Friday, December 28, 2012

Pompette de Solliès

This year Brigitte introduced something new
to our traditional dessert platter, having gotten a new recipe recently from a woman she met in Solliès Ville in the Var. It is a pretty little village in the Cote d'Azur that is perched above the little town called Solliès Toucas where Loic and I were married 13 years ago.

These little cakes are addictive and delicious, perfect for people like me who are naturally drawn to savory things but seduced by all that is sweet. They have a distinctive gentle anise and olive flavor that I associate with our frequent visits to the south of France, and I have added them to my list of Christmas treats to make every year from now on.

Since these biscuits keep exceptionally well, they are perfect for including in gift boxes. The recipe that follows is for giving quantities. If you're making it for family only, you can easily divide it by two or three and get the same results.

Recipe: Pompette de Solliès

1.5 kg flour
750 g sugar
500 ml oil (neutral)
250 ml olive oil
60 g anise grains
1 bowl water, to soak the anise seeds
teaspoons of water, as needed to make the dough

Soak the anise seeds in cold water for 15 minutes. Put the flour, sugar, and the strained seeds in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the oils and work until it is a stiff dough. If the dough is not coming together, add water by the teaspoonful, to get the dough to stick together. Divide the dough into two parts, and roll it into snakes about 2 cm (an inch) thick. Cut lengths about 3 inches long (7 cm) and roll this dough out thinly. Cut into shapes and bake in a medium oven (180C/ 350F) until slightly browned around the edges. Cool and store in a tightly closed container.

Yield: 300 small biscuits


Blogger Unknown said...

What a charming recipe -- and perfect for some of my heart conscious relatives. I always think anise seed must taste like a Medieval Christmas.

5:45 PM, December 28, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Ann, this flavor reminds me of the warm light and rusted soil of the region. These biscuits are delightful, you must try them.

9:05 PM, December 28, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I adore anise and savory things too. I'm getting my anise seeds out to soak them...

5:21 AM, December 29, 2012  
Anonymous chaumama said...

Why do the seeds need to be soaked?

7:11 PM, December 31, 2012  
Blogger Penny said...

I love the simplicity of these biscuits. Happy New Year.

2:42 PM, January 05, 2013  
Anonymous lagatta à montréal said...

Hello, why do you have to use "neutral" oil?

These do sound lovely, and not too sweet (I am definitely a "savoury").

9:28 PM, January 06, 2013  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Very good question, Lagatta -- olive oil and various nut oils carry a distinct flavor that can overwhelm or throw the balance off in the flavor of a pastry if used full strength, although a certain volume of oil itself is necessary for the consistency of the dough and final baking result. Think of the olive oil in this recipe as a good strong flavoring agent, and when you bake this choose the very best olive oil you know, for flavor. Your neutral oil should be an oil that does not impart any flavor, the kind you keep in your cupboard, sunflower, peanut, or a mix that you've decided is a good oil that does not impart extra flavor.

10:00 PM, January 06, 2013  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Sorry, I forgot to answer Chaumama - this is also a very good question. I am testing the recipe both with soaked and unsoaked anise seeds. I have my theories but also want to provide you with a good answer about it.

10:43 PM, January 06, 2013  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Chaumama, the anise seeds are soaked even for that short time to get them to soften enough that they won't seem like hard bits in the biscuits. I have tested them with both soaked and unsoaked, and the soaking does make a difference in texture at the end.

8:56 PM, January 10, 2013  

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