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

Updated: 7 days ago

I tried to bake the quintessential Provence sweet: le calisson. I am sharing with you in this French English bilingual, step by step recipe a bit of history about the calisson, and my own experience preparing this delicious French treat.

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.

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Ingredients For Les 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

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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…

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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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 !

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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!


My name is Virginie, and I'm a French teacher. I live in the countryside of Provence, with my husband and three young children. Enjoy an authentic French immersion family homestay in Provence! (We have a pool !!)

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