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Navettes provencales

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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.

Serves16 :
  • 675g flour
  • 300g sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 160g water
  • 20g baker’s yeast   
  • 100g orange flower water  
  • 25g mild olive oil
  • 90g softened butter
  • 1 egg for glazing

Navettes provençales














  1. Pour 160 gr of tepid water into a bowl, crumble the baker’s yeast unto it and mix it in.
  2. Grate the lemon zest over the sugar and mix together.
  3.  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.
  4.  Knead the dough at a speed of 0.8 for 10 minutes.   
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. Cut 16 equal sized pieces.
  8. 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.
  9. Do the same for 7 other "navettes",
    placing them onto a sheet
    of baking parchment as you go.
                                       cliquer pour agrandir
    1. With the 8 remaining pieces of dough, you are going to make 16 smaller navettes,
      cliquer pour agrandir to resemble little barques or boats.

      Cut each piece into two, then make a sausage;
       shape each end into a point.


  1. When the navettes are ready, brush them with beaten egg. cliquer pour agrandir
     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


Galettes des Rois, Gâteaux des Rois

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