Sweet Fougasse Recipe from Aigues Mortes, France
This fougasse recipe comes from the old fortified city of Aigues-Mortes in the Gard, a beautiful Southern France area. Often reserved for the holidays, enjoy this sweet, chewy bread all year-round. Serve fougasse with other pastries or enjoy it on its own for a satisfying treat! Book a cooking class, online or in-person, to discover more fabulous French recipes.
Fougasse d’Aigues Mortes
- 250 grams Flour
- 60 grams Sugar
- 3 eggs
- 25 grams Fresh Yeast (12.5 grams if using dry yeast)
- 1 tbsp Water to dilute yeast
- 1 Lemon for zest
- 125 grams Butter at room temperature
- 1 Egg Yolk for wash
- 2 tbsps Sugar
- 100 grams Butter
- 100 grams Sugar
- In a stand-up mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix salt, flour, and sugar.
- Dilute the yeast in the water, add it to the first mix, add the eggs and mix gently on low speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic and shiny.
- Add the room temperature butter, cut into small dice, mix well until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough, add the lemon zest, mix for another minute. Allow it to rest in the mixer bowl covered with a dish towel for one hour.
- Flatten the dough to remove some of the gas and make a nice ball. Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough and place it into a round baking ring of 20cm (8 inches) diameter on a baking pan with parchment paper. Let rise for 60 minutes. If you don’t have a baking ring, you can use a round baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- Turn your oven at 180ºc (375ºF), brush the top of the brioche with the egg yolk, add the sugar and bake for around 20 minutes.
- Melt butter and sugar on the stove and spread it on top of the brioche, and cook 10 more minutes
- Let rest on a cooling rack.
The History of Aigues Mortes
Aigues Mortes (Eaux Mortes or Dead Waters) is where King Louis IX chose to build a fortified presence in 1240. However, King Louis IX was not the first to construct near this marshland. Charlemagne beat him to it many years before when he had the Matafère Tower built, in 791, to protect local fishermen and workers. Intended for communication signalling, the Matafère Tower functioned like the hilltop towers in the Alpilles.
In the 13th century, the Kingdom of France suffered from geographical constraints. The feisty Kings of Aragon ruled the southwest in Languedoc-Roussillon (now Occitanie), and to the east, the Germanic Empire maintained a stronghold. King Louis’ strategy was to establish a port with ready access to the Mediterranean. Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Psalmody controlled the sparsely populated place that was chosen by the King. The few residents eked out rustic existences by fishing, hunting and small-scale salt production. At the time of construction, the Mediterranean reached the edge of Aigues Mortes, but eventually, the Rhône’s silt deposits blocked the sea access. Continue reading about this ancient fortress town on a marsh.