From an old notebook of mine:
“How NOT to take a nap: Do not fall asleep on sofa with no trousers, oversleep and wake up at 11.30pm.”
“Call my restaurant PUDDING.”
“Playing the matchbox game – Chef grumbles.”
Sometimes I am grateful to my past self. (As for preparing nutritious meals and freezing half for later.) Sometimes my past self is wiser than I am. Sometimes I totally disagree.
In this case, my present self still fails at taking relaxing naps, does not want a restaurant AT ALL never mind one with a silly name; and only barely remembers the “matchbox game”. I believe it comes from a Monty Python sketch and subsequent dinner-table conversations with my parents, wherein they laughingly try to outdo each other for the most miserable childhood.
“…We grew up in a shoebox…. You were lucky, we only had a matchbox AND we had to eat gravel for dinner…. Dinner? Lucky! We….” etc
One note says: “Talmouses: favourite dish of Louis XI, 1461-1483: tricornes of puff pastry, brie, fromage blanc and egg.”
What? Where did that come from? What a silly name. Tall Mouses. Mice. Mices. Shaped like pirate hats?
Is it worth trying?
We have puff pastry in the fridge! And cheese and eggs. Perfect. Lunch it is.
Post-prandial verdict: they were super delicious. Cute triangles of crisp pastry and melted cheese, what’s not to like? With a hint of spice and chili. Flatmate agrees, Louis XI had good taste.
Talmouses au fromage
Adapted from Elle – I basically just upped the cheese content. Excellent for using up the leftovers of that smelly cheese that is perfuming your fridge.
Makes 40-ish mini-pastries: enough for hors d’oeuvres for 6-8 or a light lunch with salad for 4
50 g butter
50 g flour
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
pinch nutmeg or cinnamon
pinch chili flakes
180g cheeses, preferably some strong (mature camembert) and some melty (gruyere, emmental), grated or chopped
2 packets (550g total) all-butter, ready rolled, puff pastry
Heat oven to 200C. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Tip out into a mug or jar. Add the butter and flour to the same saucepan. Make a roux: keep stirring over a medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the paste is golden, smells a little nutty. Off the heat, add the hot milk a little at a time, whisking in between. Heat gently again, still whisking. (This makes a weirdly thick bechamel sauce, so I just heated it for a minute or two and then it clumped together.) Off the heat, add the egg yolks, cheese and salt/pepper/nutmeg/chili. Taste. It shouldn’t need much salt because of the cheese.
Cut out 7-8cm circles from the puff pastry. (You should get 30 or so the first time around.) Brush with a little water around the edges. Dollop a generous teaspoon of cheese mix in the middle of each and pinch the edges to make three corners. Firmly pinch the sides together up to the middle, leaving a 2cm gap open in the centre.
Roll out the scraps of pastry and stamp more circles. (You should be able to make 10 more.) Repeat.
If making ahead of time, brush pastry with a bit of egg yolk so it doesn’t dry out, clingfilm and refrigerate. They are nicest served straight from the oven.
Bake talmouses for 15-20 minutes at 200C. When the pastry is lightly brown and the cheese bubbling, they are done. Serve immediately.
Works as a snack with drinks, or for lunch with boiled eggs and a bitter salad (endive or rocket, cucumber, mache and a sharp dressing).