Raspberry & Rose Financiers

IMG_20150531_125009

Financiers are just gorgeous! They can be dressed up for an occasion or paired with fruit to match the mood of the season. I recently made these for a 60th birthday party as dessert trinkets/bites along with the grand birthday cake. They would also be perfect for a high tea on a summery day. They really are a special wee treat when you’re looking for something a bit fancy but not over-the-top. And the amount of work required is really quite small when you think about just how good they look and taste!

IMG_20150531_124526

Financiers are almost a little bit magical for me. The moist and buttery centre is offset by the tangy freshness of the raspberries just dotted through the mix. And the nutty golden crust is indescribably amazing, especially when straight out the oven.

IMG_20150531_124814

This recipe is high in fat and sugar however I like to keep in mind the fact that they are just a wee treat, enjoyed as part of a special occasion and definitely not eaten all in one go!

These keep very well, staying moist for up to 5-6 days when stored in an airtight container…. But by then I’m sure they’ll be long gone!

RECIPE:
makes 10 small muffin sized cakes/financiers

250g butter, melted until milk solids are golden brown (beurre noisette)

375g sugar

10 egg whites

45g flour

250g ground almonds

2 tsp rosewater

100g fresh or frozen raspberries (about 30 individual berries)

To garnish: 50g cream cheese, poached or fresh fruit (I used poached quince pieces (see in recipes), blueberries and fresh flowers)

Method: 

  1. Begin by lining 10 mini muffin moulds or small financier/friand moulds. Spray with a cooking oil spray or brush with butter and then dust with almond meal to create a really nice non stick coating.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius, bake setting.
  3. Combine the sugar, egg white, flour, ground almonds & rosewater in a large bowl.
  4. Add the melted butter, slowly ensuring it is well mixed.
  5. Put the mixture into a container or piping bag and refrigerate until it becomes a bit more solidified. You can miss this step out however it is handy to know that you can keep the mix in the fridge until you need to bake it, and it does make it easier and is nice and tidy when you fill the moulds with a chilled mixture
  6. Fill the moulds 3/4 of the way and push 3 frozen raspberries into the centre of each mould. (Try to avoid letting the berries touch the side of the moulds as this can cause the cakes to stick to the sides, tearing when it comes to removing them).
  7. Once you have filled your moulds, place in the centre of the oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking on fan bake, they may take slightly less time to bake.
  8. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before garnishing with cream cheese and fruit. Dust with a little icing sugar.
Advertisements

Wholemeal cracked linseed & sesame loaf

Topped with Feijoa chutney, dutch cheese, cucumber, basil & microgreens

Topped with Feijoa chutney, dutch cheese, cucumber, basil & microgreens

This is one of my favourite recipes. I love it because its just SO simple. Baking your own bread requires a certain amount of dedication, forethought and planning. This recipe however is just so simple that you can throw it all together, skip the need for equipment and kneading of the dough, sit back and relax while it does its own thing.

I’ve experimented a lot with this recipe by using different flours, grains and adding some crazy ingredients at times. What I love is that it always works. Whether you want fresh buns or a loaf, it is quick and easy with a supple density and a hint of sourdough flavour which is achieved via the two step process (see recipe below).

wpid-2015-03-11-12.24.31-1.jpg.jpeg

In the past, I’ve trialled the recipe using 100% wholemeal flour which still works well but results in a very dense loaf which can have the tendency to crumble slightly more. This recipe is a combination of white and wholemeal flours which gives a nice balance between the extremes of fluffy and dense. I have come to loath fluffy supermarket breads which don’t even touch the sides when you’re hungry! I love a bread that is dense enough that I can slice it thinly for toasting without it crumbling to pieces, fills me up and of course tastes delicious! I’ve added a little less salt than you would find in standard bread recipes – so its heart healthier!

If you’re short of time, throw the dough into the refrigerator between stages & the yeast will continue to work, albeit more slowly. If I’m wanting some fresh bread for the next day, I often leave it to work its magic overnight in the refrigerator. In this recipe’s case, time only makes it better.

The two step process does initially sound a little confusing: In the first stage, you are making a starter dough, in the second stage you are essentially repeating the process by making another dough mixture.Then you add the two dough mixtures together and allow them to rise. If your seeds are distributed evenly throughout the final dough, you know you have mixed it well enough. Its a little tough on the arm to mix, but only for a brief moment, I promise!

wpid-2015-03-11-12.21.47-1.jpg.jpeg

Starter dough added to second dough.

Recipe:

For the first dough stage:

140g tepid water

2g dried yeast

140g strong white flour

50g cracked linseeds

50g white or black sesame seeds

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, measure out the tepid water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir to dissolve the granules in the water, then add the flour and seeds.
  3. Mix well until there are no obvious big lumps of flour. The mixture should be more like a thick paste.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and place at room temperature until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Alternatively, place in refrigerator until required (e.g. overnight).

For the second part (once the initial dough has doubled in size):

190g tepid water

4g dried yeast

180g wholemeal flour

90g strong white flour

5g iodised salt

Method:

  1. In another large bowl, dissolve the yeast again in the tepid water just as you did for the starter dough.
  2. Stir through the flours and salt until mixture is smooth.
  3. Now stir both dough mixes together until well combined. The dough should be stretchy and smooth.
  4. Allow again to double in size, about 2-4 hours (depending on how warm your house is), or leave overnight in the refrigerator.

To Bake: 

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius on bake setting or 200 degrees Celsius on fan bake setting.
  2. Dust your work surface with a little flour and scrape the dough out onto the bench.
  3. Roughly cut into rolls or shape the dough slightly into a long log. You do not need to knead the dough as it is already nice and stretchy.
  4. Bake fist sized rolls for 20 minutes and whole loaves for approximately 40 minutes. The bread will be ready when it has a nice colour on the outside, has risen and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Leave to cool before cutting, or serve rolls warm with a delicious soup.

Heavenly cardamom, pistachio & rosewater bundt cake

image

This bundtcake is a fragrant beauty; the combination of the sweet cardamom, rosewater and subtlety of pistachio is heavenly. The texture is more like that of a poundcake; rich, heavy and velvety. I added a little pandan leaf extract (a plant widely used in tropical southeast Asian cooking) to give it a little more green colour. If you want you can substitute this for a drop of green food colouring (natural if possible), or leave out altogether. Either way, this cake is impressive! Mmmmm….

image

RECIPE:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal (or you can use finely ground pistachios here)
3/4 cup roughly ground pistachios (plus extra for garnish)
1.5 rounded tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plain yoghurt
1 drop (no more!) pandan leaf essence or green food colouring
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
170 g unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups sugar
3 large eggs

for the glaze, mix together:
2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp rosewater
water – enought to make a paste

  1. Method:
    Preheat oven to 170 degrees, bake setting. Grease a bundt tin with oil or butter and then dust with almond meal to create a good non-stick layer.
  2. Mix the first 7 dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and blend until smooth.
  5. Mix the yoghurt, pandan leaf extract (if using) and vanilla paste together in a bowl or measuring cup.
  6. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet to the butter and sugar.  Begin and end with the dry ingredients, beating just until blended with each addition.
  7. Turn the batter into the greased tin.
  8. Bake for about 55 minutes in the centre of the oven. Test to check it is cooked by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the thickest part of the cake. It should come out clean. The cake should be risen and slightly golden on the top.
  9. Cool in the tin, then invert when completely cold onto a plate.
  10. To make the glaze, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. The glaze should be thick like liquid clover honey, but still be able to run slowly off a spoon. If the glaze is too thin, you will find that it just runs completely off the side of the cake – you can add more icing sugar to thicken it if this is the case.
  11. Glaze the cake when it is completely cool.  Dust with crushed pistachio nuts and dried flowers while the icing is still wet.