At the beginning of the month, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Brittany, exploring the beautiful canals and coastal paths on bike. Apart from allowing me to drink in some of Brittany’s breath-taking scenery, cycling meant that I could indulge in all of Brittany’s culinary delights (almost) guilt free. Breton dishes seems to share a common key ingredient, which is probably the reason they are so delicious. And that all-important ingredient is butter. So for the August bake I wanted to try and recreate one of the butter enriched recipes I sampled in Brittany…but the decision of what to bake was not easy. Should I bake a Kouign Amman? a Far Breton? (the list goes on…) but I eventually decided on glazed shortbread-like biscuits made with salted butter, or les gallettes bretonnes au beurre salé). Don’t be afraid of the salt – it brings to these biscuits what it does to salted caramel. A whole new level of flavour, so every bite is just the extra bit more delicious…
This month I also wanted to make the most of all the wonderful seasonal ingredients we are lucky enough to have in Britain. Late summer brings with it some real treats; juicy ripe tomatoes, sweet figs, brambles full of blackberries, and a personal favourite – damsons. Damsons are similar to plums, but slightly smaller and a little more tart. Like many late summer (or early autumn!) fruits, they are delicious cooked, such as in crumbles and cobblers. So when my neighbour came round with a large bowl brimming with freshly picked damsons, I couldn’t resist making a damson compôte to accompany my breton biscuits. If any of the compôte lasts long enough (mine was devoured in one sitting), it would be also delicious spooned generously on top of a bowl of greek yoghurt or your morning porridge.
So, in short, this month there are two scrumptious recipes. Both delectable on their own, but absolutely divine together.
Recipe adapted from Marmiton
- 200 plain flour
- 120 caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 125g salted butter, cubed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of sea salt flakes (optional)
- glaze: 1 egg yolk mixed with 50ml water
Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine.
Add the butter and pulse until you have a sand like consistency. Add the egg and mix again briefly until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
During this time, preheat the oven to 210°C and prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg yolk with the water.
Sprinkle the work surface with flour and Roll out the dough to about 5mm thickness. Cut out with a fluted cutter of about 7cm. Place the biscuits onto lined (but not greased) baking trays. If the dough becomes too difficult to work with, pop it back in the fridge for 10mins or so.
Using the back of a knife, score lines on the top of each biscuit:
Apply a generous layer of egg wash. At this stage you can add a sprinkle of the sea salt flakes, depending on your personal preference. Bake the biscuits for around 8 minutes, until dark golden in colour. You may want to test two or three biscuits first to get the baking right time for your oven.
Recipe adapted from the September issue of Olive magazine
- 24 damsons
- a large handful of blueberries
- 4 tbsp demerara sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Wash, halve and destone the damsons and place them in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients.
Cook on a medium low heat on the hob until the fruit starts dissintegrate. Taste the compôte and sweeten with more sugar depending on the sweetness of the damsons and your taste.