Bought at: Grosgrain Homewares - a gorgeous homewares store in Wahroonga (in Sydney, NSW).
Recipes Made: Marshmallows pp.108-112, Passionfruit Caramel p.142 & Galette au Beurre p.214. Pistachio Paste p.160, Pistachio Cake p.22.
I have always been a big fan of marshmallow, and I bought a packet of mixed marshmallows at À La Mère de Famille when we were there in 2014. They were nice, albeit a little sticky. A little while later I decided I needed to try and make some of my own and used À La Mère de Famille’s recipe. They turned out exactly as I remembered them from the shop, however didn’t cope very well in the humidity of a Sydney Summer. I found I needed to keep tossing them in the icing sugar and potato flour mix to stop them going wet and sticky. They were definitely nice, however this recipe has not become my go to marshmallow recipe.
After visiting À La Mère de Famille in Paris, I knew I had to make some of the Passionfruit Caramels. I had bought a handful of them when I was there, and they were just so good I couldn’t fathom not eating another until the next time I was in Paris. Luckily the recipe is in their book. You definitely need a candy thermometer for this recipe, however many of the recipes in this book do as well, so it well worth getting one anyway. I found the caramels didn’t work as well when I made them in the heat and humidity of Summer, but worked better in the cooler months. I even went to the effort of buying candy wrappers for them, and I found plastic wrap fairly useless the first time around!
To me the Galette au Beurre are kind of like the French version of shortbread. Lots of butter, however using icing sugar instead of caster sugar. This recipe makes a lot (about 50 biscuits), but they are that good that it’s worth having that many. I posted the recipe for them years ago here on the blog (one of the very early posts!), and I mention there that when I made them I took some to my Grandpa who was in a nursing home at the time. He seemed to like them, telling me later he had gotten up in the night to eat one!
I made the Pistachio Paste recently, as I have been on a mission to recreate a pistachio ice cream/gelato. While the book does have a Pistachio ice cream recipe (p.250), I just added some of the Pistachio Paste to my easy egg free ice cream recipe. The flavour was quite nice but the ice cream froze really solid so I think I will need to try another recipe next time. The pistachio paste was relatively easy to make, as long as you have some kind of food processor. I made a half quantity of the recipe and used a mini food processor. As the paste has a sugar syrup in it, the paste firms up quite a lot when it cools. I’m not sure how easy it would be to add to other recipes once it is like this, it would probably need to be pureed again or lightly warmed to get it to incorporate properly. Considering however how difficult bought pistachio paste is to find here in Sydney, making it using this recipe is a great substitute.
The final thing I have made so far from this book is the Pistachio Cake. It is relatively easy to make (no mixer required), and is meant to use the Pistachio Paste (p.160) from the same book. As I didn’t have enough left after making the ice cream, I used some of the Pistachio Butter I bought from the Royal Nut Company online. The cake turned out well, despite not knowing what size loaf tin I should be using (this book doesn’t seem to mention sizes or dimensions of anything unfortunately - for this cake I used one 22 x 10 x 9cm loaf tin). The green colour of my cake was probably a little muted from using pistachio butter rather than paste, but I think it still made a good substitute (though I should probably test with pistachio paste next time to really compare). If you don’t have access to good quality pistachio paste or butter, or can’t be bothered making some, I would recommend using this Pistachio Cake recipe instead to get your pistachio cake fix!
Favourite Things About The Book: This book has an amazing variety of recipes from cakes, biscuits, chocolates, confectionary and ice creams. It really gives a great representation of what À La Mère de Famille is all about and the types of products they sell. It also gives a history of the store (which was established in 1761) periodically throughout the book which is lovely.
Bookmarked Recipes (to make later!): Pain d’Épice p.32, Praline Paste p.48, Pistachio Nougat p.154, Strawberry Pâte de Fruits p.168, Quince Paste p.176, Macaron de Nancy p.242, Pistachio Popsicle p.250.