Recipe: broyé du Poitou

Yes! Once again, I – the world’s worst cook – am back with another poor attempt at a recipe that happens to have a very tenuous link to mules. Thanks to my mum for sharing this one with me. She’s very good at finding longear-related food, it turns out.

The broyé du Poitou is a kind of cakey shortbread thingy. France Voyage says it “is a celebration cake which is still served at fairs or when toasting newly-weds. Today it is also eaten for breakfast and in the afternoon, with a cup of coffee or a big bowl of hot chocolate, or for dessert with fruit salad.”

Its name comes from the way it used to be served, which involved punching it hard in the middle to break it into many pieces. My tenuous link, however, comes from the Poitou part of the name since the Poitou is a type of donkey often used for making mules.

Yeh, I know. It’s only going to get worse from this point on.



2 eggs
250g plain flour
125g sugar
125g softened butter
A pinch of salt
An optional tablespoon of cognac
Flaked almonds

I used goat butter as I’m allergic to cow diary, I didn’t use cognac because we didn’t have any, and I used powdered almond rather than flaked because we didn’t have any of that either. I also only used 100g of sugar because it looked so much as I poured it out that I couldn’t bear to add any more.


Step One

  1. Crack one egg and mix it with the sugar and salt. Add the cognac at this stage as well, if you’re using it.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and gradually stir it into the mix.
  3. Sieve the flour over the bowl and mix to form a dough – try not to overwork it.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm*, and leave in the fridge for one hour.

* Or eco-friendly alternative if you have it. I do not, because I am awful.

Step Two

  1. Roll the dough out into a circle approximately 1cm thick
  2. Use your fingers to create a ‘petal’ pattern by pinching around the edge, and use a fork or knife to crosshatch the surface
  3. Separate the yolk from your remaining egg and use it to glaze the dough
  4. Apply your almonds
  5. Bake in the oven at 180c for 25 minutes or until it’s golden brown


Or, you can use my method of putting your donkey cake in the oven, wandering around the house aimlessly for a while, suddenly remembering that you completely forgot to do the egg glaze, seizing the donkey cake from the oven, picking off the whole almonds, giving up on the crumbled almond, slapping egg everywhere, replacing the whole almonds, and shoving it back in the oven.

Then leave it in the oven for an unspecified amount of time because the damn thing doesn’t appear to be cooking and you’re not sure if it’s supposed to be softish, and shouldn’t it be hard like a biscuit? Remove donkey cake when the edges start to burn and give it up as a lost cause.

Punch it.

Apart from the cooking confusion, this was an incredibly easy, quick recipe to throw together and it didn’t taste bad either. However, for the sake of my waistline I probably won’t make it often because that’s a hell of a lot of butter and sugar. I worked out that a quarter of donkey cake is 240 calories, which is quite a lot. Still, it is very filling – like the singing hinnys, I think it would be a good snack to take with you on a long hike.

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