Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Blackcurrant and Rose Nonnettes

The letter for this month’s Alpha Bakes is N. Apart from nuts, I could think of nothing else other than Nonnettes and as I haven’t made any of these wonderful eggless French honey cakes for a while, this seemed like a good opportunity. I decided I’d adapt and use half the amount of the original Nonnette recipe to make 12 smaller cakes using my new muffin cases. A half eaten jar of my mother’s delicious blackcurrant jam was sitting in the cupboard and I still had a bit of rose syrup that really needed using up. Blackcurrant and rose proved to be a nice combination as evinced by the blackcurrant, rose and white chocolate ice-cream I made in the summer.

Here’s what I did:

  • Melted 40g unsalted butter in a pan.
  • Added 100g local Cornish honey and 50g light brown sugar.
  • Turned off the heat and added 50g milk and 50g rose syrup.
  • Stirred until smooth then left to cool.
  • Sifted 100g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda into a bowl.
  • Added the grated zest from 1/2 a small orange.
  • Stirred in 25g chopped white chocolate.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in the honey mixture.
  • Stirred until just combined.
  • Divided the mixture between 12 silicone muffin cases and left in my cold kitchen for half an hour.
  • Placed a small teaspoonful of blackcurrant jam on the top of each one.
  • Baked at 180C for 16 minutes.
  • Left to cool
  • Mixed 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar with about a tbsp of rose syrup to form a slightly runny icing.
  • Drizzled these over the cakes whilst they were still slightly warm.

These were as good as I imagined they would be, that is to say, thoroughly delicious. They were sweet, sticky and flavoursome with a lovely smooth texture. The blackcurrant was a good strong flavour and its tartness helped to counteract the overall sweetness. CT was surprised by the little bits of white chocolate, but enjoyed them. Licking fingers is an occupational hazard with these, although CT didn’t seem to be unduly bothered.

I am entering these into Alpha Bakes with Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes as N for Nonnettes.

As October is such a great time to preserve Autumn’s bounty, Kate of What Kate Baked has cleverly chosen preserves for this month’s Tea Time Treats. TTT is co-hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.

Chris over at Cooking Around the World has started a new challenge Bloggers Around the World. Sadly I didn’t manage to join in last month with Germany as the selected country. This month, it’s France so I’m submitting these Nonnettes.

As these honey cakes are eggless, I am also submitting them to Cook Eat Delicious Desserts where the theme this month is honey. It is being hosted this month by Nivedhanam.

Rhubarb & Rose Honey Cakes – Nonnettes

When I found that rhubarb had been picked for the One Ingredient blogging event in April, I so wanted to take part. But our rhubarb was ailing and I just can’t bring myself to buy something that we used to produce in prodigious quantities on our old allotment plot. The other day, however, my mother, called in with stack of rhubarb from her garden – plants we had luckily given her from our old plot. Hooray, the one ingredient challenge might be over, but I could bake with rhubarb. Since I saw the rose and rhubarb combination over at Laura of How to Cook Good Food, I’ve been itching to try it. My only dilemma was in what form? Actually, the dilemma was easily solved;  my one remaining duck egg supplier was attending a wedding this week and I had run out of eggs. An egg free bake was needed. Bingo! Nonnettes it had to be – not exactly a hardship in my experience! Since first trying Nonnettes back in December, I have become enraptured with these very tasty honey cakes. What with Friands as well as the Madeleines I have yet to bake, the French are little cake bakers par excellence.

I was quite excited at coming up with a Nonnette nouvelle. The combination of rose and roasted rhubarb jam has probably never been used before. This in conjunction with some delicious Cornish honey, ought to be irresistible, I thought. As we still had quite a bit of cake in the house from my recent Clandestine Cake Club event, I used half the normal quantities to make six rather than twelve individual cakes.

This is what I did:

  • Chopped up 4 sticks (about 300g) of washed & trimmed rhubarb into 1 cm lengths.
  • Placed these in a greased Pyrex dish and sprinkled a teaspoon of rose water over the top.
  • Spooned 50g cardamom sugar (caster sugar) over the rhubarb.
  • Roasted at 200C for 30 minutes.
  • Left to cool, then spooned into a jar.
  • Melted 40g unsalted butter in a pan.
  • Added 100g local Cornish runny honey and 50g light brown sugar.
  • Turned off the heat and added 50g milk, 40g water and 10g of rhubarb liqueur (homemade) with a tsp of rose water.
  • Stirred until smooth then left to cool.
  • Ground the seeds from two cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar.
  • Sifted 100g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda into a bowl.
  • Added the cardamom and the grated zest from 1/2 a small orange.
  • Stirred in 25g chopped white chocolate.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in the honey mixture.
  • Stirred until all combined.
  • Divided the mixture between 6 buttered muffin moulds and placed in the fridge for an hour.
  • Placed a spoonful of rhubarb jam on the top of each one.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Left to cool
  • Mixed 1 tbsp icing sugar with a little rhubarb liqueur (homemade) and a drop of rose water to form a slightly runny icing.
  • Drizzled these over the cakes whilst they were still warm.

These turned out even better than I could have wished. After the first bite, I was very much regretting making six rather than twelve. They were absolutely scrummy and as CT stated later, tasted French – I think this was a compliment. They had a lovely soft texture which I attribute to the presence of rye flour. The rose made its presence felt but was not in the least overpowering and contrasted well with the distinctive tartness of the rhubarb. The roasted rhubarb jam was a delight in itself and has adorned various slices of toast all this week.

When making these Nonnettes, I had not one, not two, not three, but four blog challenges in mind:

Simple and in Season – a monthly challenge to get us to cook uncomplicated food using seasonal ingredients by Ren of Fabulicious Food. This month it is being guest hosted by Urvashi of The Botanical Baker.

Alpha BakesCaroline Makes and Ros of The more than occasional baker take it in turns to pick a random letter from the alphabet which inspires the theme of the bake. This month Caroline picked H and my H is for Honey Cakes.

Tea Time Treats – the fabulously sugar overloaded monthly tea time party run alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. The theme this month is floral. Rose is my flower of choice, because I love roses as mentioned in previous posts and one of the reasons why I chose Rose as one of the We Should Cocoa challenges.

Made with Love Mondays – Javelin Warrior’s weekly challenge to get everyone making dishes from scratch from Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w / Luv.

SaveSave

White Chocolate Nonnettes and Orange & Poppy Seed Friands

Having seen Phil’s We Should Cocoa entry in the Orange challenge from As Stong As Soup in December, I couldn’t resist making these for my mother’s birthday. Nonnettes, it seems, are little known outside of France. I searched on google for more information and alternative recipes, but Phil’s was the only one I could find in English (I gave up after page 6). The name means “little nuns” and they are a speciality of Dijon in France. They are little spiced honey cakes made with marmalade and rye flour and unusually, no eggs.

(more…)