“Evolution, Mama, Evolution, Mama,
Don’t you make a monkey out of me” as the song goes.
Some people learn by working their way from one end of a book like Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread”to the other. I’m not knocking this approach and it’s an excellent book but I tend to develop by stealing ideas from less learned sources and quirky bakers. So I’ve got piles of cheap French (yeasted) bread books, remaindered books like the “Prairie Home Breads”, weird books like “Flavored Breads” from Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe and I plunder them all.
Remember this one from a couple of years back?
The wonderfully weird Pear and Liquorice Fougasse. This started life in a little book I found in Nice called “Les meilleures Fougasses” by Benoit Molin. M. Molin used to work with Gaston Lanotre so I have him down more as a patissier or a chef than a baker but I’m not proud when it comes to stealing ideas.
If you looked at the previous post you will know that Chris came to do a microbakery course with me last week and one of the breads he wanted to try was this fougasse. Well, it involves getting powdered liquorice from the Chinese supermarket, a special dough and making lemon curd + a sort of pear jam and it’s really not worth it to make two fougasses in the middle of quite an intensive course. But Chris was interested in a fougasse with two layers only the top of which is slashed.
Which reminded me of this:
The baker with whom I most identify is Marc Brion who has Le Fournil des Boiens in Biganos on the Basin d’Arcachon not far from Bordeaux. He bakes the most fabulous rustic pains aux levain. But he also has a way with improvisation for using up bits of spare dough or seasonal fruits. The “pasty” looking object pictured he calls “Fougassette” and, no, it’s not slashed but it’s two-layered. It’s a light olive oil dough containing chopped olives folded over a dollop of tomato sauce with a couple of anchovies on top.
This is what I tried to recreate with Chris. The filling was just a smidgin of tomato sauce and a slice of chorizo – it’s a bread with a bit in the middle, not a pasty. What we did wrong was to make them too big – see photo on previous post. So, the following day Steffi next door was throwing a birthday party and I made batch two – one third the size: