Flower hand pies with black currants

Hand pies are usually baked as round or rectangular shaped cookies. I decided to shape them as flowers for more fun and Summer styling. I filled them with black currants fruits because I was able to buy some and the taste is amazing. Black currant is like no other fruit – is sour, tangy, dry with deep flavour. It is a perfect fruit for baking or jams. The pastry and filling are very simple but at the same time special thanks to black currants. If you cannot get them you may bake with blueberries or raspberries but of course the taste will be different. However it will be still a delightful dessert. Enjoy!

 

about 30 pieces (depending on cutter size)

 

Ingredients for the base:

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

Filling:

  • 200 g black currants
  • ¼ - 1/3 cup sugar

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoons turbinado 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 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 filling: In a bowl mix washed fruits and sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your taste and the fruits’ sourness.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick piece. Cut out flowers with cookie cutter. Re-roll the remaining pastry. Cut out flowers as the pastry last. On the half of flowers cut out smaller flowers. Make egg wash whisking together egg and milk. Place the filling on the flowers without holes leaving empty border around outer edges. Brush edges with egg wash and cover each flower with filling with one flower with a hole. Brush the top of each flower with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and put the tray to the fridge until the oven is heated.

Bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes (until the pastry is golden brown darker around edges). Cool after baking on a wire rack.


 

Category: Pastries/tarts.

Tags: black currant.

Mint loaf with red currants

Quick and easy tea cake perfect for an ‘at home’ afternoon. I used what I had in my garden and created the loaf with mint and red currants. These two flavours are a good pair thanks to their cooling and refreshing notes. If you are mint fan you will love it. The mint is very clear detectable and red currants add a hint of sourness. There is no lots of fruits to avoid over moisturizing the dough but you can still feel them. It is light Summer cake for relaxing tea. Enjoy!

 

smaller loaf pan (mine 8 x 4 inch)

 

Ingredients:

  • ¾  cup (170 g) butter, melted
  • ¾  cup (150 g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons mint extract (optional, for more intensive flavour)
  • ½ cup (125 ml) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼  cup (65 ml) gin
  • 1 ½  cups (240 g) all purpose flour
  • ¾  cup (120 g) spelt flour
  • 1 ½  teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 g fresh red currants

Icing:

  • 2-3 tablespoons warm water
  • ½ cup(100 g) icing sugar
  • some red currants
  • mint leaves

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the pan and line with parchment paper.

In a bowl of a stand mixer stir together melted butter, sugar, mint leaves and mint extract (if used). In a separated small bowl slightly beat eggs with a fork. Add eggs, milk and gin to the butter mixture and stir (or mix) until combined. Add both flours, baking powder and salt and mix until incorporated. Stir in red currants, mix gently with rubber spatula, do not use mixer. Spoon the cake mixture to the pan and  bake for about 1 hour (until the tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean). Leave in the pan until cool (preferably overnight – the cake is best next day). Once cooled remove from the pan.

Make icing: mix icing sugar and water until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Pour over the cake, decorate with currants and mint leaves.


 
 
 
 

Category: Tea- and bundtcakes.

Tags: mint, redcurrant.

Lavender tart with apricots

The combo of apricots and lavender is a baking classic. These flavours match themselves perfectly and are use together for many ways. In the last year I baked shortbread tart with the apricot lavender filling (here). It was delicious. This year I baked shortbread lavender tart with apricot filling. This time lavender is a part of pastry not filling. It is even better. The same ingredients, two different cakes. The same flavours, different taste experience. I highly recommend to try. Enjoy!

 

1 tart 10 inch

 

Ingredients for the base:

  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 7 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2  cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon dried lavender petals (ground to the powder)

Filling:

  • 2 lbs (880 g) fresh apricots
  • 3 ½ oz (100 g) almond flour
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
  • ¼  cup (50 g) butter, softened
  • 1 egg

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoons turbinado/raw cane sugar

 

Shortbread base: in the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg and lavender, 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.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick piece. Fill pan with prepared pastry and press to place properly. Re-roll the remaining pastry.

Make the filling: beat all ingredients (except the apricots) together to thick smooth paste. Spread this paste over the pastry on the bottom of the pan. Wash apricots, remove pits, cut into thin slices. Arrange all slices over the almond paste in the pan. Starting at the outer edge shape the rosette over the bottom then repeat and make another layer of slices. You should have three or four layers of fruits.  

Cut out flowers (or other shapes of choice) from remaining pastry and arrange them over the filling. Beat the egg with milk in a small bowl and brush the top of the pastry with. Sprinkle with turbinado/raw cane sugar. Place the tart in the fridge until the oven is heated.

Bake at 400°F/200°C for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 350°F/180°C and bake for further 20-25 minutes (until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling). Cool after baking on a wire rack.


 

Category: Pastries/tarts.

Tags: apricots, lavender.

Blue Japanese milk bread

Milk bread originates from Japan. It is soft fluffy bread, challah like but less buttery. It consists secret ingredient: Tangzhong which is flour-milk paste and guarantees freshness and moisture for many days. After I baked this bread in bicoloured version (here) I tried the blue one. Blue bread – sounds incredible, right? The colour which is an effect of adding butterfly pea powder (also known as a blue tea) surprised me with its intensity. Except the skin which changed to brown in the oven the whole bread is intensive and unbelievable blue. The butterfly pea powder does not change the taste – it is only the feast for the eyes. Bread tastes like fluffy, buttery challah. Enjoy!

 

standard loaf pan

 

Dough:

  • 3 cups 2 tablespoons (500 g) bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ¾  cup (180 ml) lukewarm milk
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butterfly pea powder

Tangzhong:

  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) bread flour
  • 3 ½ oz (100 ml) milk

Top:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

 

 

Make Tangzhong: place in a saucepan flour and milk and stirring constantly heat on a medium heat until thickens to custard consistency. Let cool to the room temperature.

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, butterfly pea powder, remaining sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture and Tangzhong. Mixing on medium speed gradually add butter. Knead until dough is smooth (5-6 minutes). Once the dough is ready place it to the oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours to rest and rise.

Grease loaf pan with butter.

If you use standard American loaf pan (9 x 5 inch) divide dough into three equal pieces.

If you use standard European loaf pan (11 x 4 inch/28 x 10-11 cm) divide dough into four equal pieces.

Working with one piece at the time shape all pieces as that: roll out into an oval 5 x 9 inch. Fold right long side to the center. Fold the left long side over them. Roll out again into 5 x 9 inch oval. Roll into log starting with one short side. Arrange your logs in the pan: putting one by one across the pan.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Let stand pan in a warm place for 20-30 minutes to puff and rise (the dough should be over the pan height).

Make egg wash: in a small bowl beat egg and milk. Brush top of the loaf.

Bake to the ‘clean skewer’ for 30 minutes (after 20 minutes cover with aluminium foil to avoid burning).  Remove from pan just after baking and cool on a wire rack.


 
 

Category: Breads.

Tags: superfood, yeast.

Cobbler

Cobbler is a Summer dessert with fruits and dough. It is much easier and quicker to prepare than tart, pie or galette. We mix fruits with sugar and lemon juice, put them into baking dish and cover with scoops of dough. There is no kneading, cooling, rolling, waiting nor blind baking required. The cobbler’s taste is similar to pastry-fruit cakes and often served with ice cream. You may use fruits of your choice – bigger need to be core and chopped and berries are ready on demand. Enjoy!

 

baking porcelain dish 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm)

 

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 ½ cups (240 g) all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) whipping cream

Filling:

  • fresh fruits of your choice – I added:
  • 250 g blackberries
  • 250 g blueberries
  • 250 g strawberries
  • ½ - 1 cup sugar (100-200 g ) – depending on taste and fruit sweetness – I added 2/3 cup (130 g)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch/corn flour

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 375 °F/190°C. Grease baking dish with butter.

Wash fruits, slice bigger once, remove pits. Place to the bowl, add sugar, lemon juice and corn starch. Shake the bowl gently several times to toss fruits. Put the mixture into baking dish.

In a bowl of a stand mixer mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cream and mix just until combined. You may prepare the dough also mixing all with a spoon. Spoon the dough mixture over the fruits in a rough splash style way. Brush with a cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Put the dish to the preheated oven placing it on the baking sheet (the filling will drip). Bake for 45-55 minutes until the dough is golden brown around the edges and filling is bubbling.

Serve warm or cooled, with ice cream or plain.


 

 

Category: Fruit cakes.

Tags: blackberry, blueberry, strawberry.

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