In Provence, they make these pastries for Candlemas, the origin of their name coming from the word "nave", meaning embarkation, - the carrying of the virgin Mary to Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer.
This recipe takes 6 hours of preparation and is difficult.
- Pour 160 gr of tepid water into a bowl, crumble the baker’s yeast unto it and mix it in.
- Grate the lemon zest over the sugar and mix together.
- Place the flour in a food processor, make a small hollow in the centre and place in the sugar, the yeast mixture, the orange flower water, oil and softened butter.
- Knead the dough at a speed of 0.8 for 10 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with a sheet of baking parchment and leave in a warm place (26° C) away from any drafts for 2 to 3 hours. The dough should double in size.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a floured work surface and tap it gently so that it falls. Then stretch the dough carefully to make a long sausage.
- Cut 16 equal sized pieces.
- Take the first piece, stretch it into a sausage of between 18 to 20 cm. (see photo) then with the side of your hand, make a ball at each end.
- Do the same for 7 other "navettes",
placing them onto a sheet
of baking parchment as you go.
- When the navettes are ready, brush them with beaten egg.
Then cover with another sheet of baking parchment
and leave them in a cool place (13°à 18° C) for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours.
At the end of this, the pastry should be hard enough to slash – if not, refrigerate them for 15 to 20 minutes so that they harden enough. With a razor blade make a deep, straight slash in each navette, to represent the "barque".
Bake in a preheated oven at 200° C for 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure that the tops don’t burn. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
When they cool, the navettes will harden slightly. If you want to eat them the following day, warm them in the oven, grill or toaster for 1 to 2 minutes and they will regain their texture and aroma