Bonjour chers lecteurs,

I’ve never been to France for xmas, but David Lebovitz has–
“…Christmas is taken pretty seriously around here. It’s considered a close, family holiday and even though the big department stores have spectacular window displays, Christmas hasn’t been overtly commercialized and kids are content when la grande-mère hands them a bag of fresh clementines, and don’t throw tantrums if they don’t get the latest version of the impossible-to-get video game. At least in my French famille.”

Should you want to sneak some Calisson into your sweetie’s stocking, we’re open until Christmas Eve (10 am -4 pm), closed Christmas Day.

Laisse tomber la neige,

Catherine

If you can’t afford a trip to France, here’s some idées for the next best thing.

Sur la Table “Winter Dinner in France” cooking class
(school supplies: come to PG for your Gruyere, mustard & French butter)
River Valley Cheese “Artisan Cheese Making Classes”
(school supplies: come to PG for a slate cheese board to show off your creations, and French jams for cheese)
Farm Stay at the Gite, Monteillet Fromagerie
I stayed at Joan & Pierre-Louis’s lovely Gite in Dayton, WA for my birthday one year. It is a cheese-lovers dream as your fridge is stocked with fromage straight from the farm.
(school supplies: make sure to bring lots of French wine!)

DUCK FAT COOKIES

Sablés à la graisse de canard
from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, Recipe & Stories $28 (save $7!) 

Makes 45 to 50 cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (30g) dried currants or chopped dried cherries (Available next door at Spanish Table)
1 tablespoon Armagnac, Cognac, or brandy
6 tablespoons (85g) chilled duck fat
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/55g) salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cups (175g) all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

In a small saucepan, heat the currants over low heat with the liquor until the liquid is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a bowl, cream the duck fat, butter, and sugar on low speed just until well combined. Mix in the vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add it to the fat-butter-sugar mixture, stirring until the dough comes together. Then mix in the dried fruit pieces.

On a lightly floured countertop, knead the dough briefly until smooth. Shape it into a rectangle, and cut the dough in half lengthwise. Roll each piece of dough into a log 6 inches (15cm) long. (If the dried fruit makes the dough crumble a bit, stick your thumbs into any fissures to seal them, pressing the dough back together, then continue to roll it into cylinders.) Wrap each log in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to 2 months.)

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Slice the dough into 1/4-inch (.75cm) rounds and set them on the baking sheets, evenly spaced. Bake the cookies, rotating the bak- ing sheets midway through, for 12 minutes, until golden brown across the top. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheets until crisp. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

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