Lasagne al forno

I recently read Gino D’Acampo’s family recipe for lasagne al forno, and was impressed by the similarity to my grandmother’s recipe which she passed down to me. This is hardly surprising when you consider the lack of variation in traditional recipes in Italy where the correct method is handed down from generation to generation as in the case of the D’Acampo or Marchiori families.

There are a couple of minor differences, mostly based on the fact that his family come from the south of Italy whereas mine come from the North. Northern Italy is sometimes referred to as l’Italia del burro (butter Italy) and the south as l’Italia dell’olio (olive oil Italy) because these ingredients were traditionally used as the fat in recipes. Nowadays, people use olive oil all over Italy for everyday cooking, because of the health benefits. But for special occasions, I use butter as my grandmother did for the ragù alla bolognese, (bolognese sauce) which forms the basis of lasagne al forno. Try it some time and I think you will agree the taste is completely different from when you use olive oil.

 

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Guest Post: Sabayon Cake

This week we are very excited to have a guest post here on Oh La Vache! It comes from Elizabeth, who is an incredibly talented and blogs at PressureCookerPros. When you read on you will discover why the blog is called that and you will be even more in awe of Elizabeth. We met via social media and I was so impressed with her recipes and writing that I invited her to supply a French-themed recipe for this blog. So, without further ado, here’s Elizabeth and her Sabayon Cake.

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Le Compiègne : LE MEILLEUR PÂTISSIER, TECHNICAL CHALLENGE 4

Mercotte gave us a right royal treat this week, le gateau de Compiègne, non other than the Emperor Napoleon’s wedding cake, invented by the first great pâtissier, Marie-Antoine Carême. In Carême’s day, cakes were really extravagant as the picture later in the post shows, so I wanted to really pay homage to him with the decoration and also make something fit for an Emperor’s wedding.

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L’Alcazar : LE MEILLEUR PÂTISSIER, TECHNICAL CHALLENGE 3

So for this week’s challenge, Mercotte took us off to sunny Spain for a cake known as the Alcazar. The word, which comes from the moorish word for palace, is used for several ancient and exotic palaces all over southern Spain. The cake itself, which is more of a tart really, consists of a sweet pastry case, filled with an apricot puree, topped with an almond filling, not too dissimilar to an apricot Bakewell tart. It was finished off with a lattice of almond paste, the holes of which were filled with more apricot, and topped off with jewel like pistachios.

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Le Russe: LE MEILLEUR PÂTISSIER, TECHNICAL CHALLENGE 2

So, week two of Le Meilleur Pâtissier came around soon enough and with it, the second technical challenge: Le Russe. Apparently, a ‘forgotten cake’ from the South-West of France, it was balloon whisks at dawn from the inhabitants of the village of Oloron Sainte-Marie who protested that it was not forgotten but alive and well … in Oloron Sainte-Marie at least.

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