It’s super-hot these days in St Pete. I know, it sounds weird and inconsistent but this is St Petersburg at its best. The ‘you never know!’ city is sizzling hot at 30’C, the air simply hangs there around you as a dead weight and the humidity is just soaring. Ever experienced heat wave in St Petersburg? If yes, then you’re ready for the jungle 🙂
Before I make a final post in the French trip series (with the already published Isabelle’s Tyropita Baked with Agapi on Strasbourg, A Glimpse of Rhône-Alpes and Cheesy Cauliflower Soufflé and Provence and Tapenade on Crackers) here are some sweet treats we’ve been indulging ourselves with these days.
The website where I found the original recipe some years ago is in ‘maintenance mode’ so I thought I should publish the recipe and share it with everybody cause it’s worth it.
A year ago – the amazing Colours of Summer
Two years ago – Short Post on Short Crusty Baguettes
Scandinavian Almond Twists from rumandreason.com will make super-fragrant chewy buns – you really taste the cardamom! My remarks are in italics.
- 250 ml lukewarm milk
- 1 egg
- 85 g caster sugar – I used regular sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom – I grounded some instead of using powdered cardamom
- 7 g dried yeast – I used instant dried yeast
- 500 g strong white bread flour or strong white wholemeal, or a mixture – I used all-purpose flour
- 75 g unsalted butter at room temperature – I added oil to the dough
- flaked almonds for sprinkling – I omitted them
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 25 g caster sugar – I used brown sugar
- 25 g ground almonds or ground poppy seeds or 2 tsp ground cinnamon – I chose crushed almonds + cinnamon
- Warm the milk slightly. Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the milk a little at a time. Then whisk in the sugar, salt and cardamom.
- Combine in the flour and yeast too to form a dough and knead for 10 minutes, by hand or in a stand mixer. I added oil to the dough as there were no instructions about the butter.
- Leave in a covered bowl to rise until doubled, about 1 hour in a warm kitchen. – I left the dough rise longer.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- Tip the dough onto a work surface and roll out to a 50 x 30 cm rectangle, being fairly brutal. I like the instructions =)
- Spread the softened butter over the whole surface of the dough. Over one side, spread your chosen filling ingredients. Fold over the other bare side of the pastry to sandwich the filling in the middle.
- Cut narrow strips, about 1.5 cm wide, across the shortest edge of the pastry rectangle. Holding an end in each hand, twist in opposite directions to make a helix, then coil up like a snail. Tuck the outside edge underneath and place on the prepared trays. Leave to proof for 20 minutes, or until noticeably puffy.
- Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with flaked almonds if using. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding when tapped underneath (check your biggest ones). Mine were small and ready in 15 minutes.
Result: Quite chewy and thick sugary dough with crunchy nuts. These will survive freezing and thawing just fine!
The next sweet treat is a more summer-time dish, using fruit and less fuss : )
Pear Clafoutis adapted from neo-homesteading.blogspot.com will make a moist custard-like cake with soft pears. Go to the link to see the entire recipe. Here are just my changes:
I used only 2 pears and I did not peel them. I added some oil to the melted butter. I omitted lemon zest. When the cake was ready I sprinkled it with cinnamon.
The author suggests you can swap pears for other fruit or use cherries, blueberries or blackberries, just adjust the baking procedure accordingly.
Result: Pillowy : ) Did not have chance to taste it though but sampled the scrapes from the baking pan! Certainly the dish will be nice with, say, apples although I wouldn’t try it with berries.
The last recipe in this sweet treat collection is not that much into summer as it uses jam – but then what else if there are still no fresh berries?
Jelly Doughnut Muffins adapted from www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com will make sweet and really nice muffins. Click on the link to see the original recipe.
My changes: Just omitted the melted butter + sugar topping (I think the muffins filled with jam are sweet enough!) and chose cranberry jam as the filling.
Remarks: The ‘filling’ procedure was easy as the muffins are well-shaped and do not crumble when you cut a hole in the centre. I must say that was a bit of fun : ) And after some effort you are entitled to eat the muffin ‘holes’ with the remaining jam!
I opted for the cranberry jam which had some whole berries inside. With the time the jam juices start spreading into the muffin from the inside which adds more moisture to it.
Result: Rich and sweet. Use your favourite jam to customize them 🙂 The sugary crust on the top of the muffins makes a nice contrast with the jam filling.
The muffins themselves are tasty even without the jam filling. You can use the recipe to add your personal twist to it – like adding some extra ingredients.
There’s been another jam muffins recipe on my blog recently – see Tea Muffins with Blueberry Jam. Aren’t these lovely?
The finishing post on Strasbourg is coming.