Faisselles a la confiture
Fromage blanc a la confiture is one of the simplest desserts there is and to my mind one on the most satisfying. The frequency with which one finds fancied up versions of Fromage blanc a la confiture on the menu at high end restaurants throughout France testifies to this dessert’s ability to evoke memories of childhood. Its like chocolate pudding for us…you just never grow out of it.
Consisting simply of fromage blanc served with seasonal jam, honey, or, in a pinch, with a spoonful of white sugar, the success of this dish is clearly dependent on the quality of the cheese and of the garnish.
On a recent visit to Lait P’tits Bearnais, an organic dairy outside Orthez, a container of faisselles caught my eye. Faisselles, like its cousin fromage blanc, is a simple, fresh cheese made by adding bacteriologic culture to fresh milk, waiting for the milk to curdle then draining some of the whey. Fromage blanc is often made using a mix of whole milk and cream, resulting in a higher fat content cheese that has a smoother, richer mouth feel. Faisselles is usually made with just whole milk, resulting in a slightly curdier cheese that has a slight acidic bite. Why not try using faisselles a la confiture?
As there is no AOC for faisselles (or for fromage blanc for that matter), the exact method for making it varies from dairy to dairy. At “Les Petits Bearnais”, whole milk is used. The fresh curds are scooped into perforated cups and sold while they are still draining. One arrives home with four cute little cheeses and half a cup of whey in the bottom of the container (I save the whey and add a little to dried beans or grains when soaking them before cooking. The extra action of the live culture makes them more digestible).
Having secured some good cheese, all that’s left is to select your jam. I picked one of the last jars of red muscat grape jam from a batch I made a few years back. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.