Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday are two occasions to enjoy Provencal recipes: Bugnes (Angel Wings), Carnival Fritters and Pancakes.
In our families, Candlemas marks the end of the Christmas celebrations and has thus become the time to take down the nativity scenes set up two months earlier.
Occurring forty days after the birth of Baby Jesus, Candlemas celebrates the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Jesus at the temple.
In Provence, the tradition is to go and have a candle blessed, before returning home with the lit candle. The candle going out beforehand is a catastrophic omen. Once the candle is in the home, the mistress of the house makes the sign of the cross with the candle in front of every door or window, to protect the house from lightning, and several years ago, to make a future childbirth easier.
On Shrove Tuesday, we celebrate the end of the “seven days of gorging” (formerly known as the “carnal days”). Shrove Tuesday is followed by Ash Wednesday and Lent, a period in which we must eat meagrely and abstain from meat.
So, it’s pancake time. When making the first one, you hold a coin in one hand, and toss the pancake with the other. The coin is then placed within the pancake that you’re rolling up, and this first pancake is put in a safe place until the next Candlemas. The previous year’s pancake is thrown away, and the coin given to the poor.
My poached pear and chocolate winter pancake recipe:
– 500 ml full cream milk
– 250 g plain flour
– 4 eggs
– 50 g sugar
– 40 g salted butter
Melt the butter.
Mix all the ingredients until the batter is creamy and smooth.
Then leave the batter to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
Make fairly thin pancakes in a non-stick pan about 25 cm in diameter.
– 4 ripe, but firm pears
– 250 g sugar
– 1 vanilla pod
– 150 g dark chocolate
– 150 ml single cream
Bring 1 litre of water to the boil, with the sugar and the split vanilla pod and boil for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving them whole and retaining the stalk. Plunge them into the syrup, cover and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup.
Bring the cream to the boil, remove from the heat and add the chocolate cut into small squares. Mix until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is nice and smooth.
Drain the pears, place them on the pancakes, cover with the hot chocolate sauce and serve immediately.
In Provence, Candlemas is the time for the famous St Victor Navettes, named after the St Victor Abbey in Marseilles, where green church candles are blessed on Candlemas. Shaped like a boat, these biscuits represent the arrival on our shores of the Saint Marys who bought the Gospel to us.
Text : http://www.notreprovence.fr/tradition_chandeleur.php