Feeling  a lot of sympathy for my family back in France Grinning from ear to ear after our second barbecue of the day whilst the Frenchies from Lyon and around watch the endless rain (No offence, but it's only just that we sometimes get the better weather..I HAD told my mum and dad to pick up a flight ticket and come over for the week end after all), we have spent most of the day cleaning and clearing our jungle garden after 2 weeks away. Getting there slowly and surely.

Stopped for a quick lunch of melon, home cooked (but not made) cheeseburger and green salad before ploughing on...

5pm: quick change of activity; the kids are having dinner, linguine with tomato sauce, mushrooms and gruyere followed by plain oghurt mixed with sweet chestnut purée...yummmm!. 

I, on the other end, am attempting to reproduce my dad's "tarte aux pralines", a sweet and pink tart made with pralines, a speciality from Perouges, a little medieval village not far from my home town village. Whilst watching the 2 little devils trying to redecorate the kitchen with pasta.

Pralines, as explained in Wikepedia, are whole almonds individually coated in caramelized sugar. Originally invented in France at the Chateau of Vaux-Le-Vicomte by the cook of the 17th century sugar industrialist, Praslin. The powder made by grinding up those coated nuts is called pralin or praliné.

They look like this:

I brought some back with me last time I went home. Not actually sure if/where you can buy them in the UK? But if you are interested, let me know and I'll do some research for you :)

Anyway, the principle of this tart is to mix ground pralines with creme fraiche and bake in a shortcrust pastry for anything from 20 to 40 minutes...It makes a reddish pink toffee filling in the end, really yummy. But beware, you must watch it like a hawk: If it cooks too long you'll only be left with pastry and a sticky and very thin reddish paste.

Here's the recipe:


shortcrust pastry:
250g plain flour
5g salt
1 egg yolk 125 soft butter
abotu 2 tablespoon cold water

Mix the salt and flour.
Make a well in the middle of the flour
Drop the butter and egg yolk in the center of the well and mix together before starting mixing with the flour
Add the cold water once you get a crumbly mixture.
try to work the dough as little as possible.
Roll between 2 sheets of cling film and place in a tart case that you've already buttered and floured
Prick with a fork
Place in the freezer for 20 minutes or the fridge for 1 hour, covered with cling film

The filling
For a 24 cms tart case
250 g pralines
300g of creme fraiche (I find using same quantity of each is a bit too sweet for me, but feel free to find the combination that works for you)

Pour the pralines in a blender and chop to a thin...ish consistency ( not like ground almonds, just a rough powder)
Pour in a large bowl, add the creme fraiche and mix well

Take your pastry out of the fridge/freezer
Srunch 1 or several pieces of foil lengthway like that:

Place the pieces of foil around the base of the pastry to avoid it raising when cooking (or use greaseproof paper and beans of any sort/rice... ) 
Bake the pastry blind for 10 minutes at 180g
Let the pastry cool down
Pour the mixture in the pastry case and bake for a further 20 to 40 minutes at 180g

Here's the final result, NOT as good looking as the one my dad makes but hopefully OK for a first attempt?


Let's see what everyone thinks of it tomorrow....