Now that the cupcake has made a name for itself in France, and has been tweaked to suit the French palate by most of the bakers I know, the French have put their own twist on this American classic by serving up "cupcakes salés" or savory cupcakes. Most of the cupcakeries around town offer several varieties on lunchtime menus in addition to their sweet offerings.
I had never eaten a savory cake before coming to France and while intuitively it seems a bit odd, I can assure you that it's definitely a pleasant change of pace. I have an event coming up where they have asked me to prepare savory cupcakes alongside my regular sugary confections and so have been testing several recipes. I am not planning on offering these as a regular menu item though - this particular order was placed by one of my very regular customers for a corporate function.
I had a lot of success with this very simple gruyere and ham recipe yesterday and so wanted to share it with you. It was originally posted in Journal de Femmes on l'Internaute Magazine by Julia Boyer. I have made some small adaptations to the recipe. Funnily, while most of the sweet cupcakes I have eaten here tend towards the dry side (and it's no wonder given that most French people will tell you a cupcake is a "muffin with frosting") this savory cupcake is actually much moister than an American muffin which is probably what we would call it in the US.
Savory Cupcakes with Ham & Gruyere
Yield: 8 very large cupcakes
200 g all-purpose flour
8 tbsp milk
75 g melted butter
250 g gruyere or emmental cut in small cubes
300 g cubed ham
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp herbes de provence or parsley
1) Pre-heat oven to 170C degrees.
2) Sift the flour, baking powder, herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, milk and melted butter. Stir to mix.
3) Add in the cubed ham and cheese and mix to incorporate.
4) Divide batter into greased and floured, or lined, cupcake tin. Fill any empty holes about 2/3 full with water.
5) Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6) Serve warm.
We enjoyed these with a bowl of ginger carrot soup (I omit the lemon) and a side salad of mache.