I can say that when I first watched fouacé being made, it was a fascinating experience.
It is a locally made bread, not unlike pitta in appearance that these days is limited to artisan or home production, for those lucky enough to own a wood fired oven. It is never on the shelves in the boulangerie probably due to its very short life and the fact that it has to be eaten warm.
It has a very simple composition of the four staple bread making ingredients – flour, salt, yeast and water. It is easy to make and although it is cooked in France in wood fired ovens, it can be successfully be re-created at home, with a little imagination.
Served hot, they can be filled with almost anything, savoury or sweet.
500g white bread flour
2 tsp. dried yeast
1 tsp salt
250 ml warm water – you may need to add more depending on flour type. I used T65 French bread flour.
1. Place flour, yeast and salt into a bowl and mix together.
2. Slowly add the warm water and mix with a knife or fork to form a soft, pliable dough.
3. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for ten minutes.
4. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise. This usually takes about two hours, and it should be double its original size when ready.
5. Take the dough out and gently knead for another minute.
6. Cut the dough into 12 pieces.
7. Roll out the dough into saucer like shapes – no thicker than 1cm.
8. Pre -heat the oven to its maximum setting
9. Place either a terracotta tile or an upturned terracotta dish (note: the underside must not be glazed)
10. Heat up the tile or dish for at least 20 minutes until very hot.
11. Place some of the dough circles on the hot surface and bake for 5 minutes until browned.
12. The dough will rise leaving a pocket inside and should be split open when cooked to release the hot steam.
13. Fill with chosen filling and serve immediately.
One of my favourite fillings for fouacé is rilletes.
It is a type of paté that can be made from a meat or fish, which is sealed in its own fat as a method of preserving.
The recipe below is for pork rillettes.
1 kg of pork – a mixture of shoulder and belly – cut into small cubes
250g pork fat diced ( or pork dripping if you have it)
A few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, left whole and crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
A few whole white peppercorns
A small glass of white wine
A small glass of water – this can be adjusted to suit, so add half at the beginning and the rest half way through.
1. Place all the ingredients in a heavy based casserole pan
2. Place in a pre-heated oven on 150 degrees c.
3. Cook until the meat falls apart anything from 3-5 hours.
4. Check hourly during the cooking process – if the mixture seems dry, add some more water to keep moist.
5. To test the mixture to see if it is cooked through, try and pull a small piece of meat apart with 2 forks.
6. When cooked, remove the peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme sprigs
7. Pour the casserole contents into a colander, reserving the liquid.
8. Break the meat up with two forks so that it forms fine strands – do not put in a blender as it will not give the required consistency.
9. Place the meat into a clean terrine and strain the liquid over it – preferably through a fine sieve or muslin.
10. Cool immediately.
This will keep in a fridge for up to a week – longer if the fat seal on the top is left unbroken.
If you are unsure of your oven the mixture can be cooked over a slow flame in the top of the cooker.
There should be very little liquid at the end of the cooking time, consisting of liquid fat, as the wine and water should evaporate during the cooking time to keep the meat moist.