A second recipe in one week! Well, that can only mean that I feel really good 😉 I recently switched thesis supervisor and it’s done me a lot of good – I’m actually writing again and the end of my degree is finally in sight! The weather has also been great lately which has done something to lift my spirits somehow – I was never a weather sensitive person but this year the cold has bothered me more than usual. With sun also comes fresh, juicy strawberries to make lovely bakes with so it’s a win-win!
These tarts are made with what is called “sloffendeeg” in Dutch. It’s a dough made for tarts (or “koeken” as we call them) like “kano’s“, “sloffen” and “rondo’s” and it’s filled with almond paste. They are a staple item in Dutch bakeries! The dough results in bakes that are crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside, which I think is absolutely perfect. You can top it with all sorts of things, a “rondo” can be topped with only a blanched almond but you can use creme pat, swiss cream, whipped cream or anything you fancy (I’ve even seen apple pie filling on these!). For this tart I have paired creme pat with some plump strawberries.
Recipe Dutch Strawberry Tarts (Rondo’s)
For 5 tarts
Tools: 5 pastry rings 8 cm in diameter, 2,5cm in height (or higher)
unsalted butter, softened
a drop of
vanilla pod (seeds of)
For the dough, put the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, egg yolk, zest and salt in a bowl and knead into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 60 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180C/355F. Grease the pastry rings. Roll the dough out to 7-8mm thickness. Cut out the tart shapes with the baking rings. Place pastry rounds on baking sheet and place baking rings around it.
Make the almond paste by first mixing the sugar and almond flour, and then adding the almond extract and as much egg as is needed to make a slack mixture. Spread or pipe almond paste on the pastry rings, leaving a 1 cm border. Bake for about 20 mins. Once baked, immediately remove baking rings (be careful!) and leave to cool.
For the creme pat, mix the egg yolks, half of the sugar, the flour and the cornstarch in a bowl. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix the milk, vanilla seeds and the other half of the sugar. Bring milk mixture to a boil, remove from the fire and add half of it to the egg yolk mixture while continuously stirring. Pour this back into the milk and heat while continuously stirring. Boil for 2 minutes.
Leave cream to cool for 10 minutes. Then mix in the butter. Leave to cool completely with cling film over the surface of the cream.
Once everything has cooled, pipe pastry cream onto each tart and place strawberries on top. Enjoy!
We’ve had some excellent weather the past couple of weeks here in the Netherlands and the rhubarb in our garden is absolutely flourishing, as are the other crops and flowers. So, I thought it was about time I got some use out of it! I chose to bake a simple but delicious rhubarb cake. The cake batter is flavored with vanilla to balance out the tartness of the rhubarb. I recommend using vanilla paste or extract as vanilla pods are very expensive right now due to a very bad vanilla harvest and many other factors. I like to sprinkle on some extra sugar on top as well as some shaved almonds, but this is optional. You can also change it up with other nuts and flavors (for example a bit of almond extract or some chopped hazelnuts)!
Rhubarb Cake Recipe
Tools: 20x20cm cake tin
200 grams rhubarb
130 grams caster sugar
130 grams softened butter
3 small eggs or 2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
130 grams flour
5 grams baking powder
a handful of shaved almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.
2. Grease and flour the cake tin.
3. To prepare the rhubarb, cut into even sized pieces and wash. Leave to dry in a colander or pat dry with a kitchen towel.
4. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until incorporated. Don’t overbeat!
5. Pour the batter into the cake tin and level it out with a spatula. Arrange the rhubarb on top, don’t push them into the batter too far. Sprinkle with some extra sugar and the shaved almonds if preferred.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool, then serve. This cake is especially tasty with chantilly cream or a dollop of custard!
This past Thursday it was our king’s birthday and since it was too cold to sell second-hand items on the market I decided I would celebrate by baking a fruity, creamy cake. The fruit on the top is arranged in such a way that it looks like the Dutch flag (red, white and blue) but of course, you can change it to your own flag if your country uses the same colors in its flag (or use different fruits).
Recipe Dutch Flag Whipped Cream Cake
Tools: 20cm springform cake tin, icing knife, mixer with whisk attachment, baking parchment, pastry bag fitted with 1M/star nozzle
zest of 1 orange
whipping cream stabilizer (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/355F. Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment, grease the sides of the tin.
Prepare a stainless steel or glass bowl and the whisk attachment(s) by rubbing it down with lemon juice or vinegar. This is to remove any remnants of grease. Then start whisking the egg whites at high speed. When the whites start to foam, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Then turn down to medium-low speed and add the orange zest. Whisk for another 2 minutes. Turn the mixer off and fold the egg yolks into the mixture. Don’t over stir! In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch. Sift into the egg mixture and fold in. Again, be careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared cake tin. If you see any clusters of flour while pouring, lightly stir them in with a fork. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (start checking at 20 minutes to be safe). When baked, immediately release from the tin and leave to stand on a wire rack with the baking parchment still on the bottom.
In the meanwhile, prepare your strawberries and whipped cream. Slice the strawberries up, set aside. For the whipped cream, add the sugar to the cream, start whisking at medium speed. While whisking, slowly add the stabilizer (if using). Whisk until you have a firm cream. Set aside in the refrigerator.
When the cake has cooled completely, remove the baking parchment and place on a nice plate/cake stand. Cut in three parts horizontally. Cover one half with whipped cream, add strawberries and blueberries, making sure you have enough left for the top and sides when you’re done. Cover the berries with another layer of cream, then place the second layer of the cake on that. Cover the second layer of cake with the strawberry jam, place the top of the cake on top. Cover the whole cake in whipped cream, arrange strawberries and blueberries to make a Dutch flag. Then fill your pastry bag with star nozzle and pipe rosettes all around the edge of the cake. Place a strawberry and blueberry on each of the rosettes, alternating between berries. Stick the almond shavings to the sides of the cake. Enjoy!
Apparently, you can bake icing with the cookie! Yeah, I wasn’t aware of that either.. It adds a really nice extra texture to a cookie and it looks really great as well. I used a meringue icing on these tangy lemon cookies and boy, do they look delicate!
These cookies are absolutely perfect for a high tea spread, or as Easter is coming up: an Easter dessert table. They are super easy to make with children too!
Lemon and Raspberry Cookies with Baked Meringue Icing Recipe
Source: adapted from Sweet Dreams magazine 2, 2017
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150 grams icing sugar
a couple of drops of pink food coloring (optional)
3 tablespoons crumbled dried raspberries
Mix the butter, sugar, egg yolk and lemon zest together until combined. Add the flour and knead until a soft dough is formed. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Whip the 2 egg whites until you have a very stiff mixture. Fold in the baking powder, icing sugar and pink food coloring until combined.
Roll out the dough to 4 mm thickness. Cut out fluted rounds with the cookie cutter, re-roll and cut as needed. Place rounds on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Fill a piping bag fit with a small round nozzle with the meringue mixture. Ice the cookies with this mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are a golden brown.
Focaccia is a really easy bread to bake, so good to start with if you’ve never attempted it before. This particular dough is soft, stretchy and will result in a super fluffy bread. You need strong white bread flour and semolina flour. Semolina flour is used to make pasta but also goes very well in bread. It has a high protein content so will create great gluten development. This bread goes great with some hearty soup and also does well at parties with some olive oil to dip in. You can choose whatever topping you like, I’ve also seen yummy focaccias with mozzarella, onions and parmesan. Enjoy!
300 grams strong white bread flour
150 grams semolina flour
300 grams water 20-25 C
45 grams olive oil
4,5 grams instant yeast
8 grams salt
150 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
dried or fresh mixed Italian herbs
fine sea salt
more olive oil
Combine flours, water, olive oil, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Make sure the yeast and salt don’t touch directly. Knead until the dough passes the windowpane test.
Prepare a 13×9 inch baking tray by greasing it with olive oil and lining it with baking parchment. Shape the dough into a ball using oiled hands and place in the baking tray. Cover with greased clingfilm. Leave to proof for 45-60 minutes.
When proofed for the first time, cover the whole bottom of the baking tray with the dough. Push the dough out into every nook and cranny with oiled hands. Cover with greased clingfilm and proof for 20 minutes.
When proofed for the second time, use oiled fingers to create dimples in the dough. Push the cherry tomatoes into the dough skin side down. Sprinkle with herbs, sea salt and lastly with some olive oil. Cover with greased clingfilm and proof another 30 minutes.
In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C.
Once the dough has done proofing the third time place the baking tray in the oven and bake the focaccia for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Take out of the oven, leave in the tray for 5 minutes, then lift it out with the baking parchment and place on a wire rack to cool. It’s best eaten fresh but you can freeze the bread easily in a paper bag.
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