No, Claude Monet didn’t bake these cookies himself–but possibly they were baked by his cook, Marguerite, and served at teatime late in the afternoon under the lime trees at Giverny. If only I had a time machine . . . He and his wife had visited England, and it’s there that he came to appreciate the custom of teatime. At home, Monet and his family and visitors enjoyed scones, fruit cake, and, according to legend, these almond cookies, called galettes nantais.
Monet certainly was interested in eating well, and kept menus and cooking journals, journals that were the basis for “Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet,” by Claire Joyes, wife of Madame Monet’s great-grandson, which is where I found this recipe.
Almost forgot–in researching this post, I ran across a snippet of film, from 1915, showing Monet painting. Kind of amazing.
Almond Cookies (Galettes nantais)
chopped almonds and sugar for topping the cookies
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the flour, powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Add the butter, ground almonds, lemon rind and eggs. Mix well. When the dough is smooth, roll it out on a floured work surface. Cut into circles with a cookie cutter, and transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the bottoms are golden.
Baking notes: I made a few tweaks to this recipe, including adding salt and decreasing the flour. The recipe was a bit vague as to cookie size, so I used a 2-3/4″ round cutter, and rolled the dough out to a 1/4″ thickness.
The montage below shows the freshly-grated lemon peel, the finished dough, and what the cookies looked like before baking.
The cookies are nice but plain and seem to call to be served with something tangy and fresh, so I made up a plate of sliced oranges. See below for the how to’s. I peeled two naval oranges, pared off the whitish surface (not sure what to call it) of the peeled oranges, and sliced them crosswise. They can be drizzled with orange liqueur, if desired.
Birds. Sometimes I feel like they save my life in this crazy world, they are so beautiful. Peace to you. Fran