So French So Sweet
So French So Sweet is Gabriel Gaté’s love letter to pâtisserie, baking and sweet treats. An irresistible collection of French classics and Gabriel’s most treasured sweet recipes, it brings together exquisite cakes and tarts, scrumptious ice creams, mousses and crèmes, refreshing sorbets, and fruity desserts. With a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and home-style cooking, Gabriel shows just how simple it is to create delightful treats that everyone will enjoy.
Edited recipes extracted from
So French So Sweet by Gabriel Gaté,
published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP
$29.99, available in stores nationally.
ALMOND AND BLUEBERRY GALETTE
A galette is the French term for a flat cake. I love the flavour of the cooked blueberries in this dish. You can also make eight small galettes using individual flan tins or muffin tins.
> Serves: 8
160g plain flour, sifted
80g ground almonds
200g butter, cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
200g caster sugar
4 large egg yolks
50g flaked almonds
cream, ice cream or a fruit sauce, to serve
Place the flour and ground almonds in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the butter, lemon zest, sugar and 3½ egg yolks to the well. Using your fingertips, work these ingredients together first until just combined, then gradually incorporate the flour and ground almonds until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a 24cm flan tin and sprinkle the sides of the tin with the flaked almonds.
Cut the dough in half. Lightly flour the dough, your hands and the rolling pin and roll each dough half out to a circle to fit the tin. Place one round of dough in the tin. Top with the blueberries, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Place the other round of dough on top. Mix the remaining ½ egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water and lightly brush over the top of the dough. Using a fork, mark a lattice pattern on top of the dough.
Bake the galette for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C and bake for a further 35 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch. Leave to cool before carefully turning out. Serve the galette with cream, ice cream or a fruit sauce.
PEARS BELLE HÉLÈNE
This is one of the first classic French desserts I learned to make during my chef’s apprenticeship in the Anjou region of France. The region is famous for its pears, and our back garden was ringed with at least ten pear trees. You can use canned pear halves as a short-cut.
> Serves: 6
½ vanilla pod, split lengthwise
½ lemon (optional)
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 litre Vanilla Ice Cream (see below or store‑bought)
100g flaked almonds, toasted, to serve
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
Combine 1.5 litres water, the sugar and vanilla pod in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Peel the pears. If they begin to discolour, rub them with the lemon half and place them in a bowl of cold water. Add the peeled pears to the simmering syrup and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for the pears to cool in the liquid.
Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool a little.
Drain the pears and place in a bowl with one or two scoops of ice cream. Spoon a little chocolate sauce over the top, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately.
VANILLA ICE CREAM
The best way to make this ice cream is to use an ice cream maker. If you use fresh, free range eggs, full-cream milk and a good-quality vanilla pod, the result is incomparable. You can halve the recipe if you wish.
> Serves: 2 Litres
1 litre full‑cream milk
1 vanilla pod
10 large egg yolks
310g caster (superfine) sugar
500ml cream, whipped until firm
Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the vanilla pod to the milk and bring to the boil.
Using electric beaters, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl for 8–10 minutes or until the mixture becomes lighter in colour and forms a ribbon. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture and continue whisking until well combined.
Return the mixture to the pan and, using a wooden spatula, stir thoroughly over medium heat. Make sure the spatula reaches all around the edges of the pan to prevent the custard from sticking. Stir for a few minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly and lightly coats the spatula. Don’t allow the custard to boil at any stage, as it will curdle. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl, stirring for a further 10 seconds.
Set aside to cool.
Gently stir the whipped cream into the cold custard.
Churn in an ice cream maker until set. Transfer the ice cream to a 2 litre mould, cover and store in the freezer. It keeps well for a week, but the fresher it is, the better it tastes.
STRAWBERRY SPONGE CAKE
When our children were young they always asked us to make this cake and we all still love it. The strawberries can be replaced with other berries or soft fruits and you can use a custard instead of whipped cream.
> Serves: 12-14
250g caster sugar
8 large eggs
250g plain flour, sifted
100g butter, just melted
600g strawberries, hulled
155g icing sugar
200ml cream, whipped until firm
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a 25cm round cake tin.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs for 10 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick ribbon.
Add the sifted flour all at once and, using a rubber spatula, fold it into the egg mixture, gently but quickly.
Mix in the melted butter, gently but quickly.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when lightly touched in the centre. Set aside for a few minutes before gently turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Mash two of the strawberries, then gradually stir in the icing sugar until the mixture has the consistency of icing.
Slice the remaining strawberries in half. Cut the sponge in half horizontally. Spread the bottom half with the whipped cream and top with two-thirds of the halved strawberries. Replace the top half of the cake and spread the icing over the top. Garnish with the remaining strawberry halves.