Happy Easter! This year, the Wells family was overwhelmed by the happy memories of last year’s Easter holidays spent in France with some very good friends. We had a fabulous time back then, and we felt a little sad not being able to be there this year. But hey, if the prophet won’t come to the mountain, the mountain will move… or something like that. So we imported a little piece of France to our very own home, and I’m not only talking about brie, baguette, and wine. I’m talking a traditional French Easter lunch, the Pâté de Pâques. Our cooking was experimental and slapdash if truth be told, but the results were stunning and were gobbled up by adults and children alike. Here’s how we did it.
T Minus One Day. Hard boil four eggs.
One. Mush up (with your bare hands, if you fancy) the meat. This involves a pound of minced beef, a lesser quantity of pork sausage meat, liberal amounts of rosemary, thyme, coriander, parsley, salt, pepper and any other seasoning you might fancy. Oh, and you also need to mix together and mush in with the meat two eggs and about 60g of creme fraiche (or cream, if you fancy it really rich!).
Two. Ready the pastry. And yes, you can use the shop bought stuff. You don’t think I got up at six to make the puff pastry from scratch? Psssst…. I got two handy packs of ready-rolled puff pastry.
Three. Lay out the “Pâté” in two long strips. Spread the meat mixture on the pastry, then distribute your eggs in a line, top with meat mixture, and finish off with another layer of puff pastry. Remember to make the top strip of pastry slightly wider than the bottom strip. Paint the edges of the pastry with milk to make a good seal when you squish the edges together. Brush with egg yolk.
Four. Add a touch of Titanic. Make a few slits across the top and add rolled up tubes of baking paper as a “chimney” to allow excess steam to escape while cooking.
Five. Bake. Put your French Easter lunch in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees (Celsius) for 30 to 40 minutes. Remember to turn the tray around once or twice if your oven cooks slightly unevenly like ours.
Six. Enjoy with a crisp green salad and a nice glass of white.
Happy Easter! Have you got a favourite “foreign” dish or tradition that you like to carry out at Easter?