Tofaye, the ultimate potato pot


Tofailles, tofaie, tofaye… whatever the name is the solid treat from the Lorraine Vosges mountain area. Ideal for cold or chilly days, so it was served year round in farms. They all made their own bacon surely.


It’s potatoes. Bacon. Onion. White wine. Some add this or that… And the main ingredient is time. Forget it hours on the wood (or induction) stove :


It’s so soft and nicely caramelized under.



A camelia bud, still Winter but blossom season is arriving…


Plombières cheese

The flavor of the Second Empire.

Summer 1858, this fun garden party… oh that would be a Mass. Well the rich and powerful of that time enjoyed refreshing stays in thermal villages. This one is Plombières-les-Bains. It is in a valley of the Vosges mountains, in Lorraine, in the North-East of France. There was Napoleon 3rd (who was the 2nd Napoleonator) there. Good for him. Be honest, they seemed to enjoy the day and you’d join them if you could. They are eating dessert aren’t they ?
And you want some, I’m sure…

The little cottage of Nap’ 3 is now a hotel.

Seriously, there were extremely important historic events at that moment. About 140 years later, with 100 merry friends, I was taken there by my history teacher that would take any pretext to make us miss the other classes and go to spend a day of Spring in the countryside. So we visited the historic spot of … no, no, I can’t tell you. That was top secret. If you want to know more browse about the “pact of Plombières”.
Well, we walked around the retro 19th century station thermale as carefree and unaware of the conspiracy, as were most of the guests.

Why I tell you that ? Because the recipe was born there at that moment. Or not. That doesn’t matter, they still had the delicious habit of creating or name recipes to commemorate future historic boring details.
The legend says ice-cream was invented there.

A la fin du XVIII° siècle, un glacier parisien, du nom de Tortoni, servait des entremets glacés préparés avec du lait d’amandes et des fruits confits qu’il faisait prendre dans des récipients en plomb. On les appelait “entremets plombière” (sans s). Leur consistance était plutôt proche des granités qui sont aujourd’hui à la mode que de la glace traditionnelle….
(en 1958) ….Le cuisinier de l’empereur décide de faire avec une préparation à base d’œufs battus dans du lait avec du sucre. Hélas, la crème “tourne” mais il ne veut pas, ou ne peut pas, recommencer. Il connait la technique de l’entremet glacé qu’il applique à cette crème en lui ajoutant l’alcool local, du kirsch en l’occurrence, avant de rebattre énergiquement.
Le dessert retrouve une consistance acceptable. Enrichi de fruits confits il est alors mis à glacer et sera très apprécié par les invités car la température est élevée cet été là.

Source (et texte complet)

Roughly, it says :

In 18th century, a Parisian patissier was making an almond milk and candied fruit granite style iced dessert “entremet plombière”. Then later in Plombieres (with a S), the Emperor’s cook was trying to make a raw custard with sugar, eggs and milk, but it didn’t turn well, so he stirred in the local alcohol Kirsch (cherry liquor), and followed the former recipe, freezing it and adding the fruits. The guests loved eating it on that hot day.

This is how *French* ice-cream is made now, with a custard base of egg and milk. Texture is smooth and lighter than with whipped cream. Also, that was the invention of the Plombières flavor for ice-cream and other desserts : Kirsch + candied/macerated fruits.

The text is from this site , where they interview the current chef of the Hotel Stanislas where the recipe was created.

These are sweetened dry fruits. The original was candied fruit, probably a little sweeter.

I added Kirsch. Let them a few days.

This is my Plombières mix.

Cream cheese. I’ve bought a big sausage of 1 kg, it tastes like shoe cream… well it’s cream cheese. That’s not good for someone used to French cheeses, but I can’t be so fussy here and it’s a good base.

Mixed the cheese and diced fruits. Taste gets better after 1 or 2 days.

Plombières cream cheese. And that’s more interesting… That makes a really delicious dessert cheese, with a nice retro flavor.

There is some mix left.
I have put my ice-cream maker bowl in the freezer. I’ll churn some glace Plombières someday…