We all know the significance of Easter on the Christian calendar, but it is also a culinary highlight! In France, in addition to the traditional egg hunt, Easter is an occasion when everyone celebrates the return of spring, with a Sunday lunch featuring lamb, green salad and vegetables, and you guessed it, chocolate. Why not do the same? There’s nothing to it! Simply follow our guide to enjoy an Easter feast for 6...
The day before, start by making a chocolate shortcrust pastry. Mix 100 g (3.5 oz) of flour, 10 g (0.35 oz) of cocoa, 10 g (0.35 oz) of almond flour, a pinch of salt and 40 g (1.4 oz) of confectioners’ sugar. Next, add 60 g (2.1 oz) of butter cut in small cubes, and massage it with your fingertips to create a sandy texture. Bind the mixture with 25 ml (3.5 fl oz) of milk. Leave to rest for 1 hour, roll out, bake at 180°C (350°F) for 25 minutes and set aside. Now it’s time for the chocolate cream! Mix an egg, 3 teaspoons of cornstarch, 50 g (1.8 oz) of sugar and finally, 50 cl (17.9 fl oz) of boiling milk, whisking vigorously. Cook the mixture over a very low heat until it thickens, and then incorporate 150 g (5.3 oz) of chocolate chopped into pieces.
Place in the refrigerator to set. You will also need to prepare a chocolate mousse to go into a piping bag (see existing recipe). On the day, line the base of your tart with chocolate cream. You’ll have no trouble finding a volunteer to pipe the mousse beautifully on top – assuming there is any left - and dust the tart with cocoa powder…
Confit lamb shoulder with a green salad
On to the main event! Still the day before, prepare some pickled rhubarb by placing 100 g (3.5 oz) of stalks cut into batons in a jar and covering them with a preparation of 10 cl (3.4 fl oz) of cider vinegar, the same quantity of water, 30 g (1.1 oz) of sugar and 7 g (0.2 oz) of salt brought to a boil, with a chopped red onion and a star anise.
Before going to bed that evening, rub a shoulder of lamb (from Lozère or Aveyron, or salt marsh lamb from Normandy) with chopped garlic. Place in a roasting pan, on a bed of sliced onion and carrot, salt, pepper and whichever flavorsome herbs take your fancy: thyme, rosemary, oregano, savory, etc.
Cover with foil and leave to rest at room temperature. Who’s up for putting everything in the oven at around 8 o’clock the next morning? First for 30 min. at 190°C (375°F), then for 4 hrs. at 150°C (300°F), and finally for another 30 min. at 150°C (300°F) with the foil removed. While the meat is cooking, make a super-green salad with the best leaves from the market, such as arugula, cress, mizuna, and dandelion.
Don’t forget some raw peas and beans (blanched for 2 min. to remove the little skins) and your pickled rhubarb.
A crunchy addition: kale leaves drizzled with oil, sprinkled with ras-el-hanout and popped in the oven for 10 min. at 180°C (350°F).
As for the vinaigrette? Combine the zest and juice of a lemon, mustard, a hint of garlic, toasted hazelnuts and new olive oil. And you’re done!
Green eggs mimosa
For this starter, you need to hard-boil 6 to 9 free-range eggs (9 min.), shell them, halve them and carefully remove the yolks with a small spoon, without damaging the whites.
Anyone can do it! Next, mix 3/4 of the yolks with my homemade mayonnaise (see the recipe) and add a green puree.
To make the puree, immerse a handful of leaves (such as baby spinach and cress) in boiling water for 3 min., cool right away in ice water, mix and pass through a food mill.
To serve, dab small amounts of mayonnaise onto the serving plate to hold the egg halves in place, stuffed with your green puree.
Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley, chervil, tarragon, capers (or pickles), and the remaining 1/4 of the egg yolks, passed through a food mill to create the “mimosa” effect of these French-style deviled eggs. Magic! Whoever saw such a beautifully set table?