I have just returned from a quick visit to see a couple of friends who live just over an hour away. We went on a lovely walk that took us to the top of a small “bastide” village which had brilliant views over the surrounding countryside. On the way there we passed some vines that were being harvested. It was quite unlike the more romantic “vendange” that I went to a couple of weeks ago where all the grapes were being picked by hand. By contrast these grapes were being picked by specially designed machine that drives over the vines and strips the grapes as it goes. It was quite impressive to watch from the road and extremely quick. One thing I did notice was how bashed the grapes were as evidenced by how much juice there was when the grapes were tipped into the back of a trailer.
I took a very small gift with me for my friends – some French biscuits known as Langue de Chat (Cat’s Tongue). The name of the biscuits might not sound the most attractive but I can assure you they are definitely worth trying as they are very simple and taste delicious! I first started making Langue de Chat biscuits after a neighbour came around with a box of them shortly after they moved to the area and I just had to give them a go. What I like about them is you can make a batch and then add different flavours to them. Over the last year I have made the following types; orange, almond, chocolate orange, vanilla, chocolate and various ones with slithers of almond on the top. Yesterday I divided the batter in half and made both almond and orange biscuits.
As I was making them, I made two very silly mistakes yesterday firstly, never turn your back on biscuits when they are cooking in the oven and secondly, don’t forget to turn the temperature of the oven down when you are using a fan oven. Consequently the first batch of the biscuits that went through the oven were slightly on the brown side, however I got the bake on the second batch right. All I can say is pay attention to the biscuits when they are in the oven.
Langue de Chat
- 4oz butter
- 8oz caster sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 8oz plain flour
- almond essence
- chopped almonds
- orange zest
- chocolate chips
- vanilla essence (chop and change the flavours as you wish)
- Preheat the oven to 200C fan and line several baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Place the sugar and butter in a bowl and cream them together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are at the soft peak stage.
- Add the egg whites to the butter and sugar mix.
- Fold in the flour carefully.
- Then add the flavour of your choice.
- Place the batter in a piping bag (I sometimes use a freezer bag which I cut the corner off).
- Pipe the batter in straight lines on to the prepared baking trays (note they do expand a little when they cook).
- Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes. (Make sure you keep an eye on them.)
- Once cooked place them on a cooling rack and leave them to cool down before eating them or placing them in a box to be given away as a gift.