I have this peculiar habit, a quirk if you will. I somehow, chance upon the rarest of rare things through say Google, and I don’t sleep till I lay my hands on them. Well, okay, that is a bit of a stretch, but they are almost, always present in my mind, till I see them in front of my eyes. I categorize them as “rarest of rare” considering they aren’t easily available in India. These “things” I am referring to are predominantly related to food, perhaps an ingredient, or a kitchen gadget.
For instance, I had my friends bring me a bottle of Kirsch (cherry brandy) when they visited Europe. Having gone through an ordeal of recipes that struck a rather delicious image of scarlet-cherries steeping in Kirsch, I had to have it. Speaking of which, I also have amaretto and crème de menthe on my wish list; although I happened to find this fabulous recipe for homemade amaretto on shutterbean, who by the way, happens to be one of my favourite food bloggers – so do stop by her blog if you haven’t already. I have come to own my precious madeleine molds through one such unflinching quests and there will always be such never-ending quests in my journey as a baker.
Not so surprisingly, I am noticing that the same pattern is transpiring itself into my recipe-testing routine. I came across this lovely charlotte recipe that required biscuits Roses de Reims. After going through hours of research, I decided to make Roses de Reims. Charlotte somehow didn’t seem relevant anymore, some other time may be, now that I have had a crack at Roses de Reims.
What sounded like a perfume brand magically manifested into beautiful, bubblegum-pink, wafery looking biscuits when I looked it up. Like with most confectionaries in France, Rose de Reims, exclusive to Biscuits Fossier Company, dates back to as early as 1690. They were invented in the Champagne region of Reims and they are meant to be dipped in Champagne before consuming; that’s how the bygone kings had them. Till I can afford Champagne from Champagne, I think I will resort to dipping them in coffee, which is apparently permissible too.
The original recipe of Rose de Reims aka Champagne biscuits still remains a secret (well I am not surprised considering it hails from Champagne). So, there are all of 2-3 ostensibly reliable recipes on the net. Based on all the reading up, I worked out the permutation and combination, added some ingredients, knocked off a few, put on my superwoman apron and began the adventure, and what do you know? They taste pretty amazing. Are they the original Rose de Reims? Maybe not. But are they worthy of dipping in Champagne? Hell yes! And I love they look, sort of like pink pumice stones.
- 90 g all-purpose flour
- 45 g corn flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp orange extract/orange blossom water
- 1/2 tsp red food colouring
- Icing sugar, to sprinkle
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Fit a piping bag with a ½ inch plain tip.
- Using an electric beater beat the egg yolk and sugar until pale (2 minutes).
- Add food colouring, all the extracts and egg white and beat until the batter becomes a ribbon consistency (2-3 minutes).
- Sift the flours and baking powder into the batter. Fold gingerly using a rubber spatula. Do not over fold.
- Fill the piping bag with batter. Pipe finger-length biscuits (3 inches), like you would for an éclair. (See pic above). Leave 1 inch gap between the biscuits.
- Dust icing sugar over the piped biscuits and let it rest for 20 minutes (to form crust). Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- After 20 minutes, bake the biscuits for 15 minutes.
*Do not over bake them since you will lose out on the lovely pinkness, which is the very essence of these biscuits. These biscuits taste a lot better when dipped in coffee, milk, red wine or Champagne as opposed to having them individually.