Hot Cross Buns with Saffron, Cardamom and Mahlab

_MG_8822 A spice made from the ground kernels found in the stones of a particular type of cherry, the Prunus mahaleb, mahlab is like a grown-up version of marzipan with a flavour not unlike bitter almond although fruitier and more delicate.  I was introduced to it by the lovely Sarah, who is some sort of walking and talking flavour thesaurus, and have been fascinated with mahlab ever since.  I first experimented with it over Christmas when I used it to flavour a rice flour thickened custard that we enjoyed with a sour cherry and orange blossom compote and fell completely in love with its flavour.

Mahlab has been used in the Middle East for centuries and, together with cardamom, is the key flavour in an Armenian Easter bread called Cheoreg made from a sweet enriched dough.  Given that hot cross buns are typically eaten around Easter it did not take me long to give this year’s batch the same flavours.  The saffron, my own addition, is here not just for its gorgeous colour but also because its wonderfully heady aroma is a nice antidote to the rich and buttery spiced dough.  And while hot cross buns typically include currants or raisins or both, a number of people near and dear to me abhor currants and raisins so I used dried apricots (which I figured worked better with the Middle Eastern theme of these buns in any event).

_MG_8791

It took me a few tries to get this recipe right and to a stage where the actual work required is minimal and the end result is a perfectly fluffy and deliciously buttery bun.  These are pretty close to perfection – my only gripe is not making these buns any bigger, one on its own for breakfast seems rather frugal, yet two seem positively greedy, so next time I might just turn this quantity into 6 slightly larger buns.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter break, whether you are spending it with your loved ones or just enjoying an extra day or two off work.  I am off to Italy tomorrow night to spend the long weekend in Italy with Alessandro and I literally cannot wait to see him and spend some time with him after 3 long weeks of not seeing each other while I was getting set up in Brussels.

_MG_8817

Hot Cross Buns with Saffron, Mahlab and Cardamom

Yields 8 buns

Ingredients

100ml milk
A pinch of saffron
4g fast action yeast
120g all purpose flour
80g wholegrain kamut flour
2 1/2 tsp mahlab
Ground seeds of 3 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp salt
50g butter, softened
25g honey
1 egg
100g dried apricots, diced finely

For the cross: 30g all purpose flour and 2-3 tbsp water

To glaze: 2-3 tbsp honey

Directions

Gently heat the milk until it starts steaming. Turn off the heat, add the pinch of saffron and set aside to infuse for 1 hour.  In a separate bowl whisk together the yeast, the all purpose flour, the kamut flour, the mahlab, the ground cardamom and the salt.

Return the milk to the stove and heat on a small flame until hot to the touch.  Turn off the heat, add the butter, honey and egg and whisk to combine.  Pour over the dry ingredients and stir together until you have a shaggy ball.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

Using oiled hands knead the dough for ca. 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside somewhere warm to proof for 1h or until the dough has doubled in size.

On your worktop flatten the dough into a disk that is ca. an inch high, scatter the chopped apricots over the dough and gently knead until the chopped apricots are well distributed.  Shape the dough into a ball and return to the oiled bowl to proof somewhere warm for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size (alternatively let proof somewhere cool overnight).

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form each piece into a small bun.

Make the cross paste by whisking together the flour with just enough water to form a fairly thick paste.  Fill paste into a piping bag and pipe both a horizontal and a vertical line across each bun in the shape of a cross.

Bake the buns for 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown.  Using a pastry brush cover each bun with a thin layer of honey while they are hot.

_MG_8854

North African Long Pepper Steak and Preserved Lemon Sauce

_MG_7394 Lest you all worry about me surviving solely off caffeine and cake (I know for a fact my mum certainly gets worried at times) today I have a savoury recipe for you (and if you follow me on instagram you might have already seen some of these shots).  Although I mainly post sweet recipes here, I do actually really enjoy cooking and experimenting with savoury ingredients too.  Like with baking I don’t tend to limit myself to a single regional cuisine although I do go through phases of cooking a lot of Indian, Thai, Italian or Mexican Food (in addition to spots of nostalgia-induced cooking of some of the German dishes I grew up with).  The Peppermongers had asked me to come up with a few savoury recipes using their peppers and here is the first one – a North African twist on the classic steak au poivre (or pepper steak).

Pepper steak is a tried and tested classic that is as simple as it is delicious. For something a little different I used a rub flavoured with long pepper and served the steak with a preserved lemon sauce – inspired by the flavours of chermoula, a sauce used for grilling meat, fish and vegetables. Common in Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan cooking, different recipes for this sauce abound. What almost all chermoula recipes include are coriander, pepper and preserved lemon. Here those flavours find their way into a dry spice mix that gets rubbed into the steaks as well as a preserved lemon and herb sauce to drizzle over the grilled meat. The tangy and fragrant sauce cuts through the richness of the red meat and takes these peppered steaks from good to great.

Head on over to the Peppermongers’ website to see the recipe.

Einkorn, Goat Yoghurt and Date Scones

Einkorn and Date Scones

I have been in Brussels just over a week now and, unsurprisingly, Brussels does not quite feel like home yet.  But I am sure things will feel different once my boxes from Rome have arrived (which should happen some time next week), my cookbooks are crammed into my bookshelf and I actually have a sofa to sit on. Until then, I will bake scones. Scones are easy and if there is anything that can make you feel at home then it is eating a freshly baked scone slathered in butter and jam (even if you are eating your scone standing in your kitchen as your flat does not yet have any chairs or a sofa).

The first thing I had planned on baking in my new kitchen wasn’t these scones or anything sweet at all. Instead, I wanted to bake bread, a variation of the kamut and polenta bread I posted a while ago.  But when I wanted to weigh my ingredients I realised I had accidentally bought baking powder instead of dried yeast.  However, I did have all the ingredients to make scones.

Einkorn and Date Scones

For me scones are the perfect mid-week indulgence – they taste like lazy Sunday mornings yet are quick enough to prepare even on a busy weekday morning.  In fact, I like to think I have my mid-week scone routine down to a pat: I switch on the oven to pre-heat and assemble my ingredients as soon as I stumble out of bed.  While I wait for my coffee I prepare the dough and once the coffee is ready I slide the scones in the oven.  As soon as I am out of the shower, the scones are ready to be taken out of the oven and the time it takes me to get ready is the perfect amount of time for the scones to cool down enough so I can eat them without burning the roof of my mouth.

I play around with my basic scone recipe quite a lot – the beauty of this recipe is that it is so forgiving – you can throw in some fresh or oven-roasted fruit, dried fruits or nuts or use different flours – so feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your preferences or what you happen to have in your pantry.

Einkorn and Date Scones

Einkorn, Goat Yoghurt and Date Scones

Note: If you don’t have einkorn flour, feel free to use spelt or wholewheat flour.  The goat yoghurt is what I had to hand but I normally make the scones with plain cow milk yoghurt so just use what you have.  Lastly, although these scones look rather wholesome they are in fact pretty sweet thanks to the addition of the dates.  To enjoy them on their own I think the level of sweetness is just right but if you want to eat them for breakfast, maybe with a little honey or jam, you might want to half the sugar or leave it out entirely.  The scones will taste best on the day they are made but will keep fresh for a couple of days.

Makes 4 small scones

Ingredients

120g Einkorn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g caster sugar
25g cold butter, cubed
5 dates, pit removed and chopped finely
70g goat yoghurt
1-2 tbsp milk

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the cubed butter.   Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles sand and you can no longer see any large chunks of butter.

Add the chopped dates and stir to combine.  Pour in the yoghurt and knead the dough just long enough for it to come together into a shaggy ball.

Shape the dough into a rough ball, set in the middle of the parchment paper and carefully roll out to a disk of ca. 2-3 cm thickness.  With a large knife divide the disk in four triangles.

Brush each triangle with a little bit of milk and bake for ca. 18 minutes or until risen and just starting to colour on the edges.

A lesson in pastry

photo-2

Shortly after coming back from Laos and Thailand I packed my bags again, this time for a rather different trip.  I flew to London to take part in an intensive pastry course at the Cordon Bleu (and if you follow me on instagram you will have already seen some photos of what we baked).  While the trip to Asia was a chance to spend some more time together before Alessandro and I go back to long-distance dating, the trip to London was a present to myself before I start my new job and any kitchen experiments will again be limited to early mornings, late nights or the weekend.

I ended up doing the course with a friend of mine – it just so worked out that both of us were between jobs with some time to spare (and with a shared passion for baking) and it was amazing to spent 4 days together not worrying about anything else other than whether our egg whites were stiff enough to start adding the sugar for a meringue or whether our custard had thickened enough to allow us to turn off the stove.  It was also amazing to take home boatloads of cakes, cookies and puddings each day – much to the glee of my friends, my sister, her roommate as well as my sister’s colleagues (there was a lot, really, a lot of cake).

While I had experience with a number of the bakes on our course syllabus, I was keen to be shown by a professional how to execute the various recipes in a fool-proof manner as well as get as far as possible through my catalogue of questions on baking with different types of flours, substituting vegan ingredients etc.  And admittedly, I learned a lot.  Not only that I am seriously unfit (we baked almost exclusively by hand – the mixer only came out to whip some egg whites while we were busy whipping the yolks – creaming pounds of butter, whipping pints of cream and rolling out kilos of dough is a serious workout).  I also picked up a number of useful tips and tricks on how to get certain recipes right and where things can go wrong and although I don’t yet have a new recipe to share while I am getting set up in my new place in Brussels, I wanted to share these tips with you here.  I should be back with new recipes from next week onwards.

Puff Pastry

Although I had made rough puff pastry before the course, it was my first time making real puff pastry and, admittedly, the minimal additional amount of work yet better rise of the pastry has convinced me that should I even go to the lengths of wanting to make this kind of pastry, it will be real puff pastry.  We also discussed using different types of flour or fats when making puff pastry and how this affects the end product.  While the butter can be easily substituted in part or whole with margarine and other vegetable fats, this often has a detrimental effect both on flavour and mouthfeel of the pastries (as these types of hydrogenated fats tend to leave a greasy film in your mouth).

One thing we were all keen to explore was using refined coconut oil to make puff pastry.  As a non-hydrogenated fat that is nonetheless solid at room temperature (at least in my kitchen) it sounds like a good substitute provided you work quickly and have fairly cold hands.  Have any of you tried that? It would be amazing to come up with a vegan puff pastry recipe that does not rely on any hydrogenated fats.

As for using different types of flour, we discussed the role of gluten in puff pastry and how it is key to keeping the dough elastic and allow it to stretch when the pastry puffs up in the oven as a result of the butter melting and the water in the butter turning to steam.  While we learned that you can use flours that are lower in gluten or lacking the right kind of gluten like spelt or kamut, you will likely end up with a cracked puff pastry as the dough will lack elasticity.  Do any of you have experience in making puff pastry with low gluten flours and been successful?  I am certainly hoping there is a way to make beautiful puff pastry using flours made from these types of ancient grains or slightly lower in gluten.

Swiss Role / Genoise Roulade

Although I have eaten a fair share of roulade over the years, I did not bake one myself until the course.  I was already familiar with the fat-free sponge recipe we used so the recipe was fairly straightforward.  While at home we often used buttercream as the base for the filling here we used a raspberry fruit puree flavoured whipped cream filling.  One little trick I picked up to prevent the cream spilling out either ends of the roulade either while you assemble it or when cutting into it was to add a little bit of gelatine to the filling.  We also picked up a neat little trick to tighten the roulade so you get a beautiful spiral when you cut into it: once the roulade has been filled and rolled up, carefully place it in the middle of a large piece of parchment paper, fold the parchment paper in half over the length of the roulade and while holding on to the bottom layer of the parchment paper with your left hand use an offset spatula or the blunt side of a large knife to push the top layer of the parchment paper under the roulade.

Madeleines

I have talked about madeleines in this space before and shared what I thought are the key tricks for getting the texture of them right and getting that elusive little hump.  The other tricks we picked up from our pastry chef was using a little bit of baking powder in the batter; chilling the moulds before you fill them and bake them for a short period (6-8 minutes) in a very hot oven (around 200 degrees Celsius) – the blast of heat helps the madeleines rise before the batter sets.  Also, depending on how well your oven distributes its heat, some of your madeleines might be done before the others so don’t be afraid to remove the ones that are done already even if the rest of the batch might need another minute or so.

Let time do the work for you

One of the most unexpected take-aways from the class was learning to let time do the work for us.  As much as I love to cook and bake I tend to squeeze it in what minimal time is left at the end of a long day in the office, bright and early before heading off to work or in between meeting friends on weekends.  My mum, our family’s bread baker extraordinaire, is a firm believer in not letting the bread baking dictate her schedule but letting her schedule dictate what recipe to use (and as far as bread-baking or pizza-making is concerned, I think I have that down to a pat with a couple of recipes at least).  As for other baking? Not so much.  Yet, our pastry chef repeated that same mantra.  While we did do almost everything by hand, whipping half a litre of cream becomes infinitely easier if you give the cream the chance to chill completely in the fridge and place your bowl in the freezer for a couple of hours.  Equally, creaming butter and sugar together can easily be done by hand if your butter has been sitting somewhere warm for 6-7 hours (so next time you are planning to bake a cake after work make sure to remove the butter from the fridge first thing in the morning!). Similarly, many doughs (whether puff pastry or pasta dough or even yeasted doughs) become easier to handle and easier to roll out if you give the dough time to rest as this helps relax the gluten in the dough.

Celeriac, Walnut, Coffee, Vanilla

photo-1If there is one thing I learned from my mum is that a chef should not be solely judged by how they prepare their lobster or a white truffle dish. Instead, we should look at what they are able to create with simple and accessible ingredients, cheap cuts of meat which require real technique to turn them into something delicious and the amount of flavour they are able to extract from humble ingredients like celeriac.

Typically made into salads or slaws in Germany, celeriac only really started to grow on me when I happened upon a celeriac mashed potato recipe in one of Jamie Oliver’s earlier books. While not as starchy as potatoes, celeriac adds a distinct flavour to potato mash, sweet and peppery, which I really like both with grilled fish and braised beef dishes.

Celeriac is not something Romans typically cook with (and I remember endlessly walking around my favourite market here in Rome last winter, a photo of celeriac on my phone and asking every single stallholder in vain where I could find some), so when I finally stumbled upon some a few weeks ago at a market in Testaccio I was determined to make the most of it.  Of course there was potato and celeriac mash, alongside steak this time.  And then there were some sweeter experiments using celeriac as well.

Naturally sweet once cooked, using celeriac in desserts is actually not too far-fetched (even less so when you think of how commonly carrots or parsnips are turned into cake).  Although coming up with a winning flavour combination proved challenging. Initially, I wanted to make a white gingerbread cake – replacing the commonly used stem ginger and syrup with candied celeriac and replacing the treacle with the syrup from candying celeriac. As for the spices, I wanted to use a bit of nutmeg or mace to underline the peppery notes of the celeriac. Alas, this sounded much better in my head than when I tried the actual cake which had a nice texture but was neither very tasty nor was the celeriac easy to detect.

I am still intrigued by the idea of a white gingerbread cake (which may not end up containing any ginger at all, in which case I will need to think of a suitable alternative name) and will re-visit this idea in due course.  What did work really well the first time I tested it was a simple dessert marrying the flavour of celeriac with coffee, walnut and vanilla.  The dessert you can see in the above picture consists of four different elements: candied celeriac, a crème anglaise, coffee and walnut mini cakes and caramelised walnuts.

I candied the celeriac (using a 150g piece, peeled and diced finely) adapting a recipe from David Lebovitz for candying ginger, blanching the celeriac once only and using muscovado sugar for its caramel undertones. I then made a simple vanilla crème anglaise (ca. 1/4 litre) and a small batch of mini coffee and walnut cakes based on my baked doughnut recipe (half the quantities so you just get 4 doughnuts, replace the breadcrumbs with ground walnuts and add 1/2 teaspoon finely ground espresso to the dry ingredients). Lastly, I caramelised a small handful of walnuts using the same technique as for these caramelised buckwheat groats.

Although this isn’t the full recipe, this roadmap of sorts will get you to the finished dish (with maybe some candied celeriac to spare, not a bad thing in my opinion, I think it would be delicious on top of some vanilla ice cream).  Rather than share a precise recipe I wanted to share this dish as a work in progress, maybe as a way to start a conversation.  I would love to hear about your kitchen experiments (and fails!), any unusual flavour combinations that really worked (or that really did not work) or any experiments that you are currently working on.

And if you don’t fine the idea of a sweet celeriac dish entirely off-putting, Sat Bains has some more ideas for sweet dishes using is and so does Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (and although it is still a bit too cold for me to really crave ice cream and I really should be packing up my ice cream machine, I am rather tempted by Hugh’s idea for a celeriac ice cream).

I should also say that things might be a little quieter around here for a couple of weeks or so.  My boxes are packed and will shortly be sent off to Brussels.  I should hopefully have all my stuff in my new kitchen in Brussels before the middle of April so give or take a week or two, I hope to be all set up in my new kitchen by the end of April at the latest and will then be back to my regular posts.

Black Sesame Loaf with a Kinako Glaze

_MG_8616 Alessandro and I came back from our trip to Laos and Thailand a few days ago.  We have been back in Rome just long enough to take care of mountains of laundry but are still fighting our jet lag on a daily basis.  The day after we arrived the packing materials for my move to Brussels arrived and thanks to surprisingly decent day-time TV (House MD, Gilmore Girls, Friends re-runs) one of the walls of our living room is now made up of stacks of boxes, some taped shut already, others waiting to be filled.
_MG_8595

I have moved a lot in the last few years and far too many of those moves have been of the international kind.  I love having had the opportunity to live in so many different places and countries but let’s just say that international moves are even more fun (read: stressful) than moving already is.  It inevitably starts with flathunting in a different country and trying to decipher the local real estate lingo – doable but not for the fainthearted, especially when you have to do it in a language you are not yet entirely comfortable with.  Then there is the packing and shipping of all of your stuff which you might not get back in your new place for several weeks – hello take-away dinners and single use plastic crockery while you anxiously wait to know that all your belongings have survived the journey. And then there are the more mundane tasks like setting up a new bank account, navigating the utility provider market, getting contents insurance, health insurance, a new gym membership etc.  All of which is exhausting (like any move) but also exciting.

_MG_8607

Extracting myself from all of this for a couple of weeks for our trip was an excellent decision (even if it means it’s really crunch time now in terms of packing up my stuff and take care of any paperwork related to my move), not least of all for some of the excellent food we ate.  There were meals from the market, snacks from roadside stalls, a few fancy meals in places that made us forget about our heavy backpacks and tired feet, plenty of excellent coffee (who knew Laos had such a great coffee culture?), lots of bubble tea (one of my guilty pleasures) and lots of delicious fresh watermelon, mango and pineapple.

_MG_8618

Now that we are back home our meals are mainly focused on emptying our pantry which doesn’t always result in the most inspiring meals.  I hate to throw away food and as even I think it would be crazy to pay to ship half empty bags of flour around Europe I am trying to use up what I can before the big move.  One of the results of this exercise is this cake.  I am a serious sesame lover, in all its forms – I go through sesame oil like it’s no one’s business, tahini makes its way into salad dressings and yoghurt sauces and both black and white sesame seeds get sprinkled liberally on soups, salads, avocado and even incorporated into granola.  This loaf cake, which includes equal amounts of rice flour and toasted black sesame seeds, is therefore right up my alley (and yours hopefully too).  I have been eating thick slices of it for breakfast, paired with rather large cups of coffee (jet lag is no joke).

_MG_8623

A Black Sesame Loaf with a Kinako Glaze
Note: This cake is made with rice flour so is suitable for those following a gluten-free diet as well.  If avoiding gluten is not important for you, the cake could also be made with all purpose flour or spelt or einkorn (in case of the latter two you might have to whisk 1-2 tablespoons of milk into the batter if it appears very thick).  You can also use white sesame seeds instead of the black ones although it would mean missing out on a gorgeous almost black loaf.  Kinako is roast soybean flour which is commonly used in Japan.  Although often described as tasting ‘beany’ I find its flavour is closest to roasted peanuts which contrasts nicely, both in colour and flavour, with the sweet cake.  And while I have a weak spot for glazed loaf cakes, the glaze is entirely optional.  I should mention this makes quite a small loaf cake which will stay firmly within the walls of a loaf pan – you could always double the ingredients (and increase the baking time to 60 minutes or so) and bake a regular tall loaf cake.

Ingredients

For the black sesame loaf
150g black sesame seeds
150g butter, at room temperature
150g brown sugar
3 eggs
A pinch of salt
150g rice flour or all purpose flour

For the kinako glaze
60g powdered sugar
10g kinako
2-3 tablespoons milk

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a loaf pan with butter or oil.

2. In a dry frying pan toast the sesame seeds over medium heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes).  Set aside to cool.

3. Cream the butter together with the sugar until pale in colour and fluffy (around 5 minutes).  Add the eggs one by one beating well after each addition.  Add the pinch of salt and rice flour and whisk to combine.

4. In a food processor or pestle and mortar roughly grind the sesame seeds.  Fold into the cake batter.

5. Fill the cake batter into the loaf pan, smooth the top and bake for ca. 45-50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Carefully remove the loaf cake from the pan and leave to cool completely on a cake rack.

6.  Whisk together the powdered sugar and kinako.  Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you have a thick but pourable glaze with no lumps.  Pour glaze over the loaf cake – the glaze should set within 1-2 hours.

Double Rye Treacle Tarts

_MG_7887Alessandro and I have been travelling around Northern Laos and Northern Thailand for just over a week now. We have been getting up early to watch the hustle and bustle of the morning markets, wandered through the grounds of stunning temples, walked along the banks of the Mekong river, travelled on local buses so full people were sitting on rice bags in the middle of the aisles and swam in the turquoise water of one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. While every trip comes with its own challenges, whether it be jet-lag, getting sick, over-hyped destinations, missed flights or buses – and this trip has certainly had its fair share of that as well – I am so glad we decided to go on this trip. Time seemed to have stopped while we are taking in our new (and temporary) surroundings with all their new-to-us sights, smells and flavours. Above all, it is so nice to spend some one-on-one time with Alessandro away from our busy lives before my upcoming move to Brussels.

The food we have been eating in Laos (and especially the desserts) could not be more different from today’s recipe, however delicious it is. There have been a lot of coconut-based desserts, whether it is the sticky purple rice cooked in fresh coconut milk and served with local fruits that we learned to prepare at a cooking class in Luang Prabang or the grated coconut filled deep-fried dough balls not unlike doughnut holes we bought at Luang Namtha’s morning market before heading off on a couple of days of trekking through the jungle. What today’s recipe and those desserts do have in common is that they are incredibly sweet, almost tooth-achingly so.

20140220-163715.jpg

Treacle tart, a long-term favourite with children and adults alike in the UK, has recently gained in popularity and even acquired some international fame thanks to Harry Potter, who counts treacle tart as one of his favourite desserts. The tart typically consists of a crisp pastry shell filled with a chewy and tooth-achingly sweet filling of breadcrumbs mixed with golden syrup and treacle. Often the filling also contains some lemon juice - to tame the sweetness.

Treacle tart aficionados might recoil in horror at what I have done to their childhood favourite. But bear with me – a few simple changes to the classic recipe is enough to produce a grown-up version of the treacle tart that is nonetheless tooth-achingly sweet and delicious just like the original.  For this recipe, I used a dark cardamom and sea salt-flecked rye pastry which encases a sweet filling of coarsely ground rye bread stirred into gently warmed acacia honey and which is finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. Paired with something tart to cut through the sweetness, like mascarpone, creme fraiche or even cream cheese, loosened with a squeeze of lemon juice and flavoured with a generous grating of lemon zest, the humble treacle tart becomes a rustic but elegant dessert, fit even for a dinner party.20140220-163703.jpg
Double Rye Treacle Tarts with Whipped Lemony Cream Cheese
Makes 6 small treacle tartlets
Note: while I am particularly fond of this rye version of a treacle tart there is nothing that says you could not use a slice or two of your favourite country loaf for the filling. The important thing is to pair the treacle tarts with something that will cut through the filling’s almost tooth-aching sweetness. A lemon scented cream works well, only lightly sweetened, if at all. A scoop of lemon curd or greek yoghurt ice cream would work too I think.

Ingredients

For the treacle tarts

a. for the pastry
75g all purpose flour
50g rye flour
A generous pinch of salt
Seeds of 2 cardamom pods, finely ground
75g cold butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1-2 teaspoons water

b. for the filling
75g rye bread, chopped finely
150g honey
A generous pinch of sea salt

For the whipped lemony cream cheese
200g full-fat cream cheese
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
A pinch of salt
Optional: 1 tsp honey

Directions

1. Start by making the pastry. In a bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, rye flour, salt and ground cardamom. Form a well in the middle and add the butter and egg yolk. Using a knife or a pastry cutter, cut the the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles sand. Using your hands quickly bring everything together – if the mixture appears very crumbly and dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of cold water. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. On a floured surface roll out the dough to ca. 3mm thickness and line each tart pan with a round of dough slightly larger then the size of the tart pan. Prick each lined tart pan with a fork a few times. Place tart pans in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

3. In a small saucepan gently warm the honey until liquid. Stir in the breadcrumbs and the salt.

4. Remove the tart pans from the fridge and divide the filling evenly between them.

5. Bake tarts for ca. 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. While in the oven the filling will bubble up ferociously, but it will eventually settle back down again.

6. While the tarts are in the oven, whisk together the cream cheese together with the lemon juice, lemon zest and pinch of salt, adding a teaspoon of honey if you have a sweettooth. Store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

7. Serve each treacle tart with a tablespoon of the whipped lemony cream cheese.

_MG_7875

The Baking Bird

Baking, Life and Adventures in PDX

729 layers

recipes and stories from my kitchen

Eat, Little Bird

Food Photography & Recipes

Finger, Fork & Knife

I'm Kate and Finger, Fork and Knife is where I record the recipes that excite, nourish and inspire me. I focus on wholesome, high-nutrition, home-cooked food - recipes that satisfy and delight. Welcome!

The Fauxmartha

from scratch

Artichoke & Typewriter

Wildflour Bakery blog

Globe Trotter Kiu

The cute fluffy plushie's blog / Le blog de Kiu, la peluche voyageuse !

A Tasty Love Story

Healthy recipes with a nordic twist

frugal feeding

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

cuminseeds

food & colour

thelittleloaf

Homemade Memories

Victoria Sponge, Pease Pudding

Victoria. Baker. Cookie Maker

Lickerish Split

Sharing great food experiences... A Manchester (and beyond) food blog.

Der Klang von Zuckerwatte

… der Blog rund um's Kochen & Genießen.

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 353 other followers