It’s fall. That means pumpkin and apple recipes abound. Last night I tried my own pumpkin recipe – pumpkin gnocchi. It totally failed.

Ok so, it didn’t TOTALLY fail, but I didn’t measure right, had to use two different flours and there’s just something wrong with them that I can’t quite figure out. They’re edible, but they aren’t serve-able. If you know what I mean. And I don’t like to fail.

Nobody likes to fail. Failure is such a personal thing. There’s no one else to blame. It’s my fault. Rejection I can handle. There are two people involved. It’s an opinion. Someone else’s technique is better, someone else’s sound or story preferable. It happens. But I don’t tolerate failure in art.

Cooking is an art.

So today, I had to prove my dominance in the kitchen to make up for last night’s mistakes.

I decided on two types of breads. One savory, one sweet.

The first, the savory, the ficelle.

A ficelle is basically a small baguette stuffed with something savory: cheeses, sausages, and olives are the most common. I love buying them for lunch at my local boulangerie because they are a perfect compliment to a soup or a salad. So the husband recommended that if I was going to make bread, why not try a few ficelles for the week. Good idea, husband.

These are pretty easy and I found a recipe here: Ficelles aux lard

Sadly, for those of you who don’t speak French, it’s in French. Don’t be turned off by the lard – it’s just ham chunks, not chunks of fat.

Anyway this is what you need:

  • 500 grams of flour

  • 320 ml of warm water

  • Salt

  • Yeast 1 package

  • 1 pat of melted butter (optional)

  • FIXIN’S – whatever you like, we’ll get to my choices in a bit.

First prepare your yeast in a small bowl with about 4 tablespoons of warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile put your flour and salt in a mixer with the dough hook attachment. If you’re using butter, add now. Add your yeast and water and mix on a low speed until it stops sticking to the sides. Add a handful of flour and mix some more. The dough should be sticky but also satiny. I spent about 10 minutes mixing it on low speed.

Take it out, put it in a bowl and let it rise for 1 hour until it doubles in size. I went for an 8 mile run and let the husband clean up.

Next separate the dough into 8 small balls, flatten out into small rectangles and let it sit for 45 minutes to rise again.


Now it’s time to prepare your fixings. I used an organic smoked sausage – at the husband’s request, vegetarian mushroom paté for me, and Camembert cheese for both of us.

Fold one end of your dough, then add your filling. Roll the dough up into a – well a roll – and then starting with your hands in the center of the dough, roll it out into a long strip. Place on a baking sheet and do it with the rest of the seven rectangles.

Let rise for another 30 minutes. Then bake at 230°C for 20 minutes.

They are lovely and puffed up quite bigger than I expected. The husband has already eaten half of one, even after the huge cabbage stew we had for lunch. I used white wheat flour because it’s traditional for the ficelle but you could easily use any flour you wanted. Also, if you want a nice gold color, brush the dough with oil or melted butter before baking.

And now the sweet, the chocolaty, the sugar, the sacristain. These are SUPER easy if you buy pre-made dough. Why did I use pre-made dough?

For this treat you need pâte feuilletée which when baked is a leafy, flakey dough. It’s kind of difficult to make and takes a while because it requires a lot of folding, rolling out, folding, rolling out and quite frankly, I didn’t feel like doing that. So I bought some organic dough instead.

Taken from this recipe Sacristain, also in French. So you need:

  • pâte feuilletée
  • 1 egg
  • powdered sugar
  • fixings – I used cinnamon, sugar and this:

organic dark chocolate nutella. Yeah. It’s fabulous.

Anyway, crack open and mix your egg. Roll out your dough. Here I deviate from the recipe above. First, I didn’t want the massive sacristain you see in the bakeries. I wanted little treats to have after dinner or with coffee. So I cut my dough into four quarters.

Brush your dough with the egg.

Add your topping. Use a thin layer of chocolate or nutella, because if you don’t it will explode – as mine did.

Fold your dough and brush the top with egg again. If you’re using cinnamon or sugar, add some more on top here.

Then cut into 2 cm wide strips. Twist to make little curls, like my hair, if you’ve ever seen it.

Brush with egg again.

Add some more sugar or cinnamon.

Bake in the oven at 180°C. The cooking time depends on how brown you want your sacristain to be. The minimum is 15 minutes, but I think mine were in there for about 18.

Take out of the oven and add a little powdered sugar to the cinnamon and sugar ones. Voila! They are light and flaky and very fun and you can potentially add any type of sweet treat that can be baked in the oven.

Other finds at the organic market – AKA Botanic – was this:

Purple cauliflower.

Isn’t it gorgeous? When I do something with it I’ll let you know.

Tonight, I’m making baked falafel with pan-seared veggies for dinner. And thus, with this frantic day of cooking and baking, I will be able to reclaim my success in the kitchen.

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