Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This week in the bakery… spring is in the air

This week in the bakery we swapped our ski hats for bandanas (more normal for an artisan bakery. Read more about why we bake in ski gear here). As the weather changes from "jayyyysus what a horrible day!" to "bejaysus what a fine day!" 2 holidays are nipping at our heels - Passover and Easter.

Passover lands first this year. It goes by the Jewish, lunar calendar so won't fall on the same day each year. In brief, Passover is the Jewish holiday that remembers the slavery then exodus of the Hebrews in ancient Egypt. It is so famous that they made a film about it starring Charlton Heston. Learn more about Passover here.

To celebrate, we eat. There are however things we shouldn't eat for Passover including wheat, corn or anything leavened (this is to remember the Hebrews fleeing Egypt in such a rush that there was no time for the bread to rise). Passover cake recipes are therefore made using alternate ingredients. This recipe uses ground almonds, butter and melted chocolate for a gooey, chocolatey and gluten-free cake. This cake is Italian Jewish, and is the very cake I baked for RTÉ last week. 
Sunday at 5:30 on RTÉ One just got awkward

Chocolate Pudding Cake (Budino di Mandorle e Cioccolata)

280g Irish salted butter
260g 70% chocolate
300g ground almond
280g granulated or caster sugar
8 Irish Free Range Eggs, separated

Preheat your oven to 300 / 150 / Gas 2. Prepare a 12" lined baking tin (springform tins don't really work for this) and place the tin in a larger roasting tray. 
Whisk egg whites to a firm peak. Set aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks and sugar until very pale. stream in your melted butter/chocolate mixture. 
Fold in your egg whites in 3 additions. 
Pour the batter into your lined baking tin. Pour water in your roasting tray (this creates a bain marie) and gently place your batter/tin/tray contraption in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Be very careful when removing the cake from the oven because that splashy water will a) be very hot, and b) will make your cake gross if you soak it.
Enjoy the cake hot or cold. 

And now for an Easter recipe, as recommended by This Week in AspicThank you. They were yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmy. The lemon juice balances perfectly with the lavender, preventing the cookies from tasting like potpourri. 

Lemon & Lavender Cookies
adapted from When Harry Met Salad

190g sugar + extra for sprinkling
zest of 1 lemon
4 sprigs / 2 teaspoons dried lavender 
30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
315g plain flour
pinch salt
180g Irish butter, salted. Chilled and cut into small cubes.
1 Free Range Irish egg yolk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

In a food processor, blitz the sugar, lemon zest, and lavender to release all the Springtime aromas (around 1 minute).

Sift the flour, and salt. Add to the food processor and blitz again to combine (a couple of pulses will do). Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mix looks like chunky bread crumbs. Add the lemon juice. Blitz. Add the vanilla. Blitz. Add the egg yolk. Blitz.

Turn your mixture out on to a lightly floured surface and form a sausage/log shape. Wrap in parchment paper and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Or you can continue tomorrow. 

When you're ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 375/190/gas 3. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slice your cookie log into ¼" rounds and space about ½" apart. Bake about 15 minutes, just until the edges started to go golden colored. 


Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 
Dublin 6w, Ireland

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