pomelo mint and rose tart

I used to usually just have this impression of mint as a garnish. Something like a sprig of mint and a dusting of icing sugar.

That changed with this tart. Now every time I imagine a cake or a tart or any dessert really (all frequent fantasies), they always seem to come heaping with mint.

The most recent was a layered blueberry (we have some frozen blueberries right now and they’ve been dwelling heavily on my mind) meringue cake with chamomile cream, lemon and ack! piles of mint. Oh well. I’ll grow out of it–maybe.

Mint is so lovely and works with anything; I can understand why one might want to put a few leaves on any sort of dessert. At the same time, mint is so flavourful, it can’t always be relegated to just a garnish, with only a small sprig. It’s so refreshing to have a generous amount of fresh mint in anything–savoury or sweet. (Another thing: I would take piles of basil on anything, sweet or savoury, if we had any.)

I really enjoyed this tart. It was not too sweet at all, nor was it too sour (which I was a bit concerned about due to previous experience that things made with yoghurt were too sour).

The tart was, in a word, refreshing. It was moist and a bit sweet and a bit tart. It was not too rich either, and the combination of rose and fresh mint was really lovely.

This is also a recipe that I’ve spent a bit more time on, making it a couple times. There isn’t too much to it, but I really wanted to make sure it worked. Buckwheat pastry, thin almond sponge to catch a rose and mint syrup, then very rich rosewater yoghurt, pomelo, and mint.

I did some experimentation with the amount of buckwheat in the pastry. Generally the idea I’ve gotten is that more is better! Though, while I liked the addition flavour, the more buckwheat you use, the more difficult the pastry is to work with. This has a moderate amount.

I also tried increasing the cake layer. A thicker cake layer absorbs more syrup, however it also becomes more distracting and a bit too noticeable. I prefer it with only a thin cake, no thicker than the layer of yoghurt over top. It takes up a bit of syrup and provides sweetness to the tart, but it’s not all big and clunky and too cake-y.

If you’re making it ahead of time, don’t assemble it too soon. The mint gradually wilts and the yoghurt absorbs into the cake and dried up a bit on the top after a day. If all the components are prepared ahead of time, it’s very quick to put together–just smear on the yoghurt, scatter with pre-peeled pomelo pieces and mint leaves.

I also submitted it to the Food52 tart competition which I heard about via Suzanne‘s blog. The whole thing was a bit nerve-wracking. Submitting a recipe amongst all the others (really incredible sounding, all of them!) doesn’t mean that it will be tried and so it’s not exactly that. What is different though, is that I’ve presented a recipe with the express purpose of possibly being tried.

I made this blog to act as reference for myself. It has everything all nicely organized and searchable…though with so many things unpublished, I usually search in my drafts, not actually on the blog.

I think everything here is fairly accurate. I try to give clear instructions of what I do and accurate measurements. I also try to provide an evaluation of how something turned out that is honest; and all of this is mostly for me. I just don’t blog thinking about others trying to replicate what I’ve made.

(Not that I don’t want anyone to try anything! I love any sort of interaction–particularly if someone took inspiration from something I made–perhaps the format or the flavours, and worked that into their own food.)

This time it was different. This is a recipe that I tested with other people in mind and it makes me very nervous. It such a responsibility! It doesn’t matter whether anyone tries it, what’s making me nervous is that it’s supposed to work. It’s supposed to be trustworthy.

Is the pastry easy enough to handle? I like a really thin pastry to keep it delicate and not too overwhelming, but rolling it out thinly makes it more difficult to line the pan. I also make just enough to line the pan with only a few scraps…maybe I should make more so it’s easier.

Is the sponge alright? Is it clear enough that one would need to whisk the eggs enough? (I’ve had a horrible sponge cake experience where I was too lazy to whisk the eggs sufficiently). Did I adequately describe the steps?

Will this work with other yoghurts? What about yoghurt more sour than the one I used? In that case will the tart be too tart? Same with pomelo? A sweet pomelo? A sour pomelo? What about the rosewater…what if it’s a lot stronger than the rosewater I use or if it’s a lot weaker?

Oh gosh what if in a hypothetical scenario a hypothetical person made this and they didn’t like it? That would be devastating and frustrating–for both of us!

Anyways, to alleviate my stress, I’m trying something a bit different with this post. I’ve seen this before in some other blogs, providing a bit of a walk through the recipe with some photos, and then providing the actual recipe below. Normally I intersperse progress photos with miscellaneous chitchat, but this time I’ll be on topic!

First off, roll out that dough. Very thin I’m afraid, it’s around 1/8″ if I’ve estimated correctly.

There’ll be just enough to line it. Press the pieces together if need be.

Blind bake it. While the tart shell is going, you can start on the cake.

Okay, so here are those eggs I’m so worried about. See, all nice and pale and very fluffy. Wait here at this step until the tart crust is nearly done, refresh the eggs to ensure they’re still voluminous, then start folding in the dry ingredients.

Fold, fold, fold in the dry.

Okay, all done.

Now the milk is folded in too. I think my narration is getting a bit dry.

Into the tart while it’s still somewhat warm.

While this bakes, you can move onto making the syrup.

So. This is what I mean when I say roll the mint between your hands. It gets all a bit mangled but also very aromatic.

Let steep.

While that’s steeping (and while the cake is still in there baking) you may as well start on the yoghurt. There’s not too much to do here, but this is my favourite (very fatty) yoghurt.

Whisk in the sugar and rosewater, and well that was quick.

This is from a little while ago, but a bit on opening up a pomelo.

Huzzah!

Let the cake cool before starting. Brush with the syrup.

Then put the yoghurt on top.

Plenty of pomelo. Mounds of mint. A bit of dried rose petals if you like and have them on hand.

All done!

pomelo, rose and mint tart

Makes 1 9″ tart. 

buckwheat sable

Adapted from sweet pastry from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. 

60 g butter

1/8 tsp salt

10 g sugar (~ 1 tbsp)

90 g all purpose

30 g buckwheat flour

25 g beaten egg (1/2 a large egg)

Cream butter with salt and sugar. Add the flours and cream into the butter until everything is crumbly. Add the egg and squish together until evenly mixed and it forms a cohesive dough. Wrap in plastic and chill.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface very thinly (1/8″ thick) and line a 9″ tart pan. It’s a bit delicate so you may have to transfer the dough in pieces and press them together. Line with a piece of parchment paper, fill with a baking weight (I used 1 cup uncooked rice), and blind bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the parchment and baking weight. If the pastry still appears moist, you can bake it for another few minutes.

 

spongecake

Adapted from NouraNi’s swiss roll cake.

20 g flour

7 g ground almond

1 large egg (50 g)

24 g icing sugar

1 tbsp milk

Begin working on the cake as the pastry bakes.

Whisk together the flour, ground almond, and salt.

Beat the egg until frothy, then add the icing sugar and beat until thick and white. The eggs will have more than doubled in volume. The eggs will not hold any peaks, but when a bit the egg mixture is dripped from a whisk onto the top, it will stay there for a good second or so before melding back into the eggs in the bowl. Sift the flour mixture over top (add in any almonds that do not pass through the sieve) and fold in. Fold in the milk.

Scrape the batter onto the baked tart shell and continue to bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned on top.

Let cool on a wire rack.

 

mint rose syrup

1/4 c water

1 tbsp sugar (12 g)

2 sprigs mint for

~3/8 tsp rosewater (or to taste, depending on the strength of your rosewater)

Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until boiling. Roll the mint sprigs in your hands until they are well bruised, then add to the water. Cover and remove from the heat and let steep for seven minutes.

Pull out the mint sprig and a bit of rosewater.

 

rosewater yoghurt

180 g thick 10% m.f yoghurt

11 g icing sugar (powdered/confectioner’s sugar)

1/2 tsp rosewater

Whisk the yoghurt with a bit of icing sugar to sweeten (you may want to add more or less to taste) and the rosewater.

 

assembly

1/2 pomelo

a handful of mint sprigs

dried rose petals

Peel the membrane from the pomelo segments and remove the seeds. Break the segments into smaller pieces.

Lightly brush the rose and mint syrup over the cooled sponge–you will only use a bit. Let soak in before spreading the rosewater yoghurt over the sponge.

Arrange the pomelo over the yoghurt, scatter with a generous quantity of mint leaves and a few dried rose petals if desired.

golden beet, chamomile & rye iced cake

Brian Jacques’s Redwall was one of the beloved series of my younger reading days.

They were, in some ways incredibly repetitive and problematic (for example, how an individual’s moral compass is almost invariably determined by their species–foxes were sly, mice were brave, stoats were mostly mean minions–somehow I never noticed the issues with this until I read the Wikipedia article and thought about it), but they were also insatiably good in other respects. They were absorbing, in the same way that some fantasy series are, characterized by strong world building as you become privy to another history, set of norms and traditions–and stereotypes.

Jacques’s books have always paid significant attention to food. Celebrations of any sort were synonymous with generous feasts, and it was always around food that the characters got a chance to sit down a bond. And he spared no expense in his descriptions, clearly humble but very generous affairs.

 

“When I was a young fellow, food was short because of World War II. Everything was on ration, and lots of things folk liked were just unobtainable. So, there I was, reading through my mother’s old cookery books, my mouth watering at the coloured illustrations of delicious recipes. And the books I’d read in the library…. It really annoyed me when I’d come to a passage where somebody ate a marvellous feast. There never seemed to be any description of it. Afterward the hero would ride off on his white stallion, thanking the King for the wonderful dinner. Wait! What did it taste like? What did it look like? How was it made? Did he really enjoy it?”

-Brian Jacques, The Redwall Cookbook

Understandably, and to the delight of most Redwall fans I’m sure, Jacques thus decided to compensate in his own writing. It is rare to find a series that so candidly and consistently pays attention to the food. While it may not be vital to the plot, the food he describes helps develop the atmosphere (I always love the cozy meals shared in the abbey). Besides, food becomes a bit of a characterization (though it may lean more towards stereotyping). The shrews always make bubble and squeak (I think, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), the moles are brewers of october beer and strawberry fizz, and hares just eat any darn thing.

This post comes as I recently realized that he passed a few years ago. It was a bit of a shock–after having read so many of his books, and yet always finding a new Redwall novel (though it could also be that I just didn’t remember and I’ve been infinitely cycling through the series…), Brian Jacques seemed an infinitely prolific writer, and Redwall, a series that would never end. It always appealed to me that Redwall Abbey was written with permanence, a structure that was a symbol of stability and endurance (fought over and inevitably recovered by the end of each novel). And if Jacques wasn’t writing about anthropomorphic woodland animals, he might be writing about an immortal boy and his dog. While it finally has ended, his novels continue to have an enduring character, and, regardless, I’m sure they’ll always remain as timeless and constant as the abbey itself.

With that in mind, I think that this is the sort of cake that could be served in the winter months with tea in the gatehouse, for when the scones and clotted cream and strawberries must make way for the heartier root vegetables stored in the cellar.

The cake is quite similar to the last set of yellow beet muffins I made, though I prefer this version. I reduced the amount of beet so it is not so strong tasting, and, of course, altered the accompanying flavours. The cake is only lightly sweetened, allowing the icing to steal the show and make it into a bit more of a treat (anything with icing automatically becomes a bit more special).

golden beet, chamomile, and rye iced cake

Adapted from a previous adaptation of a smitten kitchen carrot cake. Makes one large loaf.

240 mL milk

chamomile tea

75 g rye flour

215 g all purpose flour

pinch salt

2 tsp baking powder

250 g golden beets

115 g butter, melted

135 g brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat milk until steaming, and stir in around 1 1/2 tsp chamomile tea or 1/2 tea bag. Let steep and cool for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with a parchment sling and butter any remaining exposed surfaces.

Whisk together flours, salt, baking powder. Grate the beets on the fine holes of of a box grater.

Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring until combined, then the beets. Lastly, add the flour mixture all at once and stir until just combined.

Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for around 1 hour or until an inserted skewer is removed with only some crumbs clinging.

 

to ice

100 g icing sugar

strong brewed chamomile tea

dried jasmine flowers

Whisk the icing sugar with enough tea to form a glaze of the desired consistency. Pour over the cooled cake, sprinkle with some dried jasmine flowers, and let set.

spiced linzer cookies

I had some (a lot) of trouble writing this post because I’ve been feeling so lethargic lately and I probably shouldn’t spend a post writing about my lethargy. Especially when I feel too lethargic to write it.

Okay, guess what, I just came up with a topic.

I’ll write about cookies. After all, that will make for a very smooth transition into talking about, well, the Linzer cookies that are the actual feature of this post.

(This preamble here is more the unwanted bonus thrown in for kicks.)

Winter holidays (yes, I’m as always a bit slow, it’s already passed) are synonymous with cookies to me, or at least the idea of cookies. Cookies are small and easy to eat but still fairly indulgent. The size makes them perfect for sharing and as long as they’re relatively sturdy, they travel well as gifts. Of course these umbrella statements only apply to some sorts of cookies as they’re quite the diverse group.

These Linzer cookies were my (and The Cousin’s) contribution to the holiday baking. I ended up feeling very lethargic (in the cookie-making department at least) after these so my dream of a large variety of cookies did not come to fruition (luckily for those wanting cookies, my sister picked up the slack).

I’ve been admiring a number of gorgeous Linzer cookies, small tender cookies hiding colourful spots of jam. It seems like they all pop out of their hibernation during the winter holidays just as I go into hibernation.

I found them surprisingly time consuming, but probably because it’s been a while since I last made cookies, particularly cookies where you need to chill the dough before rolling. I froze it, of course, since I was impatient.

 

The second challenge came in finding the appropriate cookie cutters. My cousin overcame my own functional fixedness-plagued mindset, coming up with the clever idea of using some piping tips as a punch for the centre of the cookies. Until that I had spent half an hour looking through all the bottles and containers we had to find a suitably sized bottle cap, but everything was verging on the side of much-too-big. The piping tips gave a considerable amount of choice in size.

Of course I had to end up making two types of cookies, one with almond and one with walnut. And of course, though this part was easier, I had to use a number of different fillings.

Those filled with chestnut puree do not last as long (the moisture from the puree softens the cookie, and the puree eventually dries out), but are quite nice–the moist filling is good with a crumbly cookie and it is only slightly sweet.

Tart jams work nicely as the filling (ligonberry was my favourite), and the overall result isn’t dry or overwhelming sweet as I worried. Perhaps because the air is rather dry at the moment, but after a day or two the jam dries out until it is pleasantly chewy (rather like those cream and jam filled boxed cookies you can buy in the store) but much less sweet. I would have liked to have made the cookies thinner, but even with just a thin layer of jam, the cookies don’t seem to overwhelm the jam, are are just a buttery, nutty and crumbly partner.

cardamom linzer cookies filled with cloudberry and ligonberry jam

Makes 15-20 filled assembled cookies. The cookie recipe is adapted from Spice in the City’s linzer cookies (I converted Naina’s recipe into weights, but you can look at the original for volume measurements!). 

cardamom, lemon and almond cookie

1 stick butter (1/4 lb)

50 g granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

35 g ground almond

zest of 1/2 lemon

60 g spelt flour

80 g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp cardamom

good 1-2 pinches salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and sugar until light, beat in the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Mix in the lemon zest and ground almond.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill completely.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface until thin. Cut out circles (using a small glass or other cutter), and a second smaller circle (using a piping tip) from the centre of half the rounds. Collect the scraps and reroll (if too warm, chill before doing this), and continue until all the dough is used. The cookies don’t spread too much so they can be placed fairly close together and chilled until firm again before baking.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms and perhaps the tops as well. Let cool on the tray.

 

assembly

cloudberry jam

ligonberry jam

icing sugar

Press the cloudberry jam through a sieve to remove the seeds, and the ligonberry jam if it is too lumpy as well.

Turn the solid cookies over and spread each with a dollop of jam.

Dust the tops of cutout cookies with icing sugar, and use to sandwich the jam.

 

walnut linzer cookies filled with apricot and chestnut jam

Makes 15-20 assembled cookies. The cookie recipe is also adapted from Spice in the City’s linzer cookies

walnut and anise pepper cookie

35 g walnuts

1 stick butter (1/4 lb)

50 g granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp ground star anise

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp or so of  freshly ground black pepper

30 g red fife flour

30 g whole wheat flour

80 g all purpose flour

good 1-2 pinches salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

Dry toast the walnuts in a pan until fragrant. Let cool, then grind in the bowl of a food processor with a small spoonful of cornstarch.

Cream the butter and sugar until light, beat in the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Mix in the ground walnuts.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill completely.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface until thin. Cut out circles, and a second smaller circle from the centre of half the rounds. Collect the scraps and reroll (if too warm, chill before doing this), and continue until all the dough is used. The cookies don’t spread too much so they can be placed fairly close together and chilled until firm again before baking.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms and perhaps the tops as well. Let cool on the tray.

 

assembly

smooth chestnut puree sweetened to taste (I barely sweetened it; the cookies were sufficient)

apricot jam

icing sugar

Spread a small spoonful of chestnut puree or apricot jam in a thin layer over the underside of an uncut cookie. Dust the tops of cutout cookies with icing sugar, and use to sandwich the jam.

spinach and egg breads

Did you know, it’s the hundredth Fiesta Friday right now? That’s right.

100!

The first Fiesta Friday I joined was Fiesta Friday #56, so I could say that I’ve been around (very off and on) for 44 Fiesta Fridays! Fiesta Friday was already well-established by the time I joined, so I need to thank all the Fiesta Friday partygoers who arrived at the very beginning, those who came before me, and those after me as well for helping such a lovely community to flourish and root itself.

It’s always a spectacular party every week and these two weeks, even more so. Angie, the Novice Gardener, is joined by four cohosts, Judi of Cooking with Aunt Juju, Mollie, the Frugal Hausfrau, Steffi of Ginger and Bread, and Suzanne of A Pug in the Kitchen.

I also got Instagram! This is the first extension of the blog. I can already feel myself becoming super-social (though I don’t know if I’ll ever use it–okay, now that I’ve said this, I will absolutely post at least once).

(And if you have Instagram, let me know what your username is! I’ve been looking through the blogs I follow and I think I’ve found quite a few…though now I’m doubting myself and maybe I should have gotten Pinterest instead? It seems like more people have Pinterest…)

I’ve always been pretty bad (reluctant?) with social media. I eventually capitulated to Facebook in my last year of high school, which was a good choice as everyone uses it for group projects. Apart from group-project-days, I have a carefully cultivated reputation of Facebook absence (the importance of maintaining this reputation is a useful excuse for never using it…and it is a reputation quite easily maintained by never logging in).

I also briefly used Twitter during my time blogging for a youth blogging site. I was not very good at using it–I only ever used one hashtag and tended to forget it existed (I was eventually called out on my poor twitterage and stepped up a bit). My few and strange tweets were followed by just a few and strange twitterers (an avocado import company and a gamer).

It was a short relationship. Once I graduated high school and was no longer youthful enough for the youth blogging site, I also completely stopped using Twitter.

I suppose blogging counts as social media as well…yet it feels different because I look at my blog as a building towards something. Every post is supposed to fit together into a larger record of food-related activities. However, if I treat social media an extension of the blog, it’s also something cumulative.

At the same time, to prevent it from being redundant, I should also be seeing social media as something different, not just an abbreviated version of tentimestea. I do have nearly as many drafts as I currently have posts (44 to 56?and so likely, depending on how the queue sorts itself out, a number of the 2016 posts will actually be from 2015)…so at the moment I’m thinking Instagram could be the more current outlet whereas this blog will just trundle along months later.

Other thoughts on using social media? I’m sure this has already been a well-discussed topic, but until now I’ve mostly distanced myself from it, so I’d welcome any additional thoughts on what platforms you use and which ones you like. 

These egg breads are based off the cheese and egg breads (acharuli khachapuri) from Jerusalem by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi. The original used halloumi, feta and ricotta, but I’ve changed the filling around to include a generous amount of wilted spinach, some herbs, and a mixture of the cheeses we had in the fridge.

The breads are quite nice with eggs or without eggs, but with eggs, it makes for quite a satisfying and filling lunch or breakfast. I smeared the ones without eggs with labneh and some olive oil, which was just as good.

I always forget how much spinach wilts–quite frankly, I think I could have tripled the amount of spinach (which I already did partway through making the breads; at first I began with only a third of the amount I ended up using!) to fill the breads more generously.

The rolled up edges of the bread was my favourite part–it formed thin layers of dough encasing the filling, a bit reminiscent of a very thick and doughy burek.

spinach and egg breads

Adapted from the acharuli khachapuri from Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. The original is a cheese and egg bread. I’ve added spinach, played with the cheeses and flavours in the filling, and of course, converted the dough into a sourdough. 

 

sponge

50 g sourdough starter

50 g flour

50 g water

dough

215 g flour

50 g red fife flour

2.5 g wheat gluten

1/2 tsp salt

90 mL thick yoghurt

90 mL water

1/2 egg

The night before, stir together the flour, water and starter to make the sponge. Let sit overnight.

The next day, whisk the flours, salt and gluten. Add all at once the yoghurt, water, egg and sponge. Knead until it forms a soft dough. Cover and let rise fully.

 

filling & assembly

150 g spinach leaves

olive oil

50 g labneh

35 g soft goat cheese

20 g gruyere

10 g feta

handful parsley

thyme

1 1/2 tsp za’atar

salt and pepper

1/2 egg to glaze

6 eggs or as desired

butter

Heat some olive oil in a pan and wilt the spinach. Let cool slightly and then roughly chop.

Grate the gruyere and crumble the feta into small pieces. Chop the parsley and pick the leaves off the sprigs of thyme. Combine the cheeses, the spinach, the parsley, thyme and za’atar. Add some pepper and season with a bit of salt. Set the filling aside.

Divide the dough into six pieces, roll each into a ball, and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Then, roll each out into a thin circle.

Divide the filling into sixths. Spread one sixth of the filling over each circle of dough. Roll up the opposite sides of the circle two or three times over the filling, and pinch the ends together to make a boat-shaped bread.

Tent the breads loosely with oiled plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for around an hour or until puffed.

Preheat the oven to 425F, with a baking stone on the centre rack. Whisk the half egg with a splash of water and just before baking, brush each bread with egg wash and sprinkle with some additional thyme leaves. Bake the breads for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden.

If you like, at this point crack an egg into the cavity of each bread and return to oven. Bake until the whites are set, but the yolk is (hopefully!) still a bit runny–this took around 10 minutes for me. Turn the breads around part way as when I didn’t, I ended up with some breads with hard yolks and some breads with soft yolks.

Remove, top each with a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Serve right away.

If you don’t use eggs, you may want to smear the inside cavity with an additional spoonful of labneh and a bit of olive oil.