Simone looks after her grandchildren during next holidays. She has planned what to do with them. Imagine that close to the Carnival date, she will make them discover her recipe of the “Oreilettes”. The famous recipe that she inherited from her mother who inherited from hers … Here we go!
“Lucie, Guilhem, Johan, Aline!? Are you coming?” “Yes we are!”. The quartet bursts into grannie Simone’s kitchen this morning. Orders come from all sides: wear your apron, wash your hands. Each one received a relic to be equipped. Grannie’s aprons are very sixties and seventies, the era when bright colours were fashionable. The tablecloth has been removed to give way to cooking ustensils and ingredients: flour, butter, vanilla sugar, salad bowl, spatula… Children don’t look really enthousiastic but the idea of tasting the famous Grannie’s Oreillettes changes the game.
Simone orchestrates the group. Each of them has his sheet music to play. Lucie, 10 years old, is responsible of the weighings. A little “a bisto de nas” (approximately in occitan), it has to be said. She removes the orange and the lemon zest with an old grater. The small Aline with her 5 years old is responsible for dry ingredients. The little blonde girl pours the flour, the yeast, the vanilla sugar in a big salad bowl, standing on her chair. The look determined, the tongue between the teeth, no gramme falls on the table. Grandma hands over the whisk to stir this monochrome white. Aline is so proud.
Johan, 7 years old, adds the quite yellow eggs from the henhouse in the hole from his running board. The opening of the eggs was rather with losses and crashes but with no shell in the bowl! Johan is mixing it all up but the task is difficult. Grannie comes to his rescue and brandishes the whisk with the “pichon” (pronounce pitchoun = little boy). Next step: the butter and the milk. Too easy!
Hands on deck
“Guilhem, that’s your turn!”. At the age of 9, he kneads the yellowish dough with enthousiasm. He adds the rhum and the zests. Guilhem gets tired. That’s harder than playing videogames! The dough is perfect: flexible, smooth and non-sticky. The time of the rest has come but not only for the dough. A rag on the salad bowl and voila. The cooks team dressed in short panties seems delighted. The flour less. It flies over the kitchen! Even Grannie is going for it. Finally, Grannie’s hair is not the only one to be white.
After resting the time of the lunch, the dough experiences a sturdy moment. Children gather around the light wooden table. Each of them has a silicone cooking mat, a roll and a knife. The work plans are floured. Simone deposits a piece of dough in front of each kid. It receives a shock treatment: stretched, lowered, flattened, laminated… up to 1-2 milimeters thick specified by Grandma. Then, the quartet strives to cut rectangles (10cm x15cm).
Lucie and Guilhem are in charge of frying the “Oreillettes”. Simone places the rectangles in the oil bath progressively. Future Oreilettes begin to brown and blister. 2 Minutes on each side, no more. The beautiful golden colour and the bumpy surface of theses typical doughnut is being revealed. A skimmer allows the children to remove the oreillettes from their bath. Drying on a paper towel. Finally, the last step is entrusted to the smallest. They sprinkle the culinary treasures with sugar. The word buried would be more appropiate. The kitchen is fragrant with grandma's good Oreillettes. Enjoy your meal!
To make good oreillettes you need:
- 1kg of flour
- 125 g of melted butter
- 6 eggs
- ½ glass of milk
- 2 pouchez of vanilla sugar
- 1 pouch of yeast
- 1 glass of rhum
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 orange et 1 lemon
- Oil for the frying
In a Saladbowl, pour the dry ingredients (flour, salt, yeast, sugar) and mix them. Form a hole in the middle. Add the eggs one-to-one and knead the dough. Add the melted butter and the milk, then, mix it. Knead properly and pour the rhum and the zests. Knead again till the dough is smooth, flexible and non-sticky. It has to rest for almost an hour. Cut the dough into pieces. Spread them as finely as possible (1-2mm) on the beforehand floured work plan. Cut rectangles, generally of 10cm x 15cm. Plunge the future Oreillettes in a fryer filled with simmering oil (sunflower or peanut). Just brown them 2 minutes on each side. Deposit them progressively on a paper towel. Once dried, sprinkle them with sugar.
The whole story
Oreillette is a kind of donut with a fine golden and crunchy dough sprinkled with sugar. It is generally prepared for carnival days. This feast of abundance precedes Ash Wednesday when starts Lent, the period of Christian fasting which leads to Easter. Oreillettes are also cooked on the occasion of family celebrations, of fairs or lottery…
The origin of this recipe is unknown but the word “aurelhetas” (pronounced owreyetos), means pieces of fried dough since the end of the 15th century. The frenchified word “Oreillettes” is testified in 1802 in Languedoc.