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Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe

Updated: Aug 16, 2023


Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Virginie In Provence eating Calissons

Hi. My name is Virginie and I’m a French immersion teacher near Aix-en-Provence. Today, I’ll try, for the first time, to bake a typical Provence sweet: le calisson. I searched around for recipes, so I’ll jump right in!

The Legend of the Calisson d’Aix-en-Provence

In a few words, what is a « Calisson » ? Legend tells that King René married Jeanne de Laval in the 15th century. At the end of a meal the candy maker gave a treat to the queen that never smiles. Tasting it, she had a hint of a smile.

The Quintessential Sweet of Provence

No-one can visit Provence without eating a « calisson ». Since the 15th century, the tradition continues. There’s even a museum of the « calisson » that retraces the evolution of its making throughout the ages.

If you like sugar and baking I strongly invite you to practice the art of preparing « calisson ». I realize it may not be easy for you to find these somewhat peculiar ingredients in your country, but if you come to my house for a French immersion homestay in Provence, we’ll make some together if you want!

FYI, this recipe is made over two days.

Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Ingredients for the Calissons

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1

Ingredients for the Calissons


  • 8.8 oz of top quality almond powder

  • 6.3 oz of icing sugar

  • 5.3 oz of candied melon

  • 1.7 oz of candied orange peel

  • 2 tablespoons of orange blossom

  • 5 drops of bitter almond extracts

  • 1 sheet of wafer paper

  • One egg white for the royal icing

Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Preparation of Calissons

  • A cooking robot… or strong hands

  • Silicon baking sheets

  • A baking tray

  • A « calisson » shaped cookie cutter

  • A whisk

  • An oven

  • A plate

  • A spoon

  • A rolling pin


The recipe is easier with a stand mixer; if you don’t have one, kneading is relaxing!


Day one…


provene sweet calisson recipe learn french

Step 1 – Preparing the Calisson Dough


Put the almond powder and the icing sugar in the bowl of the mixer and mix well.

Separately, mix the candied melon, candied orange peels and two tablespoons of orange blossom.

Add this mixture to the mixer’s bowl.

Mix until your dough is thin and sticky.

Add the bitter almond extract.

If it doesn’t stick, don’t throw it away! You can add an egg yolk. It’s OK to cheat… a bit!

Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Step 1 – Preparation of the Calisson dough

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1

Step 2 – Spreading the Calisson Dough

Put the dough between two silicon baking sheets. This is a critical step! Otherwise, the dough will stick to the rolling pin and spreading it will be a nightmare!

Spread until you get a regular thickness (adjust to the thickness of your cookie cutter)

Let the dough rest overnight before cutting it the next day.


Second Day…

Step 3 – Preparing the Sheet of Wafer Paper


Cut the sheet to the size of the cookie cutter. Use a pencil to draw the shape on your sheet.

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1

Step 4 – ‘Cookie-cut’ Your Calisson Dough

Take the calisson dough.

Use the cookie cutter to shape the calissons.

Put a calisson-shaped sheet of wafer paper at the base of your calissons, the side with diamond prints on the outside.

Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Virginie In Provence preparing Calissons

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1


Step 5 – Make the royal icing (technical name given to the white layer on the top of the calisson)

Beat the egg white and progressively add the icing sugar. The texture has to be rather thick.

Pour the royal icing on a plate and dip the calisson in it. Make sure to remove the excess with a spoon.

Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Step 5 of the calissons preparation - Make the royal icing

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1


Step 6 – Bake the calisson

Put the calissons on baking paper in a baking sheet in your oven.

Dry them for 5 minutes at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

I won’t lie: my calissons taste good, but look rather ugly. Here’s a picture of a store-bought calisson and one of mine (the prettiest!).


Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Calissons

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1

But it was a great experience with my older son, Léo, who is seven. We brought them to our Christmas party. Our family loved them. They even liked them better than the calissons you find in supermarkets. So for us, they were perfect !

Homeblogfood & Winesweets from Provence Recipe Les Calissons – Sweets From Provence – French Recipe
Virginie In Provence and her son preparing the calissons

provence sweet calisson recipe learn french1

After this first try, I really recommend to use a stand mixer as the candied fruits are quite hard to knead by hand.

Now it’s your turn!


If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Virginie In Provence


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