All but one of the ladies were on strike this summer, their collective bargaining power being the phenomenon we call “brooding.” How am I supposed to bake when I’ve got no eggs? I caved immediately, and brought home three potential new recruits, still in the shell. Phoebe took a seat for 21 days, after which Charles Baudelaire (NOT my idea) pecked her way out into the open. A month later our ruffled friends, having satisfied their mothering instincts, were back in business.
Having hens on hiatus hasn’t been my only problem with this cake book. I find myself sliding down one rabbit hole or another, dazed and at times overwhelmed by the sheer number of ingredients available to me here in France. Coqueliquot! Angelica! Chestnut flour! Tonka bean! Crême cru! Fresh bergamot! Green almonds! Linden honey! I leave each weekly marke t feeling like someone flipped the breaker on my food circuit.
My obsessive need to seek out and research ingredients is becoming an issue. Let’s take wheat flour as one, seemingly basic example. We live in what is known as the “Gâtinais,” an ancient region heralded for its grain production. A simple stroll down the baking ingredient aisle at even the worst grocery store here will offer you 10x the All-Purpose/Pastry/Bread Flo ur options we see in the U.S. You’ll be faced with the daunting prospect of considering the protein and ash content (T45-150) of each and every bag of flour, as well as the type of milling process and amount of residual germ (complete, semi-complete, etc.)
So here I am, index finger to chin, thinking to myself, “Oooooh, what if I replace the T55 flour in this perfectly delicious, already tested gâteau Breton with the T65?” It’s not a pretty sight, these shopping trips.
Until I get my IIC (innate ingredient curiosity) under control, here’s a teaser recipe for those of you with access to chestnut flour. It’s naturally gluten-free, earthy in the best sense of the word, and you won’t have to worry about what grade of wheat flour you choose.