verrine2I recently treated myself to the book on ‘Verrines’ by José Maréchal, having been extremely impressed when a friend produced a wonderful array of nibbles as we sipped our apéritifs – nibbles with a difference, delightfully served in tiny shot glasses, giving a variety of colours and textures, all delicately-layered into glasses. An artistic, creative and colourful way to serve starters and desserts too, I soon discovered… Verrines, from the French for ‘glass’, are the lastest French culinary trend. Great any time of year, you can invent and adapt using in-season produce, food from you cupboards and even leftovers from your fridge. Even some of you favourites can be adapted too: trifles, tiramisu,cheesecake… To be honest, we’ve been serving Prawn Cocktail as a verrine for decades!!

So, I’ve tried, tested and translated a few recipes, to give you an idea as to what they’re all about… Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can let your imagination work wonders and impress all in sundry with your own inventive verrines

Normandy Verrine – St. Jacques, Apple and Black Pudding
For 6 verrines (starter)

6 scallops – white part only
2 black puddings
2 apples
1 tablsp. brown sugar
10g butter
1 tablsp.olive oil
Salt and pepper

Peel, core and slice the apples
Melt butter with sugar, add apples and cook gently for 5 – 6 mins
Leave to cool

Peel the black puddings
Cook in a pan, stirring constantly for 2 – 3 mins
Place the pudding in the bottom of 6 whisky glasses
Put the apple purée on top
Leave to cool

Just before serving, fry the scallops in a little olive oil, for 1 minute on each side.
Reheat the verrines in a micro wave or in a bain marie and place a scallop on each verrine.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Teurgoule (Normandy Rice Puding) and Raspberry Verrine
For 6 verrines

Rice pudding/Teurgoule
250g raspberries
2 gelatine sheets
75g sugar

Buy some teurgoule at your local farmer’s market or in an épicerie fine… (Failing that, Ambrosia creamed rice would do the job).

Divide the rice between 6 whiskey glasses
Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft
Place the raspberries, the sugar and 2 tablsp. of water in a saucepan and heat gently
Add the gelatine and allow it to melt
Leave to cool

Once cooled, place the raspberry jelly on top of the rice and serve.

You could sprinkle some Sablés de Cotentin (Shortbread) over the finished verrine.

And now it’s entirely up to your imagination… Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be experimenting with all kinds of colours, flavours and textures to dazzle your family and friends.

The book, ‘Verrines’ by José Maréchal, published by Marabout is available online at Amazon.fr (only in French).

Bon Appétit!

Sinéad Allart

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