The mystery of taste, or our Proust madeleines

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

We think we know the ingredients of a dish, but are we really sure that they are only those that we put in our recipe?

Have you ever wanted to reproduce the taste of this wonderful cake tasted on your birthday and kindly cooked by a friend? Or that of your mother's "unmissable" yogurt cake? However, you have carefully noted and rechecked the recipes, but nothing helps: neither the smooth fondant nor the sweetness that made your heart sing is found in what you are trying to redo in vain.

Let's be clear: reproducing, copying or redoing cannot exist in the kitchen. It just can't be, because the ingredients in a recipe can't reflect what actually makes up a dish. The alchemy necessary for its realization contains much more subtle elements that must be integrated if you want to cook in a full and lively way.

First of all, there is the emotional state in which you cook, which influences taste just as much as the desire to please. Then the weather outside also contributes to the flavors of a dish, then, when the meal is ready, the tasting continues with the way our guests receive it with sometimes radically different appreciations from one person to another. In other words: in addition to the visible ingredients, there is us, the weather and all the others, connected by that little extra that makes each dish a special moment.

Also, to better appreciate the interdependent reality of our cuisine and free ourselves from the reductive efficiency of recipes, let's not forget these subtle invisible ingredients, intangible, and savor each cooking as being the perfect recipe each time. And each culinary production as what should be, because it will perhaps become the Proust madeleine of others.

The clafoutis and its variations 

For all seasons, clafoutis is a great way to enhance fruit.
Basic framework: flour + oilseed powder + sugar + salt + spices + fat + milk + fruit.
Let's take the example of a clafoutis with wild blackberries:
For a 22 cm tart mold (4 ppl):
– 100 g of wheat flour T65 or small semi-complete spelled
– 30 g ground almonds
– 50 g unrefined blond cane sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
– ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
– 200 ml vegetable milk
– 3 tbsp neutral oil
– 2,5 tbsp of cashew nut puree
– 600 g blackberries

Mix all the dry ingredients then melt the wet ingredients, mix well. Mix dry and wet.
Place some of the fruit, rounded side down, in the bottom of the dish, place the pastry on top and sprinkle with the rest of the fruit so that they emerge from the pastry.
Bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.

Let's be clear: reproducing, copying or redoing cannot exist in the kitchen.

The variations 

– Fruits: red summer fruits as well as peaches, apricots, nectarines; figs, plums, mirabelle plums, plums, greengage plums in autumn, and pears in winter.
– Flours: if you are refractory to gluten, choose other flours (chickpeas, kokkoh, buckwheat), associated with cornstarch which is distributed between 70 g and 30 g.
– Spices: you can add orange blossom water, rose water, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric or bitter almond essence.
– Sugars: brown sugars, rice molasses, agave syrup or maple syrup.
And for a more "cake" atmosphere, just add a tbsp of baking soda + a tbsp of cider vinegar and emulsify the baking soda and vinegar in a tbsp then mix it with the dough.
– Oilseeds (walnuts): you can choose powdered hazelnuts instead of almonds, almond puree instead of cashews or hazelnut puree. Or only margarine, or even oil, will also work (we reduce by one case in this case).
– Milks: you can choose soy, rice or oats.
– Other blends: nectarine/kokoh + cornstarch/almond powder/oil + vanilla/orange blossom margarine. And also Mirabelle plums/buckwheat + cornstarch/almond powder/cashew puree/cinnamon.

Let your inspiration flow in the practice of your closet situation and get started if only for the pleasure of the surprise!


When you settle down in front of your clafoutis alone or in company, take a moment to let the smile of your heart rise to your lips and return to the appreciation of these fruits to which you have offered the opportunity to continue their life. and thank them for giving you this delicious moment of sharing.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

Leave comments