Postcard from the Pyrenées

» Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Featured, France, postcard

If you don’t know, my family comes from the Pyrenees region. A small town on the road to the Tourmalet pass (for you cyclists). A couple weeks ago, I spent a week there to see my family and I took a couple pictures.
I did not take that many pictures because I was, one, busy visiting my family and two, the weather was not cooperating and three my brother, who lives there and is a professional photographer, has better images anyway.

Lourdes is a town known for the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1858. Since that time, pilgrims comes to Lourdes to pray. One of the great moment, is the night time procession with candles. This year, one of the largest procession happened to coincide with the full moon.

Le rosaire.

Le rosaire.

When the full moon was rising, I framed it right under the crowned Virgin Mary statue.

Moon over the crowned virgin mary in Lourdes

Moon over the crowned Virgin Mary in Lourdes

Le rosaire.

Le rosaire.

As a boy, I used to crave the local delicacies of this region. I was only coming there to visit my grand-parents but each time they bought this local cake: le gateau a la broche. It’s a pretty simple recipe to do it, you just need a vertical fire pit.

The local cake: Le gateau a la broche.

The local cake: Le gateau a la broche.

The local cake ready to be picked up.

The local cake ready to be picked up.

The food in this region of France is pretty amazing. For this post, I chose to stay in the bakery section only. I was walking in the covered market and sampling and buying way too much food. Once in a while, I took one or two images…

The local market.

The local market.

French baguettes, so good.

French baguettes, so good.

The other local cake: La tourte des Pyrenees.

The other local cake: La tourte des Pyrenees.

I had a recipe for another local cake called tourte des Pyrenees but the local and best baker adds some blueberries to it and it’s really good. I have asked my family for a better recipe and here it is:

– 250 grams of all purpose flour
– 250 grams of sugar
– 125 grams of french butter (or at least european butter). Yes that makes a difference.
– 12.5 centiliter of warm milk (at room temperature)
– 75g of blueberries
– 3 eggs
– teaspoon of vanilla
– 22 grams of baking powder
– tablespoon of dark rhum
– tablespoon of Ricard (BevMo has some)
– teaspoon of lemon

Separate the yolks and keep the whites on the side. Mix all milk, melted butter, vanilla, dark rhum, Ricard, lemon with the yolks. Whisk until you get a smooth batter. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the flour, sugar and baking power to the batter. Mix until you get a smooth batter again.
Fold the egg white in the batter slowly and gently. Add the blueberries at the very end and whisk for another minute.
Pre-heat your oven at 200C.
Put the batter in a buttered fluted mold. You can also used parchemin paper over the fluted mold (that’s the traditional way). Bake for 10 min at 200C and then reduce the temperature to 180C for another 45min.

Home baking a Tourte des Pyrenees.

Home baking a Tourte des Pyrenees.