• Today I have another tart, or very versatile cake in countless variations. I played with my new number shaped cookie cutters but of course you may use another shapes. On the shortbread base we have layers of my beloved frangipane filling (this one is hazelnut black sesame version), fresh figs slices and shortbread numbers. Hazelnuts, sesame and figs create harmonious and balanced composition – the whole taste is just perfect. I suppose it is one of most tasty cakes I have ever baked, you have to try. Enjoy!

     

    1 tart ø 8 inch + 2mini tarts ø 4 inch or 1 classic tart ø 10 inch

     

    Ingredients for base:

    • 2/3 cup softened butter
    • 7 tablespoons icing sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2  cups flour

     Frangipane filling:

    • ½ cup softened butter
    • ½  cup superfine sugar
    • 100 g finely ground hazelnuts (skinned)
    • 2 tablespoon ground black sesame seeds
    • 1 egg

     Adds:

    • 5-6 fresh figs
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

     

     

    Shortbread base: in the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, 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 frangipane filling: mix all ingredients together until became thick and smooth mixture.

    Cooled pastry place on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick square pan size. Fill pan/s with prepared pastry and press to place properly. Pour the frangipane mixture over pastry base and smooth evenly. Put all over figs sliced thinly. Re-roll remaining pastry and cut small shapes you desire. Put them over figs. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl and brush the top of the pastry with. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place the tart/s in the fridge until the oven is heated.

    Bake at 350°F for 20 to 40 minutes (I baked smaller tarts for 20 minutes and the bigger for 35). Cool after baking on a wire rack.


     

    Category: Pastries/tarts.

    Tags:figs, hazelnut, sesame.

  • This is a kind of meringue because the main ingredient are egg whites beaten with sugar and by eating you can feel gently meringue’s crunch. However this is more than just meringue because the egg whites’ foam is filled with nuts, chocolate and wafers. The cake is very light, gently crunchy, a little gooey and very tasty. Yoghurt frosting is slightly sour and matches perfectly with this cake not so sweet like classic meringue. And fresh figs are more than welcome there. Enjoy!

     

    springform pan 9 inch

     

     Ingredients:

    • 1 cup (140 g) hazelnuts
    • 4 egg whites
    • 1 cup (220 g) superfine sugar
    • 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
    • 100 g hazelnuts wafers

     Frosting:

    • 250 g Greek yoghurt, natural
    • 100 ml whipping cream
    • ¼ cup icing sugar
    • 2 tablespoons Baileys liqueur
    • 5-6 fresh figs

     

    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. Set aside ¼ cup peeled nuts for decoration. Chop finely remain nuts. In a medium bowl mix them with chopped chocolate and wafers broken into small pieces.

    Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Lock the base in 9 inch springform pan upside down. Grease and line base and sides.

    Beat egg whites and ¼ cup sugar with an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Add remaining sugar and beat on high speed for 8 minutes until dissolved. Fold in nuts with chocolate and wafers. Mix gently with rubber spatula. Spoon mixture into pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

    Make frosting: beat yoghurt, cream, icing sugar and Baileys liqueur with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

    Remove cake from pan, transfer to a serving plate. Spread the top with frosting. Cut figs into wedges and place onto the frosting. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.


     

    Category: Meringues/macarons.

    Tags: chocolate, figs, hazelnuts.

  • Stollen is traditional German Christmas cake. It is a yeast dough with plenty of dried fruits, marzipan and icing sugar on the top. Dried fruits are firstly soaked in strong liquor which gives the specific savour and then kneaded into dough for even and generous distribution. After baking the cake is repeatedly and rich sprinkled with icing sugar for snowy look. The whole cake is very tasty and contrary to appearances not very sweet. Dried fruit protect the cake against drying and it safes the freshness up to three weeks (however in my home it lasted for three days only). Enjoy!

     

    2 pieces

     

     Dough:

    • 2 ¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour
    • 4 teaspoons dried yeast
    • 125 ml lukewarm milk
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, soften
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Filling:

    • ½ cup raisins
    • ½ cup golden raisins
    • ¼ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup dried cherries
    • 8 dried figs (black mission)
    • ¾ cup Brandy
    • 1/3 cup Rum
    • zest of 1 orange
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 150 g raw marzipan masse

    Icing:

    • ¾  cup icing sugar
    • ¼ cup butter, melted

     

    The day before: in a medium bowl place both raisins, dried cranberries and cherries and figs cut into small pieces. Pour over Brandy and Rum, cover and leave for overnight.

    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, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix with the hook attachment on medium speed gradually adding butter (one tablespoon at the time) until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes). 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.

    Grease and line with parchment paper large baking sheet.

    Place the dough on a floured surface and flatten slightly with hands. Drain tightly soaked fruits and place them all over the dough. Start to knead the dough in order to incorporate all the fruit in. Divide the dough into half. Roll out each half into 9x13 inch oval shape. Divide the marzipan into half. Shape each into roll about 12 inch long. Place one marzipan on the first dough oval and fold the dough covering the marzipan but do not go to the end of the dough (you should become asymmetric shape partially two-ply, partially single-ply). Repeat your work with the second piece of dough and second marzipan half. Place both cakes on prepared sheet. Let stand in a warm place for 15-20 minutes to rest and preheat oven to 350°F.  Brush tops with melted butter and bake for 30-35 minutes until light brown in colour. After baking immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle richly with icing sugar. Before serving sprinkle with icing sugar.

     

     

    Category: Yeast cakes.

    Tags: Christmas, cranberry, figs, marzipan, raisins, yeast.

  • 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.

  • I have never thought I can be interested in making vegan treats. I usually bake ‘normal’ cakes and do not care about using only plant based ingredients. But since I have two books from Virpi Mikkonen I started to try some vegan recipes. And I can say these healthy sweets are really tasty. Maybe I will not become declared vegan, not today at least, but I find these truffles truly delicious and I enjoy them very much. Oh, and remember, licorice is sweet, not spicy.

     

    about 25 pieces

     

     Ingredients:

    • ½ cup almonds
    • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
    •  5 tablespoons black sesame seeds
    • 4 dried figs, stemmed
    • 2 prunes, pitted
    • 1 tablespoon licorice powder
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 2 tablespoon dark agave syrup
    • pinch of salt

     Chocolate icing:

    • ½ cup raw cocoa nibs
    • 1 teaspoon coco nut oil
    • 1 tablespoon (or more) honey
    • pinch of salt

     Top decorating:

    • licorice powder
    • black sesame seeds

     

     

    Grind almonds in a food procesor to fine crumble. Cut figs and prunes to small parts using kitchen scissors. Add to the almonds. Add all remaining ingredients and process to a smooth dough. You can add more of licorice or sweetener if you like. Form small balls of the dough. Place in a freezer for few minutes to set.

    Make the chocolate icing: melt cocoa nibs with coconut oil to a liquid. Add sweetener and salt.

    Remove balls from the freezer and using toothpick dip each in chocolate icing. Sprinkle with licorice powder or sesame seeds. Place again in the freezer for 15 minutes until icing is set. Keep in the fridge.

     

     

     

     

    The recipe comes from 'It's a pleasure' book, a little modified by me.

    Category: Desserts/icecream.

    Tags: almonds, chocolate, cocoa, coconut, dates, glutenfree.