It can hardly be debated that gastronomy is a huge part of the French Alps holiday experience. Here is a guest post by Caro Blackwell on how you can make a Tartiflette Couronne, a delightful French recipe easily made at home.
When living in the Haute Savoie, one must realise it really is all about cheese and that star of the cheese stage here is Reblochon! The main dish featured on every discerning Savoyard menu is the classic tartiflette. However, I have spent sometime trying to come up with fusion ways of using Savoyard ingredients. So I thought I’d try my hand at bread baking...why you ask when I live in the Country that arguably produces the finest bread? Well I love a challenge! So inspired by Paul Hollywood, the UK’s own ‘pin up’ baker, I set to work on his enriched brioche dough to make a savoury couronne. Using the finest french brioche flour, unsalted butter and decided my filling would consist of tartiflette ingredients! This was a great success so I thought I’d share my variation of Paul Hollywood’s Savoury Brioche Couronne recipe with you...
Take your time twisting this bread into shape. It makes a stunning centrepiece for the table, with the filling bursting out of the bread. You can make the dough by hand, but as it’s a soft dough it’s much easier to use a food mixer fitted with a dough hook.
The Tartiflette Couronne Recipe
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g salt
- 10g instant yeast
- 170ml/6fl oz warm full-fat milk
- 4 free-range eggs
- 250g/9oz unsalted butter in small pieces, at room temperature
- 1/2 wheel of Reblochon cheese – quality fermier
- Bacon lardons – sautéed with no extra fat
- Fresh thyme leaves
- 1 free-range egg beaten
- a pinch of salt
If you have a food mixer with a paddle fitting, make the dough like this: into the bowl put the flour, salt, yeast, milk and eggs and mix until the dough becomes smooth and shiny – (I added some dried thyme to this mixture). Add the butter piece by piece as you mix well for a further five minutes, until all the butter has been incorporated into the dough.
If you do not have a machine, make the base dough by bringing the flour, salt, yeast, milk and eggs together in a bowl. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and shiny. Gradually incorporate the butter piece by piece into the dough, kneading as you go. For both methods it is important to add the butter very gradually.
Tip the dough into an oiled 1 litre/1¾ pint plastic container with a lid – it needs plenty of room to rise. Leave the dough to rise until at least doubled in size (at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge).
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, without knocking the air out of it. Roll it out to a thickness of just under 1½cm / ¾in, in a rectangle that’s about 40-50cm/16-20in long. Have the long side facing you.
Cover the dough with a sprinkling of cubed pieces of reblochon and scatter the cooked bacon lardons and thyme. Roll up the dough from the long side furthest from you, into a long sausage shape. Cut the roll of dough in half, down the length to expose the filling, leaving you with two long strips side by side. Twist the two strips together, holding both ends of the dough and twisting your hands in opposite directions, to make a long rope that’s quite tightly twisted. Form the rope into a circle and join the ends together so that the dough becomes a ring – a ‘couronne’ or crown. Put the crown onto the lined baking tray, and put the tray in a large plastic bag, big enough so that the risen dough won’t touch the sides. Leave the crown to rise for 1-1½ hours, or until it has at least doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. (For this recipe you ideally don’t want a fan oven, however I did use my fan oven and reduced the temperature by 10 degrees.) Whisk one egg with a pinch of salt and brush over the crown. Bake the couronne in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden-brown. Leave to cool slightly. Serve warm or cold.
Here is a link to the original recipe on the BBC website which uses Italian ingredients. I also made this recipe by hand and added sun dried tomatoes into the filling – this was simply delicious too and an even better texture!
This is a guest blog post written by Caro Blackwell of 'Taste of Savoie' - a blog dedicated to food from the French Alps. For more information, please see Caro's blog: www.tasteofsavoie.com