Saturday, January 31, 2015

Delicious, gluten and lactose free Kumquat cake!

In my last post I mentioned that after the Christmas break I´m looking for easy recipes to make. Getting back to the daily routine after that rather lengthy break was not easy but with a piece of a cake or tart one gets the push needed to keep going.

I often get inspired to try new recipes by watching the shows of celebrity chefs and cooks. I once saw the elegant Nigella Lawson making a clementine cake and have been wanting to try it ever since, but I never did! This time around, I decided to give it a go as it seemed pretty easy and quite delicious; just what I needed!
I played around a bit with the recipe and substituted the clementines with one of my favorite citrus fruits: Kumquat.

Kumquats are tiny fruits but they pack quite a punch with their intense and refreshing citrus flavor. They are usually eaten whole, as their skin is quite delicate and delicious. They are not the most common fruits around, so if you can't get hold of them use clementines.

This recipe is perfect for those who have lactose and gluten intolerance on top of being really delicious and easy to make. 

For an 18 cm pan you need:
  • 185 g kumquats
  • 25 g olive oil
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 110 g sugar
  • tsp cointreau (optional)
  • 125 ground almond
  • 1/2 tsp BP 
First, put the kumquats in a saucepan and cover them with cold water and cook them until tender which should probably take between 25 to 35 min.  Drain them and let cool a bit. You can remove the seeds if you want but I didn't as the seeds are edible. Blitz the fruits until you have a nice and smooth purée.
Whisk the oil with the sugar, add the eggs one by one and mix well, add the purée and cointreau (if using), and finally the almond flour with the baking powder. 

Pour the mixture in a prepared pan (greased and covered with baking paper) and bake in a preheated oven (180C) for about 30 to 40 min or until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 

You can enjoy this cake with just a dusting of sugar or served with Greek yogurt sweetened with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup!

The cake is so easy yet is so flavorsome that people won't believe how easy it is to make. So next time you want to enjoy  an easy cake, yet are in a hurry, give this cake a try and I guarantee you will love it.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

An Easy Apple and Frangipane Tart

After a short break from all the holidays baking and indulging, I guess it´s time to start baking again.
Even though I´m craving for sweet recipes again but I don´t have the time or the energy right now to bake complicated recipes and I am ready to take shortcuts to satisfy my demanding sweet tooth. 

Thinking of what this easy recipe would be I sifted through the ingredients I would like to see featured and went with apples as my go to baking fruit coupled with a hint of chocolate for more depth of flavor. 
So an apple tart was that easy recipe that could meet my needs especially that I didn't bother making the dough myself. I bought a good quality puff pasty, already rolled, saving me much time and effort. 

As for the filling, I went with the frangipane which I love to use as much as possible. It's very common in French patisserie but I don't know if it's of pure French origins or the Italians have contributed to its elaboration. In all cases, it's a delicious, rich, sweet and nutty filling.  

Now let´s go to the recipe.
For an 18 cm tart pan you need:
  • 1 pack of good quality puff pastry 
  • 1 small egg at room temperature
  • 50 g of ground almonds or any other nut you like (I used a mix of almonds and hazelnuts)
  • 50 g white sugar
  • 50 g soft butter
  • dash of salt
  • tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 apple cored, I didn´t bother peeling it and I used the pink lady variety
  • Some dark chocolate and cinnamon
First cover your pan with the puff pastry, prick it with a fork, cover it with parchment paper and put some weight in the middle (beans, chickpeas or whatever) and bake in a preheated (180C) oven till the edges are golden, remove the parchment and bake until the middle is also crisp and golden. Let it cool a bit.

Meanwhile, mix the butter with the sugar and salt, add the egg and the vanilla and mix well, then add the nuts and combine, pour the mixture over the baked puff pastry, then arrange the wedges of apple over the mixture. 
Grate some chocolate over the apple (the quantity is up to you) and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 
Bake the tart for between 15 to 20 min in a preheated oven (180C). The frangipane will rise a bit and cover the apples. The tart is done when the frangipane has a nice golden color and feels set. Don't over bake it as the mixture will dry out and you lose that special taste and texture of the filling. 

So when you have little time to spare but don't feel like baking and prepping for hours, try this tart and you're in for a sweet surprise!