Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gibassié et Truffles au Chocolat

Another fun cooking class with Hélène!

This time we made Gibassié, a Provençal dessert traditional to Christmas.

There's a ton of tradition surrounding the Christmas meals and table decorations in Provence: there are three meals, at the second they eat a little bit of each of thirteen desserts, and  there are three candles and three tablecloths, one of which is removed/blown out after each meal, so by the last one there is one candle lit and one tablecloth.

Gibassié is one of the thirteen desserts, and it's a crumbly cookie (sort of like a hard scone) in a circle with the rays of the sun patterning the top.

It's a sort of sable dough made with star anise, orange blossom water, and olive oil, and it is so delicious. A ton of flavors that go well together, and I don't even usually like anise.

The other recipe we made is also traditional to Christmas: chocolate truffles. Kids love to make these, since there's plenty of rolling and coating involved.

You can make truffles by simply making a stiff ganache, but here there's an egg yolk, added sugar, and butter (we also added some Grand Marnier), which does not decrease the chocolate flavor (there's still a ton of chocolate) but does add a lovely soft texture and butteriness.

Ours was a bit grainy, but I think sifting the powdered sugar as we gradually added it would have helped with that, so I've changed the recipe accordingly.

Enjoy a Provençal Christmas, in July!



  • 500 g flour
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 15 cL (what is this system? That means half a cup plus two tablespoons) olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 3-4 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 3-4 tablespoons star anise seeds


  1. Mix the flour and sugar. Add the orange blossom water and olive oil and mix.
  2. Add the anise seeds, mix. The dough should start to come together like a sable cookie, if not, add some more orange blossom water. Then some more oil, adding both bit by bit until the dough just comes together.
  3. Form into a disk, and pierce the top like rays of sun into as many pieces as you have people who will be eating.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 20 minutes. Let cool, then cut on the rays (It will crumble. Let it.).

Truffles au Chocolat


  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 60 g icing/confectioners/powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon alcohol (optional)
  • 125 g (about) cocoa powder, for rolling
  1. Melt the chocolate over low heat in a single layer
  2. Add the butter, egg yolk, and cream, stirring to combine. Then, add the sugar, sifting into the bowl and mixing as you go to avoid lumps. Add alcohol and stir.
  3. Refrigerate filling for 2 hours.
  4. Roll into little balls, then roll in the cocoa powder (a "parisian scoop," or tiny melon baller, works great for this).
Recipes courtesy of Hélène Biesse.

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