Monday, April 29, 2013

Koninginnedag 2013 - Queen´s Day & Poffertjes (Mini Dutch Pancakes)

Queen's Day is going to be special this year for the Dutch. It is the last one for a while, since on January 28th, 2013,  Queen Beatrix announced her abdication on April 30th, 2013 in favour of her son, Willem-Alexander. Tomorrow, on April 30th, 2013, she will abdicate the throne after 33 years. On the same day, the new King, her son Willem-Alexander, will be inaugurated, which means next year it will be King´s Day. Also, the date will be changed from April 30th to April 27th, which is the birthday of Willem-Alexander. The ceremonies for the inauguration will take place at the Royal Palace at Dam Square and the Nieuwe Kerk.

Queen's Day, Queensday or Koninginnedag (as the Dutch call it), is a national holiday in the Netherlands. On this day, the Dutch celebrate the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix's birthday is not on that date, but on January 31st. April 30th was the birthday of her mother, Queen Juliana. Queen Beatrix wanted to continue celebrating Koninginnedag on that date as a mark of respect to her mother.

This special holiday is also a typical occasion for the world-famous "orange craze or madness", in Dutch, "oranjegekte". The color orange is a ubiquitous sight, referring to the name of the royal family, the House of Orange. On this special day, everywhere you go, you will see orange banners, orange colored foods and drinks as well as people dressed in orange.

We spent a lot of time in the Netherlands as we like everything about this wonderful country. I have blogged about some wonderful places to visit in the Netherlands such as the utterly delightful Dille&Kamille kitchen supply store in Middleburg, the heavenly Boekhandel Selexy Dominicanen bookstore and the traditional Blanche Dael coffee roasting company in Maastricht and I have also posted a recipe for utterly delicious traditional Stroopkoeken cookies. So, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this special day by baking a wonderful Dutch treat, namely little Dutch pancakes, also called Poffertjes.

Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch treat. These small, fluffy pancakes, are typically made with yeast and buckwheat as well as all purpose flour and baked in a special Poffertjes Pan (poffertjespan). This specialty pan is either made of cast iron (that is the one I use), copper, or in a non-stock pan. Whatever the material of the pan, it usually has sixteen shallow indentations in the bottom. When you prepare Poffertjes, you should always use a Poffertjes Pan, but if you do not own one you could always use a regular pan or even an aebleskiver pan.

Traditionally, Poffertjes are served with powdered sugar and butter, and sometimes syrup. They are often served as a delicious afternoon snack or as dessert. When the weather turns cold, temporary stalls selling Poffertjes are quite popular, and sell portions containing one or two dozens of these little Dutch pancakes. Usually the cook prepares them fresh while you are watching and will serve these delicate treats to you on a small cardboard plate together with a small disposable fork.

Poffertjes (Mini Dutch Pancakes)

serves about four 

  • 1 level tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 100 grams (1 cup) buckwheat flour 
  • 100 grams (1 cup) AP (plain) flour 
  • 2 eggs (L), organic or free range
  • 1 tsp superfine (caster) sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (I use sea salt)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm milk (250 ml)
  • unsalted butter for frying the pancakes
  • some more butter and some powdered sugar for serving (optional) - you can also serve some syrup or fresh fruit alongside

  • a specialty Poffertjes Pan (or other frying pan)
  • soft brush for buttering the pan
  • two small forks for turning the Poffertjes in the pan
  • a plastic squeeze bottle 

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, the AP (plain) flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, salt and half of  the milk. 
  3. Whisk the ingredienst until they become smooth. 
  4. Then add the remaining milk and whisk some more.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set aside and allow the dough to rest for about an hour (there will be bubbles on the surface). 
  6. Turn on your stove to medium high and heat the Poffertjes pan or simply melt some butter in a frying pan. 
  7. If using a Poffertjes Pan, lightly butter each indentation (unless it is a non-stick pan, then no need for greasing) and pour some batter into each - making sure to fill only to the very rim of each indentation. You can use a plastic squeeze bottle for this step (I do).
  8. After two minutes or as soon as a few bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, use your forks to flip them over and fry some more on the other side (another two minute or so).
  9. If using a regular pan, once the butter sizzles, add a teaspoonful of the batter in circular movements to create the mini pancakes and turn the Poffertjes around as soon as the bottom has set, using two forks.
  10. Transfer the Poffertjes onto a cooling rack and brush with melted butter or serve them with some pats of butter and generously dust with powdered sugar.

These little Dutch pancakes might seem like a lot of work, but they are utterly delicious, they are buttery and have a nutty wholesome flavour from the buckwheat.

If you find a special Poffertjes Pan while travelling in the Netherlands or Belgium, do make sure to buy one and take it home with you.and prepare those delicate little treats.

So whether you are Dutch or just like to celebrate Koninginnedag 2013 and would like to join in the Dutch fun...

...wear orange, eat orange, drink orange, put all your carefully collected Dutch souvenirs on display..

...or invite some friends and prepare some Dutch food for them -  why not consider baking some of these delightful traditional sweet treats that everyone is certain to enjoy!

Eet smakelijk!

Friday, April 26, 2013

FFwD: Swiss Chard Pancakes - Farçous

Today we are preparing Swiss Chard Pancakes for the French Friday with Dorie group.

Swiss chard is a member of the beet family and has large, flat, crinkled green leaves with thick, fleshy stalks and ribs. The taste is rich, complex and robust.

Think of chard almost as two vegetables in one as both the leaves and stems can be used. The stem is often steamed and served separately. The leaves cook more quickly than the stem and can be added to soups, flans, tarts and omelettes and pancakes. Both stem and leaves can be sautéed with cream, butter and cheese.

Swiss chard is popular in Italian and French cooking. Different varieties may have red, pink, white or yellow stalks, ruby chard has red ribs, for example. Alas, around here, although Swiss chard is available year round it is only in season from June to August, and from October to March. Not now. That´s  why I chose to substitute spinach for the Swiss chard, other than that, no changes to the original recipe.

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is generally cooked, but can also be eaten raw when young enough to be tender. It has a bit of a bittersweet taste and its vibrant green color can be used to dye pasta green, for example.

When shopping for fresh spinach,  make sure to look for bright green leaves without yellowing or signs of bruising. Smaller leaves are best for salads, whereas larger ones stand up better to heat. Bear in mind that spinach leaves do shrink quite dramatically, so what looks like an enormous amount won’t be when it’s cooked.

Dorie´s recipe for the very French Swiss Chard Pancakes or farçous, could not be easier. All you need  to do is blend the ingredients, namely, whole milk, AP (plain) flour, fresh eggs, an onion, a shallot, some garlic (I used tender spring garlic), Italian parsley leaves, fresh chives and Swiss chard (or in my case tender spinach leaves), in order to make a pancake batter. Than all you have to do is gently fry them in a pan in some good neutral oil (I used sunflower oil ).

These green pancakes were a huge hit at our house, we ate them plain, as an appetizer, absolutely no need to dress them up whatsoever, other then decorate them in a pretty spring like fashion.

To see, how the other Doristas prepared this French specialty, please click here

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rhubarb Cordial and Rhubarb Almond Bundt - Rhabarber Sirup und Rhabarber-Mandel Kuchen

Rhubarb season has finally arrived!

Nothing says springtime quite like the sweet-tart taste of the year's first rhubarb. It can be baked into breads, pies, cakes, muffins, squares or bars, or stewed to make the best sauce recipes to top ice cream, yogurt or puddings, or it can be made into delectable jams.
Die Rhabarber-Saison hat endlich angefangen!

Nichts symbolisiert den Frühling so sehr wie der süß-herbe Geschmack des ersten Rhabarbers. Man kann mit Rhabarber nicht nur Brot, Kuchen, Pies oder Muffins backen, man kann ihn aber auch dünsten und zu einem wunderbarem Kompott verarbeiten, dass man zu Eis, Joghurt oder Pudding servieren kann, oder man kocht eine köstliche Rhabarber-Marmelade.

Rhubarb makes the best ever dessert crumbles, cobblers, and crisps, whether you use it on its own or pair it with other seasonal fruits such as strawberries! Flavors such as orange, vanilla and lavender all complement rhubarb in the most delightful ways. And because rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but most often treated as a fruit, it is versatile enough to be used for savory recipes and at any meal, including fish, pork, chicken and beef dinners.
Mit Rhabarber kann man die allerbesten Obstaufläufe machen, egal ob man den Rhabarber allein oder zusammen mit anderen saisonalen Früchten wie Erdbeeren kombiniert. Verschiedene Aromen wie Orange, Vanille oder sogar Lavendel ergänzen Rhabarber auf einzigartige Weise. Und weil Rhabarber botanisch gesehen ein Gemüse ist, aber meist als eine Frucht behandelt wird, ist es vielseitig genug um auch als Beilage zu Hauptgerichten mit Fisch, Schweinefleisch, Hähnchen oder Rindfleisch serviert zu werden. Rhabarber schmeckt köstlich wenn man ihn herzhaft zubereitet.

Before you start cooking or baking with this vegetable, wash, trim and remove any stringy outer layers of the rhubarb stems before you use it. And do not forget to discard the leaves as they are poisonous. No matter what you prepare with this wonderful springtime vegetable, remember to cut the stalks into equal-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.

Rhubarb tastes quite refreshing when used as a base for drinks such as Spritzer. To get started, you will need a rhubarb juice or cordial base. So let us start with a recipe for a Rhubarb Cordial.  
Bevor man mit Rhabarber kocht oder backt, sollte man das Gemüse gut waschen und schälen, dabei darauf achten, auf die äußeren Fäden abziehen zu ziehen, sonst wird’s zu bitter - und niemals vergessen die Blätter zu entfernen, da sie giftig sind. Egal, welches Gericht man macht, man sollte den Rhabarber auch immer in gleich große Stücke schneiden, dann gart er auch schön gleichmäßig.

Rhabarber schmeckt sehr erfrischend, wenn man ihn als Basis für Getränke wie Schorlen verwendet. Und für eine Rhabarber-Schorle braucht man bekanntlich ja Rhabarber-Saft oder Sirup. Also, zunächst ein Rezept für einen Rhabarber-Sirup

Springtime Rhubarb Cordial
makes about one liter

  • 1.5 kg fresh rhubarb stalks, roughly chopped (preferably locally grown and organic)
  • 75 ml water
  • sugar (about 750 grams - depending on the amount of rhubarb juice you made)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, preferably organic (about 75 ml - depending on the amout of juice)
  • cotton muslin cloth or kitchen towel
  • kitchen twine
  • sterilized bootles or jars
For Serving
  • still or sparkling mineral water
  • a few slice of lemon
  • ice cubes (optional)
  1. Place the chopped rhubarb in a pan with about 75 ml water over  low heat. Cook slowly until the juices start coming out of the rhubarb, then turn the heat up a little and continue cooking until completely soft.
  2. Line a large bowl with a piece of clean muslin and place the cooked rhubarb inside. Gather the four corners of the cloth and tie them together with some kitchen twine.
  3. Hang the package over the bowl for a few hours to drain.
  4. Pour the juice into a large measuring cup.
  5. Measure the juice -  for every liter of rhubarb juice, you should add about 750 grams of sugar and 75 ml of lemon juice.
  6. Pour the juice into a pan on a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  7. Turn off the heat just before it starts boiling.
  8. Very carfully pour the syrup into sterilized bottles and seal them.
  9. Let cool completely before serving. Store in a cool place.
  10. When ready to serve the rhubarb cordial,  mix one part rhubarb cordial with three parts mineral water and and garnish such as lemon slices.
Ergibt ungefähr ein Liter

  • 1,5 kg frischer Rhabarber, geschält und geschnitten (vorzugsweise regional oder Bio)
  • 75 ml Wasser
  • 750 Gramm Zucker – je nachdem wieviel Saft man hat
  • 75 ml frisch gepresster Zitronensaft (Bio) – je nachdem wieviel Saft man hat
  • Ein Saft-/Filtertuch
  • Küchengarn
  • Sterilsierte Flaschen
Zum Mischen
  • Stilles Wasser oder Mineralwasser
  • Zitronenscheiben 
  • Eiswürfel (wenn man möchte)
Zubereitung des Rhabarbersirups
  1. Den vorbereiteten Rhabarber gemeinsam mit dem Wasser in einen großen Topf geben. Den Topfinhalt zum Kochen bringen und auf niedriger Hitze solange köcheln lassen, bis die Rhabarberstücke weich sind.
  2. Eine große Schale mit dem Safttuch auslegen, den weichen Rhabarber vorsichtig hinein geben und mit dem Küchenband zubinden.
  3. Das Tuch für einige Stunden oder über Nacht über eine große Schale hängen, damit der gesamte Saft aufgefangen werden kann.
  4. Den Saft in einen Messbecher gießen.
  5. Einen Liter abmessen – für jeden Liter Saft, sollte man 750 Gramm Zucker und 75 ml Zitronensaft hinzufügen.
  6. Den Saft in einen Topf geben, auf mittlerer Hitze erwärmen und umrühren, bis de Zucker vollständig aufgelöst ist.
  7. Den Sirup von der Herdplatte nehmen bevor er anfängt zu kochen.
  8. Vorsichtig den heißen Sirup in die vorbereiteten Flaschen abfüllen und fest verschließen.
  9. Den Sirup auskühlen lassen. An einem kühlen Ort lagern.
  10. Den fertigen Sirup mit stillem Wasser oder Mineralwasser aufgießen. Dabei ein Teil Sirup auf drei Teile Wasser. Mit Zitronenescheiben garnieren.

Once the springtime Rhubarb Cordial has been prepared and is cooled, it is time to bake a fabulous Rhubarb Almond Bundt cake. It contains finely chopped, not ground almonds, homemade vanilla sugar and small cubes of the first springtime rhubarb that I found at the market. This is my kind of delightful, springtime, afternoon cake that really needs only a bit of a dusting of confectioners´ sugar for serving but do feel free to serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Rhubarb Almond Bundt

  • 100 grams rhubarb (about one large stalk), preferably locally grown and organic
  • 125 grams (1 stick plus 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus some more for greasing the baking pan
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp) superfine (caster) sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla sugar, preferably homemade (you can also use 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 eggs (M), organic or free range
  • 200 grams (1.5 cups plus 1 tbsp) AP (plain) flour or white spelt flour, plus some more for flouring the baking pan
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp milk, room temperature
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) finely chopped (not ground) natural almonds
  • a bit of confectioners´ sugar
  • a small Bundt cake from or other small baking pan (700 ml or three cup capacity)
Sobald der Frühlings-Rhabarber-Sirup fertig ist, geht es ans Backen eines kleinen Rhabarber-Mandel-Kuchens. Der Kuchen enthält fein gehackte, nicht gemahlene Mandeln, selbstgemachten Vanillezucker (den kann man selbstverständlich auch ersetzen) und kleine Stücke des ersten Frühlings-Rhabarbers, den ich fand ich auf dem Markt entdeckt habe – so ein kleiner, saftiger Kuchen ist genau die Art von Kuchen, die ich besonders gerne mag. Ein netter Nachmittagskuchen, der wirklich nur ein bisschen Puderzucker vorm dem Servieren braucht. Aber man kann ihn natürlich auch gerne mit ein bisschen geschlagener Sahne oder Vanilleeis genießen.


Zutaten für den Kuchen
  • 100 Gramm Rhabarber (etwa eine große Stange), vorzugsweise regional oder Bio 
  • 125 Gramm ungesalzen Butter, Zimmertemperatur, und etwas zum Einfetten der Form
  • 125 Gramm feinster Zucker
  • 2 TL Bourbon-Vanille-Zucker, selbstgemacht oder gekauft (man kann auch ½ TL reinen Vanille-Extrakt verwenden) 
  • 2 Eier (M), Bio oder Freiland 
  • 200 Gramm Weizenmehl, und etwas zum Mehlieren der Form (man kann auch Dinkelmehl, Typ 630 verwenden)
  • 2 TL Backpulver 
  • eine Prise feines Meersalz 
  • 6 Esslöffel Milch, Zimmertemperatur 
  • 50 Gramm fein gehackte (nicht fein gemahlene) geschälte Mandeln
  • etwas Puderzucker
  • eine kleine Gugelhupf-Backform oder eine andere kleine Backform (etwa 700 ml Inhalt)

  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for a regular oven or 150 degress Celsius (325 Degrees Fahrenheit) for a convection oven.
  2. Butter and flour your mini Bundt pan (if necessary) or other small cake pan, knock out the excess flour. Set aside.
  3. Wash and peel the rhubarb and cut into very small pieces. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and creamy.
  5. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for about one minute after adding each egg.
  7. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk.
  9. Using a rubber spatula, first stir in the finely chopped almonds, then the finely chopped rhubarb.
  10. Fill the prepared cake pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with only moist crumbs attached.
  11. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. 
  12. Turn the cake out and cool completely unless you would like to serve it while still warm.
  13. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
  14. Serve with some rhubarb cordial and tea or coffee.
  1. Den Ofen auf 175 Grad Celsius (Elektro) oder 150 Grad Celsius (Umluft) vorheizen.
  2. Die Kuchenform (falls nötig) mit etwas Butter einfetten und mit Mehl ausstäuben. Das überschüssige Mehl herausklopfen.
  3. Rhabarber waschen, putzen und in kleine Stücke schneiden. Kurz beiseite stellen.
  4. Butter und Zucker mit dem Schneebesen des Handrührgerätes cremig rühren. 
  5. Vanille-Zucker unterrühren.
  6. Eier nacheinander unterrühren. 
  7. In einer Schüssel das Mehl, Backpulver und Salz mischen.
  8. Die Mehlmischung abwechselnd mit der Milch unter die Masse rühren. 
  9. Rhabarber und Mandeln vorsichtig unterheben, das geht am besten mit einem Teigspatel.
  10. Den Teig in die vorbereitete Gugelhupfform geben. Im vorgeheizten Backofen zirka 35 bis 40 Minuten backen (Stäbchenprobe). 
  11. Den Kuchen herausnehmen und zirka 15 Minuten abkühlen lassen. 
  12. Den Kuchen auf ein Kuchengitter stürzen, auskühlen lassen. 
  13. Kurz vor dem Servieren mit Puderzucker bestäuben.
  14. Mit einer Rhabarberschorle und Tee oder Kaffee servieren.

The finely chopped natural almonds give a lovely texture and a great flavor to this cake. The cake is not overly sweet, the finely diced rhubarb is not overpowering but the flavor is still there and pairs well with the hint of vanilla and the sweet finely chopped natural almonds.

This small Rhubarb Almond Bundt makes a lovely dessert served either warm with ice cream, or cold as a teatime cake served with whipped cream, clotted cream or crème fraîche flavored with some more pure vanilla sugar or just on its own, dusting with some icing sugar and served with a nice glass of Rhubarb Cordial.


Backing pan called LURCH Flexi Royal Lüneburg from "Lurch" can be ordered here.
Die fein gehackten Mandeln verleihen diesem Kuchen eine schöne Konsistenz und einen angenehmen Geschmack. Der Kuchen ist nicht allzu süß und der fein gewürfelte Rhabarber verleiht ihm eine feine säuerliche Note, die ganz hervorragend zusammen mit der Vanille und den Mandeln schmeckt.

Wenn man möchte, kann man diesen kleinen Rhabarber-Mandel-Kuchen durchaus auch noch lauwarm servieren, da würde dann ein wenig Vanilleeis sehr gut passen – oder man serviert den Kuchen wenn er abgekühlt ist mit etwas geschlagener Sahne, „clotted cream“ (Rahm) oder Crème Fraîche oder einfach mit etwas Puderzucker bestäubt und zusammen mit einem Glass selbstgemachter Rhabarberschorle.


Backform LURCH Flexi Royal Lüneburg von "Lurch" gibt es hier.

Rhubarb is a funny vegetable. So funny, it thinks it's a fruit.
(The Guardian, January 6, 2007)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Galician Almond Tart - Tarta de Santiago (Galicische Mandeltorte)

Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain is rather famous for being an important destination for religious pilgrims. But Galicia also has its own incredibly delicious tart. Santiago de Compostela gives its name to the almond and lemon tart called Galician Almond Tart or Tarta de Santiago (literally meaning cake of St. James).

The first documented reference dates back to 1577 when Pedro de Porto Carrero visited the University of Santiago. It was a similar recipe but the name was different then, it was called Torta Real, which means Royal Cake.

However it seems like it was not  until the 20th century that the Tarta de Santiago became knownn outside of Galicia. It gained fame thanks to Saint James' Way, which is the pilgramage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrims on this route must have really enjoyed a slice of this tasty Spanish cake after their long journey and upon returning home, are likely to have told their family and friends about it. To this day, the cake is most commonly eaten throughout the month of July as well as the first week of August as the Santiago the Apostle's day is celebrated on the 25th of July.

It is a delightful, light dessert that is relatively easy to make. As mentioned above, the recipe dates back to the middle ages and although there are many subtle variations such as adding orange zest instead of lemon zest, the basic filling of almonds, sugar and eggs has remained unchanged over the years.

Pilgrims and tourists who visit the great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, where the relics of the apostle Saint James are believed to be buried, see the cake in the windows of every pastry shop and restaurant. This wonderful almond tart is traditionally presented by sifting icing sugar…

over a template…

… to reveal the Cross of the Order of Santiago (cruz de Santiago) which gives the tart its Galician name.

The sign of the cross that decorates the top of the tart did not appear until 1924, when Jose Mora Soto from Santiago de Compostela decorated his cakes with the silhouette of Saint James' cross. According to his descendants, he was looking to give the traditional product a different touch. This idea was proved to be so successful that it was copied by other Compostelan pastrycooks and spread throughout the whole of Galicia.

The cake can be baked in many sizes, big and small, thin and thick, over a pastry tart base or without a base.

In Santiago de Compostela it is served in a pastry shell, but the filling holds up as a cake on its own. My deliciously moist and fragrant homey version is baked with a nice shortcrust pastry base. And there is a little cinnamon added, which I think adds a nice and delicate flavor to the lemon zest and almond meal, the two main ingredients of this tart. While there is some flour in the shortcrust pastry, there is no flour in the filling, the beaten eggs provide the only raising agent.

Recipe for the Galician Almond Tart - Tarta de Santiago
(Galicische Mandeltorte)

Ingredients for the Shortcrust pastry
  • 200 grams AP (plain) flour, plus some for dusting
  • 100 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 75 grams superfine (caster) sugar
  • 1 egg (L), free range or organic
  • a bit of cold water

Ingredients for the Almond Filling
  • 5 eggs (L), free range or organic
  • 300 grams superfine (caster) sugar
  • 1 lemon, organic, rind only, grated
  • 300 grams almond meal
  • one pinch ground cinnamon

For decoration
  • some icing sugar

Equipment needed

  • tart pan with a removable bottom or springfrom pan (26 cm diameter)
  • pastry brush

Preparation of the Shortcrust pastry
  1. Pulse the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix together the beaten egg and water. With the motor still running, gradually add the egg and water mixture to the bowl of the food processor a little at a time, until the mixture comes together as a dough.
  3. Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface to form a circle about 32 cm in diameter.
  4. Carefully line a 26 cm tart pan with removable bottom or springform pan with the rolled pastry, then lightly prick (dock) the base with a fork.
  5. Transfer the tart pan to the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  7. When the pastry has chilled, line the tart case with parchment paper and fill it with baking beans.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and beans.
  9. Return the tart pan to the oven for another five minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden brown.
  10. Remove the tart pan from the oven and set aside.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees Celsius.

Preparation of the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and frothy and mixture has doubled in size (about 6 to 8 minutes).
  2. Using a large rubber spatula, carefully fold in the finely grated lemon zest, then the almond meal and cinnamon.
  3. Spoon the almond mixture into the pre-baked tart shell and smooth the top (this is best done with an offset spatula).
  4. Bake the tart in the oven for about 50 minutes or until the filling mixture has set, risen and is pale golden-brown.
  5. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and let cool for about 15 minutes, then lift the tart from the tart pan.
  6. Let the tart cool completely.
  7. If using: cut out the pattern and place on the tart. NOTE: for the template of the Cross of St. James, please see the last picture.
  8. Dust the tart with icing sugar and serve.

This cake is great for serving with a typically Spanish style Café con Leche (coffee with milk). But of course, it also makes the perfect end to any Spanish meal. It is often also often accompanied by a glass of sweet wine or a dessert wine.

My husband had asked me for the longest time to bake this tart - once he had tasted a piece of this traditional Galician pastry while visisting Santiago de Compostela many years ago, he was a real fan. Over the years he would always tell me that this was an almondy, sweet treat with the St. James Cross gracing its top. Finally, this week, I had a chance to bake this Galician specialty and I am quite glad that I did because this is a wonderfully moist almond tart. It looks pretty when served and it is a breeze to prepare. If you want, you can even bake this tart without the shortcrust pastry. And it tastes even better the day after it was baked - as is the case with many cakes containing ground nuts.

It is also noteworthy that in May 2010, the EU gave the Tarta de Santiago the so-called PGI ( protected geographical indication) status within Europe. Meaning that to be called a true Tarta de Santiago for marketing, the entire product must be traditionally manufactured within the specific region of origin.

Following is a template of the Cross of St. James which can be used to decorate this fabulous Galician tart.

Buen Provecho!

Friday, April 19, 2013

FFwD: Cod and Spinach Roulade with wild garlic pesto and tomato sauce

Today we are preparing an elegant Cod and Spinach Roulade for the French Friday with Dorie group.

It is nice to be cooking fish again…

…it is springtime and the first fresh vegetables of the season have appeared in the markets, lending themselves to the preparation of a fresh tomato sauce and wild garlic pesto to accompany the fish roulades.

The tomato-lemon sauce in Dorie´s recipe calls for butter, garlic, tomatoes and the peel from one half preserved lemon. A nice and fruity fresh sauce.

Then onto the preparation of the wild garlic pesto. My very favorite spring pesto of all times. Unlike common cultivated garlic, it is the leaves that are eaten rather than the bulbs and the taste is more delicate too, similar to the flavor of chives. The leaves can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.

Be sure to wash them well - some recipes also call for blanching the leaves for a few minutes in boiling water. The leaves add a subtle, tangy flavor to salads, stir-fries and soups. On the weekend I will be preparing a wild garlic tart with the remaining leaves.

Towards the end of the season they bloom and the white flowers are also edible.

Once the tomato sauce and the pesto were done, it was time to prepare the cod roulades. The filling of the roulades consists of fresh spinach, onion, garlic and the other half of the peel of the preserved lemon. The roulades itself contains cod, egg whites and very cold cream that get processed in the food processor until the ingredients turn into a thick mousse. Then the fish mousse gets spread on some plastic wrap, the spinach filling gets placed on the fish mousse and then all rolled up and steamed for a good ten minutes. After a little rest, I sliced the roulades carefully and served them with the gently heated tomato sauce and a bit of the wild garlic pesto.

In France, roulades are a very common way to prepare fish or thinly cut meat and it is also common to place a filling inside the rolled shape. And I must say that it makes for a very pretty and elegant presentation.

Recipe for the Wild Garlic Pesto (Bärlauch Pesto)

  • 80 grams wild garlic leaves
  • 50 grams Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (or other hard cheese)
  • 50 grams ground almonds (or other nuts such as pine nuts)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus some more for topping up the jar (I used lemon infused olive oil)

  1. Wash the wild garlic leaves and dry them carefully
  2. Finely grate the cheese. 
  3. Grind the almonds in a food processor and add the cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Add about 1/2 of the wild garlic leaves and blend.
  5. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  6. Add the olive oil and blend.
  7. Put in jar and top up with oil so that the pesto is covered and close lid.

To see how well the Cod and Spinach Roulades of all the other Doristas turned out, please click here.

Bon weekend!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesdays with Dorie - Mad about Madeline and Madeleines

Today´s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie group are Madeleines. The recipe for these famous pretty French sponge cakes was contributed by baker extraordinaire Flo Braker.

The Madeleines come in a palette of flavors, ranging from the traditional lemon zest to rose or even orange flower water, vanilla, chocolate, green tea (with Matcha), and, honey. There are even some savory versions containing fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary or even finely grated cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano.

The sign of a fine Madeleine is a little hump, created by leaving the batter to chill and stiffen for at least two hours, and by baking in a hot oven. The batter has a tendency to stick to the traditional shell-shaped metal molds, so you should also remember to butter your molds twice. The cakes also turn out fine in nonstick silicone molds, but they will never color to a crisp golden brown.

For a Proustian moment, savor your Madeleines as he did with a cup of tisane. Although “tisane” refers to herbal teas in general, it is believed that he quite enjoyed dunking his French sponge cakes into a cup of linden blossom tea (infusion de tilleul).

In order to make delicious Madeleines, you will have make a classic sponge cake or génoise using unsalted butter, cake flour, some salt, eggs and pure vanilla extract. And in order to obtain their traditional shape, you will need the above-mentioned traditional Madeleine baking pans. I have regular Madeleine molds and mini Madeleine molds - the mini ones bake in about 5 minutes.

To bake these small French tea cakes, you spoon the batter into the molds, filling them almost to the rim and bake the Madeleines until they are puffed, golden brown, and just starting to pull from the sides of the molds, about 8 to 10 minutes. Note that the peaked centers will be lighter than the rest of the cakes. Turn them out on a rack to cool. They are best eaten warm from the oven, though they may be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

And while enjoying your Madeleines with a steaming cup of linden blossom tea, why not read the delightful book Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, it does not always have be In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), by the famous French author Marcel Proust.

To see how the other Doristas fared with this recipe, please do click here.

The recipe can be found at Katie and Amy´s blog - Counter Dog - "Thank you both for hosting today´s recipe"!


  • "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans available at
  • Madeleine mini baking mold and regular size one from "Gobel" available at
  • Linden blossom tea (Lindenblütentee) from "TeaGschwender" available at