20 January 2014

Cheesy bacon-olive loaf

It's been a while since I've made or blogged about savory cakes (breads, really), which people in France like to serve at cocktail time, or l'heure de l'apéritif. That's the glass of wine or distilled spirits that people enjoy before dinner to stimulate their appetite.

Often the apéritif and accompanying foods can stand in for a full dinner when you want to do something informal and convivial. Here are a couple of examples: one with chicken and dried tomatoes, and another with ham and olives. A slightly more elaborate cake of the same kind is the « pounti » from the Auvergne region, made with prunes and Swiss chard.


This example is what's called a "quick bread" leavened not with baker's yeast but baking soda (bicarbonate de soude) or baking powder (levure chimique). It's simple to make and the cake or bread just rises in the oven rather than in a bowl for an hour or two before baking. You can add whatever flavor ingredients you want — in this case, I used half a cup each of cooked bacon, diced cheese, sliced pitted olives (green, black, or both), and diced roasted red pepper, along with black pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Here's a recipe for the bread itself that I posted last June. You need three cups of flour, a tablespoon of baking soda or powder, and a teaspoon of salt. Mix those together, adding all the other dry ingredients so that they get coated with flour. That will keep them from falling to the bottom of the bread as it bakes. By the way, chunks of cooked chicken breast or ham could replace the bacon.


In a separate bowl, mix together one egg, a cup of plain yogurt, and half a cup each of milk and sour cream (or crème fraîche). Add three tablespoons of olive oil. Then fold the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture. Don't over-mix it — the dough, which will be very thick, should just barely hold together. Spread and press it into a couple of oiled and floured loaf pans or a big bundt pan and bake it for 45 to 50 minutes in a medium oven (180ºC / 350ºF).

13 comments:

  1. It looks delicious!
    I have made savoury cakes before but had forgotten about them. Thanks for reminding me! It looks great done in a bundt pan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a giant savoury muffin! I love these "cakes" and the bundt tin is a great idea. How do you pronounce "cake" in French? P.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Pauline, cake is pronounced [keck], and it's masc. in gender. Un cake nowadays is a loaf-shaped sweet cake or savory bread. Originally, in France it was a kind of fruitcake with a small amount of raisins and candied fruit mixed into a yellow cake batter, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  4. BTW, un moule à cake is a loaf pan. At least that's what we call it in America.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A cake pan is called un moule à manqué.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks like fun to make.
    Speaking of pans, when we use the word terrine, I've been teaching my kids that it means loaf pan -- is it pretty interchangeable with moule à cake?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bonjour, Ken. I wouldn't need the glass of wine or distilled spirits to rev up my appetite for these delicious cakes...but I'd gladly accept it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A moule à manqué can be square or round. A moule à cake is always rectangular.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just got back from the grocery store. I'm making the Pounti later today using your recipe. As usual you have provided something new and interesting to try, thanks.

    -craig-

    ReplyDelete
  10. In AmEng, a cake pan can be round or square. In French, a terrine can be rectangular or oval-shaped.

    Craig, hope you enjoy making and eating the pounti cake.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm not a baker. What's the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yeah! That was awesome!

    -craig-

    ReplyDelete
  13. Baking soda is another name for bicarbonate of soda. It reacts with any acid (vinegar, sour milk, yogurt, lemon juice) and air bubbles are produced, making a dough or batter rise. If you don't use any acid liquid in the batter or dough, you use baking powder, which is baking soda plus an acid like cream of tartar. Adding water or any other liquid will cause the soda and cream of tartar to react together, producing bubbles. Since I made my cake with yogurt, I just used baking soda as the leavening agent.

    ReplyDelete

I've gone back to word verification, because there have been too many problems with both comment-moderation and registered-user-only Blogger schemes. Hope this works better...