Short buttery pastries stuffed with two types of filling. You’ll find a spicy date filling and a walnut and honey one. Both are delicious, but you can choose just one if you prefer. Maamoul come from the Levant and they make great festive cookies.
Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove in the summer? Not me. But I do like a summery bake or two. These raspberry rose friands are a good compromise. They’re full of summer flavour, quick to prepare and only take twenty minutes in the oven.
A rose by any other name would taste as sweet, to misquote Shakespeare. We have one rose bush in the garden, it’s in a shady spot and rarely produces more than two or three blooms. But what fabulous blooms they are. The rose is red with a heavy scent and it makes fantastic rose syrup. Now I have a dehydrator, I thought I’d have a go at drying rose petals this year.
Crisp and crumbly nutty shortbread type biscuits flavoured with a little cardamom, cinnamon and fragrant rose. These pistachio biscuits are perfect for the festive season and ideal as a homemade Christmas gift.
A deliciously fragrant and colourful rose syrup that captures the spirit of summer. If you have access to highly scented unsprayed roses, follow this super simple recipe. The syrup keeps really well and has many uses.
A Basbousa is an Egyptian classic. It’s a dense semolina yoghurt cake flavoured with burnt butter and honey and doused with rose, lemon and cardamom syrup. You’ll find it in every pastry shop in Egypt and it’s often served with cream. But it’s not very easy to find here in the UK, so here’s an easy recipe for you to make your own.
This Middle Eastern inspired honey & walnut yogurt semolina cake is dense but deliciously nutty. It’s soaked in a sweet citrus and rose honey syrup and is even nicer when served with a good dollop of clotted cream. The cake’s not only flavoursome, but very simple to make.
Spring, it’s really here at last. Despite the rubbish weather we’ve been having, the hedges are alive with primroses, slightly later than usual but absolutely spectacular. Talking of spectacular flowers, I was recently given a punnet of edible ones from a local grower. The Flower Mill, based just up the road from us (in an old flour mill as it happens), grows chemical free flowers for decoration and also for eating. It’s primarily a mail order business, so anyone in the UK can enjoy bouquets and posies of seasonal Cornish flowers as well as edible flowers to decorate cakes, salads or whatever else grabs their fancy. My punnet contained a collection of borage flowers, violas and different types of primulas. What fun – it was time to play.
Kate has chosen fairy cakes, cupcakes and muffins for this month’s Tea Time Treats and fairy cakes seemed just the thing to showcase the beautiful flowers I’d received. As I like to bake seasonally where I can, rhubarb seemed to be an obvious choice. Now, I don’t know why, but for some reason we’ve been unable to grow rhubarb down at our plot, it used to flourish on our old site. Luckily, my mother grows some in her garden, so it was all systems go.
This is how I made:
Rhubarb, Rose & White chocolate Fairy Cakes
- Peeled and finely chopped 1 stick rhubarb (about 80g).
- Chopped 50g white chocolate (G&B).
- Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 90g golden caster sugar.
- Beat in one duck egg.
- Sifted in 100g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white), 50g ground almonds, 1 scant teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of bicarbonate of soda.
- Added 1 tbsp yogurt and 1 tsp orange flower water.
- Stirred in the chocolate and rhubarb.
- Spooned into 12 fairy cake cases.
- Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
- Turned out onto a wire rack and left to cool.
- Stewed a few stems of chopped rhubarb without sugar which made a beautiful pink juice.
- Sifted 100g icing sugar into a bowl.
- Added 1 tsp orange flower water and poured in enough of the rhubarb juice to make a slightly runny icing.
- Spooned over the top of the cakes.
- With gay abandon, decorated the tops with beautiful edible flowers.
Due to the almonds, these veered more towards the dense texture than light and spongy, but, oh, they were delicious. Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that works particularly well in cakes, giving bursts of tartness and flavour in amongst the sweetness. The rhubarb juice gave the icing a tinge of pink which I was pleased with. I used the remaining rhubarb in a breakfast smoothie the following day and it was so good I’m now craving more.
As it happened, the cake cases came away from the cakes, making them look really tatty, so I removed them all together. Thank goodness for the flowers, which made these otherwise plain looking cakes into the real deal – fairy cakes of elegance and beauty. The flowers all had their own flavours and were not only good to look at but were good to eat too. In retrospect I regret not putting some of them into ice-cube trays, but I shall remember that for another time. Cool summer drinks would surely be enhanced with a flower or two floating on the surface. I was told that the flowers can be kept for 2-3 days in the fridge, but I was surprised at just how long they lasted out of the fridge and on the cakes – it was several hours before they showed any sign of wilting.
You can check out the range of options available at The Flower Mill.
As edible flowers abound, I am also entering these into Herbs on Saturday with Karen of Lavender and Lovage. It just so happens that this month’s prize is Cooking with Edible Flowers.
As I’ve made everything from scratch as usual, I’m sending these off to Made with Love Mondays with Javelin Warrior.
And finally, because rhubarb is in season and I haven’t submitted anything for ages, I’m entering these into Simple & in Season with Ren of Fabulicious Food.
|Violet and Rose Fairy Cakes|
If you like baking or just like eating home baked goodies, then World Baking Day is for you. This year it falls on Sunday the 19th of May. As a World Baking Day ambassador, I was sent a pretty pastel Cath Kidston cake stand and cupcake case set to showcase a recipe or two. I already had a cake planned for Mother’s Day, but still wanted to bake something pretty, floral and spring like to grace my new cake stand.
A while ago, I won a bottle of violet & rose liqueur at a raffle and I’ve been waiting for just such an occasion as this to do something with it. To be honest, it tastes a bit like medicine on its own, but added to a cake it gives an exotic perfumed flavour of Parma violets and rose.
This is how I made:
Violet and Rose White Chocolate Fairy Cakes
- Melted 60g good quality white chocolate with vanilla over a pan of hot water and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 150g Stork margarine with 150g caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Added the white chocolate and creamed some more.
- Beat in two duck eggs one at a time (large hens eggs would be fine).
- Sifted in 150g plain flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and stirred gently in.
- Added 2 tbsp violet and rose liqueur and stirred gently until just combined.
- Spooned into 12 fairy cakes cases and six mini cases, filling to about 3/4 of the way up.
- Baked at 180C for 20 minutes, then left on a wire rack to cool.
- Melted 40g good quality white chocolate with vanilla over a pan of hot water and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 50g Stork margarine with 130g icing sugar.
- Beat in the chocolate.
- Beat in 2 tbsp violet and rose liqueur.
- Spread over the cooled cakes and topped with crystallised violets.
Sweet and sticky, these blackcurrant rose honey cakes are thoroughly delicious. Known as nonnettes in France, they are individual egg-free cakes. This gives them a delightfully smooth texture. Little chunks of caramelised white chocolate just add to the fun, but can be left out if preferred.