What's happened to rec.food.historic?

Elizabeth Pruyn skolmarm at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 22 08:54:08 EST 1998

In article <6p185a$le$1 at nnrp1.dejanews.com>, dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:

Hi there,
> >
> > The only other movie I can think of that showed real food was
"Babette's Feast"
> > a wonderful little foreign film that's about this woman who wins big in a
> > lottery (I'm not sure when, but not current-day) , and spends it all
> > one last magnificent dinner. I remember quail stuffed with truffles and foie
> > gras,and some kind of  turtle soup, and incredible desserts.Something
was made
> > in the shape of swans...  It takes her days to plan and create this
> > and she then serves it to these country folk she lives with....
> >

I saved this post from several years ago. I knew it would come in handy someday!


On 14 Oct 1995, Robert Doubleday wrote:

> Can anyone tell me where I can find these recipes?  After seeing the movie
> recently I NEED to try some of them.
> Robert

This was posted last year.

From: mprats at OCF.Berkeley.EDU (Mario Prats)

Well, I did some research and found an article from the New York Times
(the advantage of working in a library :)) that includes some recipes from
"Babette's feast". Here is an excerpt from the article, which appeared on
Wednesday March 2, 1988, by Florence Fabricant:

"...The meal consists of limpid turtle soup laced with Madeira, blinis
Demidoff with caviar, quails en sarcophage (stuffed with foie gras and
truffles in puff-pastry cases), a salad, cheeses, tropical fruits and a
glistening baba au rhum, all accompanied by Champagne and fine wine.

..."I felt as though I was transcending the ingredients and performing
a sacred act," said Stephane Audran, who plays Babette.

The actress loves to cook. "It may not have been absolutely necessary for 
the part, but it made it esier to do the cooking on the screen with
authority," she said. "More important was that the director, Gabriel Axel,
is a lover of fine food and could translate the passion to the screen."

Except for the finishing touches that Miss Audran tackled on screen, the
food for the film was prepared by La Cocotte, a restaurant in Copenhagen.
Jan Pedersen, the chef, and two assistants spent two weeks on the set.
Because of reshooting, they had to prepare 148 quails for the dinner to
serve 12. The film makers spent $8,000 on the food.

...Some of the wine and spirits - Amontillado, Veuve Clicquot Champagne in
magnums and Hine Cognac - are widely sold. But obtaining the red wine, Clos
Vougeot Louis Latour, posed a problem...  and not because the film was
1845; even the most recent vintage, 1983, is scarce.

...Mr Axel, the director, said the only bottles containing real wine in the
film were the ones that Miss Audran was taking swigs from while cooking. 
"She insisted on it, saying she was not a good enough actress to pretend
with apple juice, he said."

With the luxury ingredients and wines, preparing the dinner at home for
eight people is expensive, around $200 for the food and $150 for the wine."


Prep time: 3 hours including rising
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1/2 cake fresh yeast or 1/2 packet dry
1 cup warm milk
1-1/2 cups sifted flour
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
4 ounces sevruga caiar, or more if desired
1.      In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in milk. Beat in 1 cup of the flour
until mixture is smooth. Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm place
to rise for 2 hours.
2.      Punch down and stir in egg yolks, cream and remaining 1/2 cup
flour. Add salt, then fold in egg whites. Cover again and set aside to rise
for 30 to 40 minutes, until light and spongy.
3.      Place a large skillet or a griddle over medium high heat and add
butter. Using a tablespoon, form 3-inch blinis (pancakes) with the batter.
Add blinis a few at a time to skillet. Cook until golden on one side, then
turn to cook on the other side. As the blinis are done, remove them to a
heat-proof platter or baking sheet and keep warm.
4.      To serve, arrange 3 to 4 blinis on each plate and top with some of
the creme fraiche and caviar.
Yield : 8 servings


Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes, in stages
1 lb homemade or thawed frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water
8 quails, boned (except for legs and wings), with bones reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Cognac
2 ounces black truffles, minced
8 ounces goose foie gras, preferably fresh (but not raw)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 shallots, minced
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups homemade or good quality frozen brown stock
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons white wine
8 perfect large mushroom caps
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment
paper or foil.
2.      Roll pastry on a lightly floured board to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut 8
ovals, 4 inches wide and 5 inches long. Prick with tines of a fork. Brush
with egg yolk and water mixture.
3.      Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from oven
and set aside on a rack to cool. When ovals have cooled, use a sharp knife
to cut down into the pastry, within a half inch of the edge. Do not cut
through to the bottom. Lift out the inner layers of pastry and discarde
[sic], leaving an oval pastry case.
4.      Rinse and dry quails. Sprinkle the cavities with salt, pepper and a
little of the Cognac. Spread half the minced truffles into the cavities of
the quails. Divide foie gras into 8 equal portions and place a portion
inside each quail, then close up the quails. Tie a piece of butcher's twine
around each quail if necessary. Refrigerate quails until ready to cook.
5.      Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the
reserved quail bones and saute until lightly browned. Stir in shallots,
lower hat and saute shallots, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add 3
tablespoons of the Cognac, and stir to deglaze the pan. Add wine and stock
and simer until the sauce is reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. Strain
sauce and return it to a clean saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and
bring to a simmer, stirring until sauce has thickened. Add the rest of the
minced truffles. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside until
ready to serve.
6.      Saute mushroom caps in 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
7.      About 20 minutes before quails are to be served, preheat oven to
375 degrees.
8.      Heat remaining butter with oil in a large heavy skillet. Over
medium high heat, brown quails, rolling them around to brown on all sides,
about 5 minutes. Place quails in the oven for 10 minutes.
9.      While quails are baking, deglaze skillet with remaining Cognac,
about 2 tablespoons, and add this to the sauce.
10.     Remove quails from oven, remove any string and cover them to keep
11.     To serve, reheat sauce. Place pastry ovals on a baking sheet. Place
a quail on each oval. Reheat in oven about 5 minutes. Transfer quails and
pastry to each of 8 plates or to a large serving platter. Spoon a little of
the sauce over each quail and top with a mushroom cap. Spoon more of the
sauce on each plateor, if using a large serving platter, pass it alongside.
Serve at once.
Yield : 8 servings


1 cake fresh yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
2-1/3 cups sifted flour
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2-2/3 cups sugar
6 eggs
5-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dark rum
Candied fruits for decoration

1.      Dissolve yeast in milk in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of the
flour. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
2.      Beat 7 tablespoons of the butter in an electric mixer or in a food
processor. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the sugar and 2 tablespoons fo the
flour. Beat in eggs one at a time.
3.      Beat remaining flour into the risen yeast mixture, then beat in the
butter and egg mixture to make a thick, doughlike batter. Butter a large
baba or Savrin mold or a bundt pan with the remaining tablespoon of butter
and spoon batter into mold. It should fill it halfway. Cover with a clean
cloth and set aside to rise until dough reaches topo of mold.
4.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5.      Bake baba for about 40 minutes, until nicely browned on top.
6.      While baba is baking, combine remaining sugar with water in a
saucepan and boil until syrupy and reduced to 3 cups. Remove from heat and
stir in rum.
7.      When baba is baked, remove it from oven and carefully spoon warm
rum syrup over it, allowing it to saturate the cake completely.
8.      Cool completely, unmold and decorate with candied fruits before
Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

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