Saturday, January 26, 2008

Echaudés - Boiled Pastry

One of La Varenne's editions of The French Cook was translated into English in 1653, and over one hundered years later, the 10th edition of La Nouvelle Maison Rustique uses the same recipes, almost word for word to describe not only the ingredients, but the method of the previous century--it only adds another sweet variation and a second boiling, this time in oil or lard. Truly, nothing is new under the sun. And those of us in America are familiar with this boiled pastry technique, as well. Celebrate the past each time you eat your bagel and cream cheese.

Depending upon your region of France, your echaudés will have one of several appearances: Lyon, jeannots, craquelins and those with anise.

Le Cuisinier François, de La Varenne. Unzieme Edition, Chez Jacquez Canier, 1680, p. 308-311.

The method of making échaudéz [boiled or scalded pastry], or craquelins with butter.

Place a pint of flour on your table, make a small well in the middle, & put approximately a half glass of warm water mixed with beer yeast, & stir it together until a fine paste results which will become the leavening agent to incorporate into your échaudé pastry, which is why it will be necessary to allow this paste to rise [proof] in a warm place, so that it doubles in bulk, & if it is in Summer it can be inflated sufficiently in fifteen minutes.

While you are waiting for the leavening to proof, you will put on a table a quart of fine [pastry] flour, make a well in the middle and work in a pound of sweet butter, which is cold but not too hard, & mix in an ounce or a bit more of well-pounded salt, mix it altogether, adding what it will be necessary of cold water to mix this pastry [to the right consistency], & when your leaven has risen sufficiently, incorporate it into your butter pastry and work it well.

And when it is mixed sufficiently, you will roll it out and cut it into small triangles with a serrated roller [jagger or pastry wheel] which will then be stretched by hand to form echaudez.

It will be necessary to have a cauldron [copper confiture pan] full of boiling water where you will drop in your echaudez, & leave them until they resurface; & then you will take a skimmer with which you will turn your echaudez until they are done to the touch, & then you will remove them from the water, & will put them to cool and dry on a wire netting; then you will bake them in the oven: it takes about 15 minutes to bake small echaudez. But it is necessary that the furnace is hard, i.e. as hot as in cooking large pastries.

If echaudez do not take sufficient color while cooking, it will be necessary to do a little clear fire on the end, near the sides of the furnace, so that the higher will color them.

Notice well: if you do not put butter in your echaudez, & make them only with salt & water, you will have a common variety that most people know [pretzels or craquelins].

Echaudez with eggs in the pastry, it is made with a quart of flour & fifteen eggs, & you will use only one half pound of butter. Echaudez with eggs, must be carefully handled and is more delicate than that of the other echaudez. It still should be noted that one must bake in a slower oven echaudez with the eggs, than those which are only of salt & water, or with butter.

La nouvelle maison rustique par le Sieur Louis Liger. Paris : Saugrain, 1755, Tome II, IV. Part. LIV. IV. Chap. III. La Pâtisserie. p. 861.

Echaudez glazed [with icing sugar]. Take echaudez made with eggs after they leave the water, let them drain & harden, then cut them in half between the two crusts, put to soak in milk with sugar, cover them & put them on hot ash during four or five hours to hold them warmly: it is not necessary that they boil, for fear they may disintegrate; then draw them from the milk & put them to drain [on a wire netting], then fry in new lard [I would use olive oil]: when fried & well coloured, draw them out with a skimmer, powder them with confectioner’s sugar, first on one side & then the other, & serve them warmly.

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