Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Cooking in Les Arcs - Part 2

A meal from the cookery class. Photo: Curt Dennison
Last month I wrote about my friend, Karen, who will be running cooking classes in Les Arcs-sur-Argens in March and April next year.

Karen is a qualified chef who runs her own restaurant, The Eagle’s Nest, in Missouri, USA.

Her Scandinavian grandfather, Axel Blumensaadt, trained with one of France’s leading chefs, Auguste Escoffier, in the late 1800s.

For her classes in Les Arcs, Karen combines her grandfather’s recipes with modern French cuisine and although I've not done a class, I have enjoyed Karen’s delicious food. One of our most memorable luncheons began at midday and didn’t end until after 8pm!
The Guard House next to the clock tower.

Karen has let me know that she has a couple of places still available in April.

Her classes are intimate affairs – just two people at a time – and run from a Saturday to Saturday. Karen will collect you from Nice or Les Arcs' station and you will stay with her at the Guard House beside Les Arcs’ medieval clock tower.

Mornings are spent shopping and cooking and on free afternoons, Karen will take you sightseeing, to markets, local wineries and an olive mill. It also includes lunch at La Terrasse restaurant and a final meal at the award-winning Logis du Guetteur restaurant in the château high above the town.

‘The classes are tailored to the couple and so is the sight-seeing,’ Karen says.

Just the second and fourth weeks of April are still available, so if anyone is interested, please contact me and I will pass on Karen’s details.
Tarte au Citron. Photo: Curt Dennison

One of Karen's favourite desserts - and mine too - is the Tarte au Citron. As she says, ‘It is light and refreshing any time of the year and settles the stomach after a heavy meal or hits the spot after a light meal of salad and cheese’.

This recipe is from her book, A Culinary Legacy: from Escoffier to Today, written with Max Callegari, executive chef at the Logis du Guetteur.

Tarte au Citron
A prepared sweet pastry crust
4 eggs
1 cup superfine sugar
½ cup soft unsalted butter
5 tablespoons heavy cream (I used plain yogurt and it was delicious)
Juice of 4 lemons
Zest of 3 lemons and zest strips from the other for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 190’C.
Roll out pastry and line tart pan, pressing into the crimps around the edges. Cover with baking paper and fill with baking beads or dried beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove beads, lower temperature to 160'C and bake a further 5 minutes to dry crust base.
Mix butter and sugar together, add cream and blend well. Add eggs one at a time, and again blend well.
Add juice and lemon zest, blend together, then pour mixture into the tart crust.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is set and looks slightly bumpy. Cool completely before cutting or refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Place lemon zest strips in iced water to gently curl and drain on paper towels before garnishing the top of the cooled tart.

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