Cranberry custard mini pies

These shell shaped mini pies are filled with homemade cranberry custard. After baking the cranberry custard is still soft and gentle. The pastry is made of ‘sweet crust pastry’ – classic patisserie pastry with almond flour. Almonds give delicateness and more possibilities of shaping. These treats are subtle, sophisticated and tasty. Enjoy!

 

shell (or other design) shaped mini tart pans (12 pieces)

 

Ingredients for pastry:

  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 7 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons almond flour

Custard:

  • 200 ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cherry puree
  • 40 g corn starch

 

 

Shortbread base: in the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla, mix together. Gradually add flour with salt and almond flour still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). If the dough is still very soft and does not shape a ball add more flour, one tablespoon at the time. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Make custard: you can use store-bought cranberry puree from the tin or make homemade. Place in a saucepan 120 g frozen cranberries with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Heat until fruits are very soft and sugar has dissolved. Place in a food blender and blend until smooth. Pour the milk in medium sauce pan and heat until boil. In a bowl beat the egg yolks with corn starch and sugar until light and creamy. Add cranberry puree and mix until incorporated. Pour boiled milk over egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, for few minutes until starts to thicken and bubble. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl. Cover the surface with a cling film to prevent forming the skin. Leave to cool.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick rectangular. Cut out proper shapes similar size as pans. Fill pans with prepared pastry and press to place properly. Re-roll the remaining pastry. Cut out the shapes like the top of pans. Pour the cranberry custard over pastry bases and smooth evenly. Cover each with the top part. Damp the edges lightly with water and press to seal. Make small hole or cross in each pie (on the top cover).

Bake at 350°F for 20-22 minutes (until the pastry is golden beige). Cool after baking on a wire rack. During baking the top parts of pastry can lift themselves over the filling but after cooling they will return to place.


 

Category: Pastries/tarts.

Tags: almonds, cranberry.

‘Eggs’ cookies

Shortbread cookies shaped like eggs with ‘egg yolk’ inside. Some of them are even hatched and the chicken comes. Cookies are the effect of my Easter playing in the kitchen. Biscuits are paired and filled with lemon curd. This is traditional English spread made of butter, eggs, sugar and lemons. It is intensive in taste, very lemony, tangy and is perfectly yummy. And it ideally pretends to be a yolk. Enjoy!

 

amount depends on the size

 

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 7 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2  cups all purpose flour

Lemon curd:

  • 1 ½ lemons
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

 

 

Shortbread pastry: in the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla, mix together. Gradually add flour still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The amount of flour you need could vary because of flour type. If the dough is still very soft and does not shape a ball add more flour, one tablespoon at the time. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Make lemon curd: grate the rind and squeeze the juice of lemons into heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Add the sugar and butter and stir until dissolved and melted. Put the egg and egg yolk in a bowl and beat together. Pour them through the sieve into the lemon mixture. Stir the mixture constantly over the heat until the lemon curd thickens and lightly coats the wooden spoon (it could take 10 to 20 minutes). Once it is ready set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick circle. Cut off egg shaped cookie. In the half of cookies cut off a circle or chicken shape (that will be upper cookies with a window for showing filling). Place cookies onto prepared tray. Bake for 10 minutes until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled pair them in two (one plain and one with a hole). Spread the lemon curd on bottom biscuit and cover with upper one.


 

Category: Cookies.

Tags: lemon.

Twisted wreath with figs and ricotta cheese

This wreath is twisted like a braid. It could not be hung because the dough is delicate and the filling is quite heavy (by weight) but still very attractive. Very tasty filling made of dried figs and ricotta cheese is twisted with dough so we have the full flavour delight in every bite. This is probably one of my favourite sweet bread cakes, perfect for holidays as well as for family Sunday at home or on the picnic. Enjoy!

 

1 wreath about 12 inch diameter

 

 Dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ½  cup lukewarm milk
  • ¾  cup lukewarm water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ½  cup butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • ¾  cup dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 125 g ricotta cheese

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pearl sugar
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar (turbinado)

 

Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture, egg yolks vanilla extract and melted butter. Add water and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes) and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture remains too dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the dough is ready place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.

Make filling: place figs, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolved then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for further 15 minutes until figs are soft. Drain. Blend figs until smooth mixture. Mix the fig paste with ricotta cheese.

Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 18 x 10 inch rectangular. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving an empty 1 inch border along both long sides. Roll up into a log starting to fold longer site. Cut the log lengthways to split it into two. Gently turn both parts cut side up and twist together. Join the ends together to shape the wreath. Place the wreath on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest and double in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  

Brush the top with egg, sprinkle with both kind of sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

 

 

Category: Yeast cakes.

Tags: figs, ricotta, yeast.

Easter wreath with apricot filling

This is just a sweet bread with apricot filling. Shaped as a wreath looks fancy and interesting. Because we are close to Easter time and in many kitchens yeast cake is a ‘must have’ tradition I recommend it for the festive days. It does not need to be hanging. Wreath on the table will delight your guests as well. And the taste will not disappoint for sure. Enjoy!

 

1 wreath about 10 inch diameter

 

 Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm milk
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/6 cup butter, soften
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 1 ½ cup dried apricots
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (turbinado) sugar

 

Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt and butter in small pieces. Add yeast mixture, vanilla extract and orange zest. Add water and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes) and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture remains too dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the dough is ready place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.

Make filling: place apricots, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolved then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for further 15 minutes until apricots are soft. Drain. Blend apricots until smooth mixture.

Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 16 x 6 inch rectangular. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving an empty 1 inch border along one long side. Roll up into a log starting to fold longer site without border. Shape a log into a ring joining ends together. Place the ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest and double in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  

Using kitchen scissors cut seven diagonal slashes into outer edge of dough (about 4 inch apart). Brush the top with egg, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

 

 

The recipe comes from the AWW book 'Simply Bread'.

Category: Yeast cakes.

Tags: almonds, apricots, orange, yeast.

Dacquoise

Dacquoise is a French dessert made of two hazelnut meringue layers and coffee cream in between. Hazelnut meringue reminisces macarons like structure because is made of egg whites and hazelnuts meal (you can use almond meal as well). They are crunchy outside and chewy inside. Coffee cream is traditional prepared as ‘creme patisserie’ (homemade custard like) with whipped cream. I decided to make it a little easier and replaced custard with mascarpone cheese which did not decrease neither texture nor taste. The whole dessert is very delicious. Enjoy!

 

two baking sheets

 

 Ingredients for meringue layers:

  • 250 g hazelnuts
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • pinch of salt

Cream:

  • 8 dried dates
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese*
  • 350 ml whipping cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (powder)
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)

 

* use real Italian mascarpone cheese without corn starch

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray.

Spread nuts on the baking tray. Roast for 10-12 minutes until starts to smell pretty. Remove nuts from the oven and place them in a sheet of paper towel. Peel their skin off by scratching one by another throw the towel. Process in a food processor until meal. In a medium bowl mix them with icing sugar and corn starch.

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). On two sheets of parchment paper draw two circles using dinner plate as a stencil (the diameter about 9 inch). Place paper sheets onto baking trays.

Beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar (1 tablespoon at the time) and beat on high speed until stiff glossy mixture and all sugar consumed. Turn off the mixer and fold in nuts with icing sugar. Mix gently with rubber spatula. Divide mixture into half and spread each portion on baking sheets on drawn circles. Bake for 45 minutes. Check the meringues after 15 minutes, if they get brown to quickly decrease oven temperature to 285°F. Meringues are ready if they are dry to the touch and could be easy removed from paper. Turn off the oven and leave them inside to cool for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make cream: blend dates until thick paste. Add some water to have thick but liquid mixture. Whip the cream until stiff peaks. Gradually add (1 tablespoon at the time): mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons dates’ paste, icing sugar, coffee powder and liquor.

Gently remove meringues off the paper. Place one on the serving plate. Fill the piping bag ended with star (1M) nozzle with the coffee cream. Pipe large rosettes on the meringue layer, one by one. If some cream left pipe the second layer on made rosettes.  Cover with the second meringue layer and dust with cocoa powder. This dessert is the best on the next day as the meringues get slightly moist and are easy to slice.

 

 

Category: Meringues/macarons.

Tags: coffee, dates, glutenfree, hazelnut, mascarpone.