A wonderful sticky, sugar topped sweet bread that is flavoured with orange blossom water. Fouace is a very old traditional bread, the word originally referred to the oven in which bread has been cooked since ancient times, from the Latin word "focus" or hearth. This orange blossom scented bread is traditionally shaped in to a wreath or an oval and is from the Albi region in the South of France near Toulouse. As the bread bakes slowly, it spreads out as it rises, giving a very distinctive shape. It is served very hot and, depending on the version, may be topped with white beans, rillettes, salted butter or goat's cheese; however, I prefer this recipe served hot, spread with butter and a dollop of apricot conserve. (Recipe from the Gourmet Food site.)
- The night before.
- Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk.
- Arrange the flour in a bowl. In the centre place the whole eggs, sugar, salt, orange flower water and yeast-milk mixture. Gradually incorporate the flour with your hand, adding the softened butter little by little. When the dough is smooth, continue to knead for about 30 minutes - until bubbles form on the surface. This long kneading is essential for successful fouace. Let the dough rise overnight.
- The next day, form the dough into the desired shape: a wreath or oval; Place on a buttered baking sheet. Bake in a low oven, 125C/250F/Gas 1/2 for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven; brush the fouace with the topping mixture of beaten egg white and orange flower water. prinkle immediately with sugar so that it sticks to the crust.
- Serve hot or cold with butter, jam, cheese or meats/terrines.