Friday, 26 July 2013

Cherry and Lemon Cream Slice Cseresznyés Lepény

This is a lovely soft buttery pastry jewelled with sweet summer cherries and flavoured with kirsch or cherry liqueur. It's usually served just dusted with icing sugar but this time I added some home-made lemon curd to give it a tangy creaminess. You could serve it with lemon curd mixed with lightly whipped cream too or vanilla cream. Whatever you do it will be a delicious afternoon treat.

100g butter
125g vanilla infused caster sugar (or plain caster sugar and few drops of vanilla essence)
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 tsp kirsch (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
200g refined white spelt flour (or plain flour)
grated zest of a lemon or a lime
100ml milk
400g cherries, stones removed

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the butter and sugar until smooth, light in colour and fluffy. Add the salt, lemon zest, kirsch, eggs and mix well until very smooth. Mix the baking powder with the flour and add it gradually to the mix also adding a little bit of the milk each time until all completely incorporated. Grease and line a 20x30cm brownie tray, pour in the cake mix and spread the cherries on top. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Cool and slice, dust with icing sugar. I cut each slice horizontally and spread a little lemon curd in the middle before sandwiching them together again. But it would be lovely to serve it with some lemon curd flavoured whipped cream too.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Elderflower cordial Bodzaszörp

This is a fragrant, lemony and not too sweet cordial made from the humble elderflower. Plenty to pick from June onwards and it still amazes me how many delicious things you can make with a flower that is free to forage and so abundant this time of year. Make sure you pick elderflowers from bushes protected from pollution, on a dry day. Only pick fully open flowers that have not yet started to drop their petals. Shake the heads so little insects can drop and escape from the flower heads, but don't wash them as it will also wash away some of the fragrant pollen that would give your cordial that distinct lovely scent and flavour. Try to use it as soon as you collected them.
This recipe is for a larger quantity and it makes about 4 litres of cordial. But do half the quantities if you like according to your needs.
I don't use citric acid in my cordials for preserving as I freeze the lot in smaller containers and defrost one at a time, this will keep in the fridge for a few days no problem.

2kg granulated sugar
50 elderflower heads (or more if you prefer a stronger flavour)
4 oranges, thinly sliced
4 lemons, thinly sliced
4 limes, thinly sliced

Put the sugar with 2.5 litres of water into a saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil. Add the elderflower heads and bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat immediately. Put the sliced lemons, limes and oranges into a big bowl or large pot and pour over the hot elderflower syrup. Stir and let it cool. Cover and leave it to infuse for 24 hours. 
Strain through a fine sieve or muslin and store in small plastic bottles or containers in the freezer. If you wish to add citric acid, you will need 50g added at the stage where you mix the liquid with the citrus fruit.
Elderflower cordial makes a fantastic summer drink diluted with water or fizzy water or added to prosecco or champagne. You can boil it down to a thicker syrup too and use it for topping ice creams and puddings. Elderflower cordial can also be a base for ice cream, jellies, flavouring cakes or infusing strawberries in summer desserts. I recently made a lovely gluten free elderflower and blueberry almond cake from Scandilicious Baking it was really excellent. 
Don't forget to revisit these bushes in the autumn when the elderberries are ready to pick. They make excellent jams and preserves full of vitamin C. Here is the link to my favourite elderberry jam recipe.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cherry Cake Cseresznyés Piskóta

A very easy and quick summer cake to make when there are plenty of fresh cherries around. Light as a feather and the almond sprinkling gives it a crunchy topping. Great with afternoon tea.
Cherry or morello cherry sponge cakes are very popular in Hungary and they are made in enormous trays. This is a smaller cake for a regular 23 cm spring form cake tin, but feel free to double the sponge mix if you wish to use a large baking tray.
I also baked a couple of excellent gluten free cakes recently which I will hopefully make again. Both made with ground almonds (or almond flour) and flavoured with elderflower/orange. That reminds me of sharing my recipe for elderflower cordial soon, it's high season for picking them at the moment!

4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
6 tbsp vanilla infused caster sugar (or plain caster sugar)
4 tbsp water
few drops of almond extract
8 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour (or plain flour)
1 tsp baking powder
two handfuls of fresh cherries, stoned
handful of sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the egg yolks with the caster sugar until smooth and pale in colour. Add the water, almond extract and mix well. Add the baking powder and flour gradually and mix well. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold in gently a spoonful at a time until all of it has been incorporated into the sponge mix and it has become light and airy. Pour the mix into a greased and lined spring form tin. Sprinkle over the cherries and then the almonds and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and golden colour. Dust with icing sugar and serve with thick vanilla cream.