Those pastries I love to bake at wintertime

By Sarah Levannier - January 30, 2014

Lemon and poppy seeds jam to refresh moods 

Winter in France, like in many other countries I guess, is given its tempo by pastries. It all starts with Christmas and the traditional “bûche de Noël” (Christmas log). The traditional recipe is a sponge cake filed with butter cream, something most people in my family dislike. That’s why we never have a regular bûche de Noël, but rather its ice-cream alternative or even some other cakes. 

Einkorn flour and dried blueberries pancakes to begin a cold day in a good mood

After Christmas, New Year’s Eve is also a great excuse for great deserts, ranging from “chouquettes” (a choux bun with sugar sprinkles on top) to “pieces montées” (a cake made with many choux buns filled with cream and assembled with caramel).

On January 3rd, we celebrate the “Galette des Rois” in remembrance of the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus Christ after His birth to bring Him presents. This year, I chose to bake mine using einkorn flour and almond flour. My purpose was to create a mix between the “Frangipane” (a pie made with puff pastry and almond cream) and the “Couronne briochée” (a brioche shaped in a crown, often seasoned with dried fruits and sugar sprinkles).

Orange and almond cream "brioche des rois"

After January, comes the “Chandeleur” in February, another French tradition during which we eat “crêpes” and drink apple cider. In the beginning, the “Chandeleur” was the celebration of light (it comes from the French word “Chandelle” which is a kind of candle) but it was soon replaced by the celebration of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. I’ve never celebrated its real meaning. France is not a very religion oriented country. What I mostly remember is eating “crêpes” and expecting my Mother to bake some more.

Winter breakfast also often means a nice “brioche” or some fresh croissants and “pains au chocolat” that some nice person will have picked at the bakery while getting the daily bread. I personally love Scandinavian saffron brioche (the famous “Lussekater” they eat on December 13th) since it’s a very light and savory cake.  Finally, I should say that Winter is all about comforting other people with sweet treats to chase the moods and forget the sad cold rainy days we experience.


 This year, I wanted my winter be fresh and enlightened to forget all of its sadness. Once Christmas and all the good memories it brings us are gone, there is nothing left but our daily routine and the diets we think we should stick to. So I came up with this lemon and poppy seeds marmalade recipe and some einkorn flour crêpes. The smile they brought on all my friends and family’s little faces were just enough to chase my winter mood and make me happy. I hope it makes you happy too.


Einkorn flour "crêpes" with lemon and poppy seeds marmalade

For 1 jar of lemon marmalade : 
 - 4 organic lemons
- Sugar
- Water
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1. Remove the zest of 2 of the lemons. Put them in a saucepan with a bit water and bring to boil. At first stock, remove the saucepan from the heat and rinse the zest with cold water. Set appart.

2. Put the 4 lemons in a saucepan with water (it has to cover them). Bring to boil and cook until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. When the lemons are cool enough to handle, halve them. Cut them in 4, remove the pips and the white part in the middle. Put the pips in a small piece of muslin and tie up with string. Put all of this in a saucepan, including any juices and weigh it. 

3. Add sugar (I added 1,5 times the weigh I measured but if you want a sweeter marmalade, you may add 2 or 3 times the weigh measured), the poppy seeds and 30 cL water. Bring this to boil. At first big stock, count 7 minutes until your marmalade is ready. Keep stirring the mixture during those 7 minutes. 

4. Remove the muslin bag, then gently stir in one direction to disperse any scum (small air bubbles on the surface). Pour the jam into a warm sterilised jar and seal straight away. 

For the "crêpes" : 
Serve 4 - 
- 250 g einkorn flour
- 3 eggs
- Half a liter milk
- 40 g sugar
- 4 g salt
- Rhum to taste

1. In a large bowl, stiff together the flour, the sugar and the salt. In another large bowl, beat together the eggs. Pour the eggs in the flour and add a bit of milk. Beat the mixture and add the rest of the milk little by little. Add the rhum and set the batter aside for about an hour or more.

2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and melt a little butter. Add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan and swirl until the bottom of the pan is covered with batter (you may had more or less batter depending if you like your crêpes thin or thick). Cook the crepe for 1 minute, or until the crepe is slightly moist on top and golden underneath. Loosen the edges of the crepe, slide the spatula under it, and then gently flip it upside down into the pan. Cook for 1 minute and transfer the cooked crepe to a plate to keep warm.

Don't worry if you fail the first crêpes, in France, most people say that the first crêpe is always the failed one! And it took me several times before I got to cook a correct crêpe!!

Once the crêpes are ready, you can spread some lemon and poppy seeds marmalade, roll them and eat them! You can also eat your crêpes with sugar, any jam you like or even salted caramel, a specialty from Brittany

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