When Jean and I came back home a couple of months ago, we spent a fair bit of time in Bayonne in the Basque Country, in the southwest of France, near the Spanish border. That's where his family's from, and because Bayonne is home to so many world-class chocolate artisans, I always love going back there and stocking up on gourmet goodies.
One of my favourite pastry shops there is Lionel Raux (7 rue Bernardoux, 64100 Bayonne, www.patisserieraux.fr). Their cakes are to die for, they have a very chic macaron & chocolate bar upstairs, and they make over 30 different sorts of chocolate bars - you got the picture. But what really caught my eye was their really gorgeous range of "DIY" rice puddings, or "riz au lait" as we say in French.
Riz au lait (pronounced "ree-oh-leh") is the epitomy of the French grandmotherly dessert : simple, homely, comforting, sweet and creamy. It's one of my favourite desserts and immediately conjures up images of childhood bliss and summer holidays at my grandparents'.
About 10 different rice pudding pre-mixes are available at Lionel Raux, featuring all sorts of spices and ingredients. All have funny names as well, I always love a good sense of humour when comes to food and pastry. The one I've tried at home was "Miami Rice", with candied orange, cinnamon and sugar cane. Just divine!!
If you feel like making "riz au lait" at home, here's a recipe I really like from Cannelle & Vanille.
So tell me dear reader, what are the childhood recipes you're most nostalgic about?