malcolm says:

The French find crumble very trendy. BTW next time you're over here, go and have a drool at this cookware shop - been around since 1820 - from the time when Les Halles was a huge market - since been moved to Rungis about half an hour out of Paris. here

Oh yeah - it's pronounced "Lay Al" - not "Les Halls" - he's a Country & Western singer. 

This shop is way better for cookware than "Monoprix" (pronounced "Mono Pree" not "Mono Pricks").

The town of Pierre Longue in Haute Provence.  One is warned against drinking from public fountains in France, but there you go, Mr Beach House will not be told.  Apparently he is special.  

Malcolm's comment continued:

We are making the most of the figs growing in the Provence house. We use them in a sauce for barbequed meat - especially good with pork. But here's a dessert we're doing tonight - "Gâteau Basque Aux Figues Fraïches" (Basque-style Fresh Fig Cake from down the South Coast past Biarritz) 

Pastry - 2 cups/250g Flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup/150g sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon rum, 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons/150g butter plus more for the pan, 1 egg mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt for the glaze.

Fig Filling - 12 ounces/330g fresh figs, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste, 2 tablespoons/30g butter, 1/4 cup/60ml Port, 1/2 cup/60g raspberries or 3 to 4 tablespoons raspberry jam.

9inch/23cm round cake pan

A cafe in old Vaison La Romaine.  I love the light in the South of France

Make the pastry - sift the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Put the salt, sugar, egg yolk and whole egg and vanilla or other flavouring in the well. Pound the butter with a rolling pin to soften it, add it to the other ingredients in the well and work with the fingers of one hand until thoroughly mixed and the sugar is partially dissolved [Now you can take a slug of chilled Rosé or your bevvie of choice]. Using a pastry scraper, gradually draw in the flour from the sides of the well, then work the dough and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. [Chill out yourself with another hit of chilled Rosé]

For the filling, discard the fig stems and cut the figs into large chunks. Toss the figs with the sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a frying pan over high heat (don't burn the bastard). Add the figs and cook, stirring constantly with one hand while drinking another glass of Rosé with the other. Stir until caramelized and very tender - about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the port and flambé it. Have another drink if you manage to successfully flambé without setting your hair or the kitchen on fire. Add the raspberries and continue cooking until the filling just falls easily from a spoon - 2 to 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly. Taste, adjust the amount of sugar and leave the filling to cool. Voila! You're done. Now go chill the Champagne. And some clotted cream. 

Carolyn: Not sure how the pastry and figs come together here. I assume you're meant to line a greased pie dish or the cake pan mentioned with the pastry and blind bake it for 15 minutes or so and fill with the fig mixture and serve it with the cream.  Anyhoo!!!! The good cooks amongst you will work it out.  Have some Rose....I find it usually helps solve just about anything!!!! 

Deep in the South of France Old Town Vaison La Romaine ????

And my reply to Malcolm's comment.

So they find it trendy ha? I doubt because it's English. Possibly more about the fact that oats and fruit are good for you, or that the French like things of beauty that taste good. Do tell!!!!.

I so want you for a guest post on here. Come on, you must be heading back to Paris soon, as Summer is on the wane. How about a post on a day on your life in Provence and then another one in Paris? You could show us some of the less well known areas like that canteen under La Madeleine, which served great food, but was really a charitable thing for the homeless et al.  It was closed for the month of August so we didn't get of my greatest regrets.

That recipe looks fab and with your own figs too. Man you had me at "The Provence House"

From one Mono Prix to another

So what do you reckon peeps? Wouldn't you like to hear more from a funny Australian in France?  I know I would.

The village of Tillac where we stayed in Gascony, part of the Pays Basque.
Today I am linked here
Wow Us Wednesday
52 Mantels
Live Laugh Rowe
Transformation Thursday
Potpourri Friday
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Sunday Scoop
Sunday Showcase
Tabletop Tuesday
Coastal Charm
Take A Look Tuesday


  1. recipe sounds good- would need to find some fresh figs though, and I would use my food processor for the pastry!
    Would love to hear more from Malcolm!

  2. Stunning photos and would definitely love to hear more from Malcolm! x

  3. gorgeous photos! especially love the 4th last.
    i think malcolm should do a guest post!

  4. I couldn't give a flying fig tart if he's willing or not.
    Tell him he's doing it because we want him to......
    Did you hear that Malcolm? ;o)
    Tania xx

  5. Come on Malcolm - what could be better, you have us woman begging for you :) x

  6. Oh I am not so sure a guest post from Malcolm would be a good idea! There will be a whole group of Aussie bloggers who are suddenly googling air tickets to France - I have already started!

    My brother lived in France for 12 months (he is a wine maker) and he still delights me with his tales of impromtu meals - cheese, fruit, bread, wine - that became a feast.

    Maybe it is the light - it casts a magical glow over even the everyday things.

    Thank you for a wonderful post - and of course we would love to hear more from Malcolm.

  7. What a gorgeous place to be nestled away to on a vacation! How I love the charming atmosphere and beautiful architecture.
    Your friend Malcolm was a hoot! What a witty sense of humor....Love it!
    Thanks for the delightful post, my friend,

  8. Gee...I must have had one too many Rosés for lunch. Here's the rest of the gateau recipe for you tarts...I mean "girls".

    (BTW it's not baked blind but you'll be blind if you sample too much of the Port and the Rosé)

    Roll out 2/3rds of the dough to 10 inch/25 cm round and line a cake pan with it, shaping the dough about 1 inch/2.5 cm up the sides of the pan. Brush the edge of the dough with egg glaze and spread the cooled fig filling in the pan.

    Roll out the remaining dough to around the same diameter as the pan. Trim it to the right size and lift it onto the filling. Press the edges of dough firmly together to seal the top and bottom layers. Brush the top with the egg glaze and score it with the tines of a fork in a lattice effect. Chill until firm - about 30 mins. Heat the oven to 375°F/190°C and set a baking sheet on a low shelf to heat.

    Bake the gateau on the hot baking sheet until golden brown and the pastry starts to pull from the sides of the pan - 35-45 minutes.

    Let the gateau cool for 15 minutes or so in the pan, then carefully turn the bastard upside down onto a baking sheet. Put a rack on top and flip it over.

    I think it tastes better the day - after storing in an airtight container. Bit hard with hungry children around.

  9. Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview at Potpourri Friday!

  10. It looks so beautiful there.....I just love that look!


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