Usually a benefit, but occasionally an occupational hazard, matcha’s eye-catching shade of green means that it will become instantly the most recognizable flavour, regardless of what else is in a dessert. I observed this the first time I made this genmaicha-infused cake, when I added some matcha to the cake soaking liquid for what I thought was just some fun inconsequential green colour to hint at the tea in the genmaicha.
“Is it a matcha cake?” my friend asked while inspecting a slice of cake. “Sort of,” I explained that most of the flavour comes from genmaicha, with just a bit of matcha in there for colour.
He took a bite. “Great matcha flavour.” he replied.
Anyways… in a subsequent cake attempt I refrained from adding any matcha to the soak to avoid the intense suggestive power of matcha, instead leaving it the rather nice straw colour from the genmaicha. I did sprinkle of bit of matcha over top though, because, well, it’s such a pretty colour…
This cake is a riff off of a tres leches cake, though with some coconut milk in the mix and the soaking liquid infused with plenty of genmaicha. I made this during the summer so I added some sliced white peaches on top – the milkiness of the cake and thick layer of cream lends itself well to fruit! and maybe I was thinking a bit of white peach oolong tea – but it is very much optional and can be substituted for whatever fruit you have on hand, or none at all.
90g condensed milk, or more to taste for sweetness
4 large eggs
50g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
200g heavy cream, whipped
optional: 1-2 white peaches, cut into wedges (or other fruit!)
Combine the milk and genmaicha in a container. Place the fridge overnight or up to 24h for a cold infusion. The next day strain the milk to remove the tea – you should end up with about 275g of infused milk. Whisk in the coconut milk and condensed milk and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Very lightly butter an 8″ square pan – I buttered it, then wiped over the pan with a tissue to leave only a trace of butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until frothy, sprinkle in the sugar, and then continue whipping until very light and fluffy. They are done when you can draw a figure-eight with a ribbon of batter flowing from the whisk, and it stays on the surface of the batter for at least 10 seconds.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift a third of the flour over the egg whites and fold in until no streaks or lumps of flour remain. Repeat twice more until all the flour is incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out with a small offset spatula. Bake the cake for around 20 minutes or until browned and an inserted skewer is removed clean. Let cool. Poke the cake all over every two centimetres with a skewer right down to the bottom of the pan.
Slowly pour over the cake, being sure to get the sides and middle, adding more milk as it is absorbed. Cover and refrigerate until chilled completely.
When ready to serve, whip the cream and spread overtop of the cake in a smooth layer. Dust with matcha and top with peach slices or other fruit you have on hand. To cut, use a sharp serrated knife and gentle sawing motion to cut through the peaches.
Here’s one thing: my blog dwells happily in the comfortable depths of obscurity. But this year during rhubarb season, 99% of my traffic starting coming through pinterest for a single recipe. To be clear, minuscule traffic and hardly anything relative to what a popular blog would receive, but it was still a bit nerve-wracking! It was a recipe I was happy with and had tested a couple times. People on the internet that made it and told me about it were happy. Still, it did remind me that any recipe has the (slim) potential to be seen and made by others, and that there is a some responsibility that comes with that. I haven’t been trying to share nonsense recipes of course – but I will certainly never be doing that now.
Admittedly, up until the last couple of years, there were some old questionable recipes lying around. When I first started tentimestea – as a still-somewhat-teenager! that excuses everything, right? – it was to keep track of what I baked. That included disasters, which at the time were quite relishing to post given how terrible descriptions are much more exciting to write than good ones. I transitioned sharing more proper recipes years ago, but there were still those legacy recipes lying around. The posts remain, but the super old recipes I felt unsure about have been redacted to avoid anyone innocently coming across a recipe for disaster fully recorded in all its gory detail. (Well, you can still read the gory details, you just can’t replicate it!)
But all this talk of traffic and responsibility aside – first and foremost, the blog is still about having fun with baking – because that’s what has kept me around for eight years.
onto the recipe: baked alaska!
As is sort of-semi-tradition-esque-ish, I make an annual (out of season) rhubarb cake. This year it’s baked alaska, a suitably retro recipe for an aging blog like mine. I made mine with a strawberry rhubarb sorbet layered over a vanilla elderflower semifreddo, all seated on an almond cake base, covered in meringue and some roasted fruit.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this cake! It’s fruit and cream (and yes, some rather sweet meringue) all stacked together in a refreshing slice. The amount of work is makes for a decent project: multiple components, but none too tricky, and a relatively fuss-free assembly. You could also use this recipe as a template for whatever adaptations you want to make – another fruit sorbet, infuse some different flavours into the semifreddo, and so forth.
strawberry rhubarb sorbet: This is probably my favourite component of the cake – I would definitely eat it on its own! Made from strained rhubarb juice and strawberry puree, it’s the refreshing fruity counterpoint in this dessert. Sorbet usually needs a certain amount of sugar for texture, but it’s not overly sweet given the tartness from the rhubarb. I also helped keep it soft and sliceable a little splash of elderflower liqueur (more on that below).
vanilla elderflower semifreddo: I knew I wanted to have a bit of alcohol in the cake if only to keep it a bit softer and sliceable. Even better if it’s part of the flavour profile! I used a slightly lemony elderflower liqueur, St. Germaine, to go along with the fruit and vanilla. You can certainly use whatever alcohol you prefer (or leave it out entirely for an alcohol free version – it will just be a bit harder and may need to sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften before slicing). Semifreddo is a foamy parfait made of whipped eggs and cream, making it a lot airier than ice cream and also a bit more manageable to eat when it comes to a generous slice. I also like using semifreddo as a component in layered frozen desserts as it doesn’t need to be churned; it can save a bit of time if you use a freezer canister which needs to be washed and refrozen for each churn.
almond financier base: I found that the texture of frozen financier is quite good – chewy and toothsome, but certainly still soft enough to bite – from this ice cream. Here it was recruited as the base for the cake.
meringue: I usually don’t care much for meringue, but I discovered it’s surprisingly suitable for frozen desserts! Not only do you get to dramatically toast it for contrast with the cold filling, but meringue doesn’t harden when frozen (unlike, say, whipped cream) and also helps to insulate the cake to prevent it from melting too quickly on the counter. While I used raw egg whites, there are alternatives for food safety to reduce salmonella risk. I’d suggest trying something like an Italian meringue, in which boiling sugar is whipped in beaten egg whites, or Swiss meringue, in which the eggs and sugar are heated together before whipping. These methods can be a bit trickier though, so depending on what you’re comfortable with, simply whipping egg whites and sugar together is easiest.
roasted strawberries and rhubarb: I sort of modeled the look of my baked alaska after a pavlova, and so to finish it off, a garnish of roasted strawberries and rhubarb.
a note on sizing…
I’ve described the bowl I used to make this in the recipe below (i.e. 900mL volume and 19cm top diameter) but this recipe can be amenable to whatever bowl you have on hand. If your bowl is bigger, the baked Alaska may just not fill the bowl the whole way. If your bowl is smaller, just layer in part of the sorbet and then part of the semifreddo. Put the remainders in separate containers and freeze to eat later. As necessary, trim the cake base so that it is the right size. Or, you can also multiply the recipe as needed if you want a larger baked Alaska.
To get an idea of how it might turn out, you can check the volume of the bowl you plan to use and compare it to what I used. The easiest way is to fill it with water and weigh how much it can contain (1g = 1mL). In this recipe I used a 900mL bowl with a top diameter approximately 19cm (7 1/2″). It may not sound that big, but it makes for quite the cake once it is covered in meringue. It can definitely serve eight or more very generously.
Financier adapted from Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery, sorbet free-handed, semifreddo adapted from Stella Parks’s recipe, meringue adapted from classic ratios.
equipment: I made this in a bowl about 900mL in volume and with a top diameter of about 19cm/7 1/2″. But you can definitely use whatever size you happen to have on hand – please see the note on sizing in the blog post above. I also used a 8″ diameter cake tin to bake the cake base.
1. bake the financier base
45g finely ground almonds
30g all-purpose flour
generous 1/8 tsp salt
60g granulated sugar
75g egg whites
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter a 20cm/8″ diameter cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small pan and heat until melted. Cook, stirring, until the butter solids brown and the butter is fragrant. Immediately transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool while you make the rest of the batter.
Stir together the almond flour, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the egg whites and vanilla, and mix until a thick batter is formed. Whisk in the browned butter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer.
Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350F. Bake about 10 minutes or until springy to touch or an inserted skewer is removed clean.
2. make the strawberry rhubarb sorbetas the first layer of the baked alaska
350g chopped rhubarb
150g fresh strawberry puree
45g simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar)
1 tbsp St. Germaine (or other elderflower liqueur to taste; elderflower cordial could be an alcohol-free alternative)
Place the chopped rhubarb in a small saucepan along with a spoonful of sugar and a splash of water (enough for 1-2cm on the bottom). Together, the sugar and water should help draw the juice out of the rhubarb. Cook over medium allowing the rhubarb to release enough juice to mostly cover the rhubarb pieces. Let simmer until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through. (If it’s looking a bit dry it helps to put the cover on while cooking to generate more liquid. The resulting rhubarb juice will be less concentrated, so it will just need to be boiled down more in the following step.)
Transfer the cooked rhubarb to a jelly bag set in a sieve over a bowl and allow the rhubarb juice to drain in the bowl. Once cooled, squeeze the bag to extract as much juice as possible. (Discard the fibrous contents in the jelly bag.) With the cover off, I got about 170g of juice, and cover on, about 260g of juice. Exactly how much you get out will depend on how much water already cooked off. To make whatever amount you get consistent, place the rhubarb juice back into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook down until it is reduced to about 120-130g.
Let the rhubarb juice cool. Stir in the strawberry puree, simple syrup, and St. Germaine. Adjust the simple syrup to taste. Chill completely.
When ready to churn, line a bowl with plastic wrap. Churn the sorbet in an ice cream maker, then spread into the bottom of the bowl and place in the freezer to freeze completely.
3. make the vanilla elderflower semifreddo and pour over the sorbet
3 large eggs
35g granulated sugar
185g whipping cream
seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or substitute 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste for both seeds and extract)
2-3 tbsp St. Germaine (or other elderflower liqueur to taste; elderflower cordial could be an alcohol-free alternative)
Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water – or other double boiler set up. Whisk together the eggs and honey in the bowl. Mix continuously with a rubber spatula until the eggs appear syrupy and reach about 160-165F – though if you’re getting close to temperature (i.e. 155+) and you start noting any clumping, immediately remove from the heat and stop there. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until the bowl feels cool to the touch and the eggs have quadrupled in volume – and in the words of Stella Parks (original recipe) “thick enough to briefly mound up like soft-serve ice cream when dropped from the whisk.” This may take 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, whip up the cream with the vanilla seeds and extract. Whisk in the St. Germaine at the end (use more or less depending on your taste). Add half of the whipped cream to the eggs and whisk in until combined. Add the remaining cream, folding it in gently with a rubber spatula. Pour the semifreddo over the sorbet in the prepared bowl, leaving just enough room for the financier. You will have extra semifreddo if you use the same size bowl as me – put the leftovers in a container and freeze as a dessert for later.
Trim the financier base as necessary so it can fit into the bowl and place over the semifreddo. Return to the freezer and allow to freeze completely.
4. (optional) roast the fruit as an optional garnish, and chill until use
50g chopped rhubarb
50g chopped strawberries
1 generous tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the 50g each of chopped rhubarb and strawberries with a bit of sugar and transfer to the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, mixing partway through, until the fruit is tender. Chill completely until ready to use.
5. make the meringue and cover the baked alaska
90g (3 large) egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
90g granulated sugar
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until frothy and sprinkle in a pinch of cream of tartar. Beat until the egg whites and foamy before gradually adding the sugar. The continue to whip on high speed until firm peaks are formed. (I find you get a smoother swoopier meringue if you stop at firm peaks rather than stiff. Peaky, yes, but still nice and soft.)
Take the bowl out of the freezer and turn out onto a tray or upside down-baking tin. Remove the plastic. Cover with meringue and then use the back of a spoon to draw meringue up the sides. Use the spoon to make a nest in the top to hold the roasted fruit.
At this point, you can either torch the meringue or do a quick bake in a very hot (500F) oven until the meringue is browned. If you’re not ready to serve right away, the cake can be put back in the freezer until ready. Top with roasted fruit just before serving.
for posterity – past tentimestea birthday rhubarb cakes
All sorts of good things come covered in sesame: montreal style bagels, this cake, these cookies. Guess what is also quite good rolled in sesame seeds and baked in a hot oven for a toasted nutty exterior…
Dried fenugreek (methi) leaves have a gentle buttery fragrance. It’s mirrored in these scones with plenty of butter; meanwhile wads of soft goat’s cheese add a slight tartness and a bit of ground coriander adds aroma. (For an expansive introduction to fenugreek, read more here!)
I’ve tried a few different drop scone recipes over the years to get to this one. Generally speaking I’ve found much better results with a higher hydration recipe, which allows large scones to puff up to their full tender and fluffy potential. The batter will feel wet, but it’s okay – just gently pat into balls (plus all those sesame seeds will really stick!).
3 generous tbsp (4g) dried fenugreek (methi) leaves (caveat: mine were very, very old, so you may want to use less depending on your fenugreek!)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
120 cold butter, cut into small dice
100g goat cheese, crumbled into chunks
200g half-and-half cream
50g greek yoghurt
about 1/3 cup untoasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, fenugreek and coriander. Add the butter and toss to coat the cubes with flour, then cut into the flour with a pastry whisk/two knives (or alternatively, rub in with your fingers) until the mixture appears crumbly. Add the goat cheese and toss together.
Whisk together the cream and yoghurt. Pour over the dry ingredients, tossing together with a fork until all the flour is moistened and a rough dough is formed. The dough will be soft and thick.
Place the sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Divide the dough into six equal portions (each about 115g) and gently pat into balls. Roll all over in the sesame seeds to coat completely. Evenly space the scones apart on the prepared baking tray.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425F, then lower the temperature to 350F for another 10 minutes or so, until the scones are browned and an inserted skewer is removed clean.
Ice cream is the perfect receptacle for trying out different flavour combinations – an easily infusible base, plus ample room for mix-ins, both solid and swirly. Today’s ice cream is just about copying though… but with such a great combination of flavours (and making use of all the infusible and mixable components), I was a pretty happy copier!
This flavour combination is based off of a Made by Marcus ice cream (not one I’ve had the chance to try, but I hope to eventually!): earl grey-infused ice cream base, chunks of financier and a raspberry jam swirl. In typical Made by Marcus-brilliance, it is fantastic combination.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this ice cream to me was the financier. I wasn’t too sure how it would freeze and considered brushing the cake with sugar syrup or some rum to help keep it soft. However, it stayed soft and plush, with the chill giving it a bit of a toothsome chew.
Financier adapted from Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery. Fruit swirl adapted from Stella Parks.
ice cream base
370g whole milk
10g loose leaf earl grey tea
4 egg yolks
30g granulated sugar
good pinch salt
160g heavy cream
30g ground almonds
20g all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp kosher salt
40g granulated sugar
50g egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g granulated sugar
1-2 tsp lemon juice, to taste
ice cream base
Combine the milk and tea and let cold infuse in the fridge for 24 hours. Pass through a sieve to remove the tea leaves and extract about 320g of infused milk.
Place the milk, egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a heatproof glass bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and reaches 160-165F. Immediately transfer to a container and stir in the heavy cream. Let cool then chill completely.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line the bottom of a loaf tin with parchment and butter the sides.
Place the butter in a small pan and cook, stirring, until the solids are browned and fragrant. Immediately transfer to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the rest of the batter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the egg whites and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine until smooth. Fold in the butter in a few additions.
Scrape the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 375F. Bake for about 10 minutes or until just browned along the edges and a skewer inserted into the centre is removed clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
Cut into 1cm cubes and freeze.
Place the raspberries, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium to soften the berries and crush them with your spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the raspberries are reduced and thickened – the weight should be about 160-170 when you take it off the heat.
Put the hot raspberry mixture into a sieve set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to vigorously press as much of the raspberries through as possible, leaving the seeds behind. It will take a bit of time and effort, but you should end up with about 100-110g of smooth raspberry sauce. Cover and place in the fridge to chill completely.
Churn the ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At the end add about 2/3 – 3/4 of the financier cubes (depending on how chunky you like it) and churn in. Spread half of the ice cream base into a pre-chilled loaf tin. Dollop half of the chilled raspberry sauce over top. Top with the remaining ice cream and then remaining raspberry sauce. Use a small offset spatula to swirl the ice cream a few times and scatter some more financier cubes over top. Freeze completely.
Pro-choice stances support people’s autonomy to have a child if and when it is best for them. All of the many personal views on abortion aside, it’s about having the right to make that personal decision in the first place, whether it be straightforwards or complicated.
When it comes to mourning the overturning of Roe vs Wade, there is much written, much better, than I ever could. But the response in Canada has also about remembering what not to take for granted and where our systems are still very lacking. While the legal status of abortion in Canada does not appear to be under immediate threat, access always has been; take New Brunswick, where access to provincially funded abortions is nearly non-existent.
In the remaining provinces and territories, access can still be fraught. With the vast majority of providers located in major urban centres, rural residents must contend with the costs and burden of travel and time off, which only exacerbate socioeconomic disadvantages. Further, in some provinces, actual abortion-providing facilities are far outnumbered by crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs). These organizations target pregnant individuals to discourage abortion, including through misrepresentation of the options. Recent events only underline what has always been the case – that we need the continued work of pro-choice advocates and organizations like Action Canada and Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to ensure that reproductive health care can be accessed by everyone as needed.
And as for cherry season – while I haven’t made too much with cherries this year yet, I have been sitting on this cherry, chocolate and hazelnut tart for a couple years.
This tart is fun (and also rather uncontroversial) – a bottom chocolate layer that slices like a smooth and thick ganache, a soft nutty hazelnut mascarpone cream layer over top and then covered with plenty of cherries. I’ve made small tarts with a ring of cherries arranged this way and it’s even more fun in a large tart for multiple concentric rings of cherries! It’s a bit tricky to cut though, so admire your carefully arranged fruit before slicing. If you chill the tart for a couple hours after the assembly, it will help the top layer firm up and keep the cherries in place.
Chocolate tart filling adapted from Tasty. Be careful not to overcook this layer or it becomes dry!
special equipment: tart ring 15cm in diameter and 4cm tall – no idea how I found this anymore, but I realize it certainly isn’t a standard dimension! You can definitely use a rings of a different size, just be aware it might affect how much tart dough, filling and fruit you need, as well as baking time. For instance, a 15cm wide/2.5cm tall ring would hold less, whereas I think a ~20-24cm wide ring/2.5cm tall might hold a similar volume but would likely need more tart dough to line the ring, and still have a shorter baking time to accommodate the thinner layer of filling.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Add the egg, a bit at a time, beating in each addition before the next. Lastly mix in the flours and cocoa powder until a cohesive dough is formed.
Roll out between two sheets of parchment paper until about 3mm thick and chill completely.
Place a 16cm (6 1/2″) tart ring that is 4cm tall on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Line the tart ring with the pastry – I prefer to line the bottom and sides separately – for details of the method look at this page. Cover and chill completely.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Dock the bottom of the tart shell with a fork. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the pastry appears to have dried and firmed up.
chocolate filling layer
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Place the chopped chocolate and sugar together in a bowl. Heat the milk and butter together in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil, then pour over the chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Whisk in the kirsch and eggs.
Scrape into the prebaked tart shell and tap to level. If bubbles are visible, bounce the back of a spoon over the surface of the filling to pop them.
Bake until the filling is mostly set and the centre is still a little jiggly, around 15-18 minutes. Let cool then chill completely.
Cream together the praline paste and mascarpone. Whip the cream together with the granulated sugar and fold into the mascarpone mixture. Spread over the chilled tart, return to the fridge and chill.
This layer is quite soft initially but it does firm up after a couple hours in the fridge – this can be before or after adding the cherries, but be sure to take time to chill the tart again before attempting to slice it.
Cut the cherries in half, like you would a clingfree peach or nectarine: use a small knife to cut the cherry around the pit and then twist the two halves to split them. Pry the pit out of the half that hangs onto it. Arrange the cherry halves in circles on the surface of the tart, starting from the edge and working your way in. In the very centre place two cherry halves stacked on top of each other. Scatter some some halved hazelnuts on top. Grate a bit of dark chocolate over the tart. The tart will be easier to slice if you chill for a couple hours to help the hazelnut mascarpone firm up before slicing.
it is my favourite season: rhubarb season! I haven’t actually baked anything with rhubarb yet this spring, but I do have this cake from last year – a fruity, crumbly take on a coffee cake made with a yoghurt poppy seed cake, chopped strawberries and rhubarb, and a topping of spiced almond crumb.
The wonders of coffee cake: it’s dessert and it’s breakfast! Also okay for lunch! Honestly, any meal!
This cake was inspired by Brown Bear Bakery, a bakery I would love to one day visit! I am always excited by the combination of strawberry, rhubarb and a whole grain streusel – I love using this combination in one way or another as another homage to the strawberry rhubarb crumbles (aka the number one and also only dessert) that I grew up with.
Cake inspired by Brown Bear Bakery. Crumb adapted from Epicurious. Cake adapted from the sour cream coffee cake recipe in A Good Bake by Melissa Weller.
spiced almond crumb
85g butter, melted
40g brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp kosher salt
100g whole wheat flour
25g finely ground almonds
2 tbsp flaked almonds
poppy seed & yoghurt coffee cake
120g all-purpose flour
60g whole wheat
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
12g (about 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) poppy seeds
1 stick butter, softened
100g granulated sugar
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
225g greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
140g rhubarb, chopped
140g strawberries, chopped
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp tapioca starch
For the crumb,melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the sugar, spices and salt and stir to combine. Then add the flour and ground almonds and stir until combined. Break up into lumps and toss in the flaked almonds.
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8″ square tin and line with a parchment paper sling.
Whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a standmixer and cream until light and fluffy (or by hand with a wooden spoon). Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Finally, whisk in the yoghurt. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Dollop into the bottom of the prepared tin and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. The batter will be thick.
For the fruit,toss together the fruit, sugar and tapioca. Scatter over the batter.
Finally, scatter the crumb overtop of the cake. Squeeze a bit of the crumb mixture in your hands so it holds together in lumps and then break it up over the top of the cake.
Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes (do a first check at 30 minutes) or until an inserted skewer is removed clean or with just a couple crumbs clinging to it. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into squares.
I remember eating supermarket hot cross buns as a child and wishing there was no fruit in them at all (I was an extra strange child.) But these days the fruit is my favourite part… and no hot cross bun ever really has enough dried fruit in it for me. So in this loaf, I succumbed to all my hot-cross-bun-dreams, with the ratio of weight of fruit and peel to flour being 1:1! The end result in a spiced, soft bread replete with all the dried fruit and peel one could hope for – but not too much that it overly weights the dough down. Toasted and buttered, it makes for a very nice breakfast indeed.
For the dough itself, I worked off of what has become my usual hot cross bun dough. It bakes up very nicely in loaf form, though if you’d rather, this could make 10-12 buns instead. Alongside the classic raisins and currants, I included dried apricots – one of my favourite dried fruits, which I suppose I hadn’t put in buns previously because it would feel like I was pushing out the raisins and currants. But here, with this much fruit, there’s enough room for everyone. (And they make for nice golden cubes in the terrazzo-like cross-section.)
This dough is only partially whole wheat to keep it from being too dense. And yes, the dough will look a little ridiculous, with bits of fruit falling out everywhere, but keep in mind that the fruit will spread apart as the dough rises – and that the whole point of this loaf is the fruit!
Begin by plumping up the dried fruit. Combine the dried fruit in a jar or bowl and cover with a cup of hot tea – if your fruit is extremely dried out, you may want to let it sit and plump overnight. Otherwise, half an hour or so is good enough to just soften. Once done, drain the dried fruit and pat dry.
Stir together the flours, wheat gluten, instant yeast, salt and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg and milk and stir until a soft dough is formed. Knead using the dough hook (alternatively, do this by hand) until the dough is smooth. Add the butter a lump at a time, working in each addition before the next. Knead for a few more minutes to ensure the dough is soft, stretchy and elastic. Add the dried fruit and chopped peel and knead into the dough. It will look a bit ridiculous but the fruit will spread out as the dough rises.
Cover the dough and let rise until puffed, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (as there is a lot of dried fruit, the volume won’t have appeared to have doubled). Meanwhile, grease a loaf tin and line with a parchment paper sling (I used a 9x4x4″ pullman loaf tin – the amount of dough could be a bit much for a standard loaf tin).
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into eight equal pieces, each about 120g. Roll each piece into a ball and pack together in two rows of four in the loaf tin. Pick off any pieces of dried fruit or peel which have come to the surface (uncovered by dough) as they will burn in the oven. Cover and let rise until well puffed, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Stir together the flour and water for the flour cross and transfer the paste to a piping bag fitted with a very fine round tip (I used a tip with a 2mm diameter opening). Once the dough is risen – it won’t appear doubled due to all the dried fruit – brush the loaf with a bit of beaten egg. Use the piping bag to pipe lines of flour paste over the loaf.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until well browned and the internal temperature reaches at least 190F. (I found this took a bit of a longer longer bake then I expected – if you have a thermometer, I recommend checking the internal temperature to make sure the centre is cooked through!) Let cool 5 minutes in the loaf tin, then finish cooling on a wire rack. Serve in slices smeared with lots of butter.
Surely there is little that cannot be improved by the addition of marzipan. As such, there is a whole wad of marzipan in the centre of these hot cross buns. Especially while the buns are still slightly warm, the marzipan is sticky and soft, and acts as a sort of built-in spread – though I think it’s best with some butter piled on top of the whole thing as well.
I thought I may as well post the recipe now, though I’ve made these buns at random non-Easter times of year. They have a great general holiday-ish vibe, not least in their resemblance to stollen.
I’ve used the same dough as in these whole wheat sourdough hot cross buns, but converted it back to instant yeast. Either dough will do depending on your preference. Again, no sugar is needed in the dough because there is more than enough to sufficiently sweeten the bun between the dried fruit, candied peel, glaze, and oh, did I mention, wad of marzipan?
85g dried fruit, about 1/3 each golden raisins, dark raisins and currants (or other fruit as per your preference)
40g dark rum
225g whole wheat flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large egg
130g whole milk
42g butter, softened
55g candied orange peel, chopped (you can find the recipe here)
120g marzipan (recipe below, or use storebought)
32g water (may vary – start with a bit less)
beaten egg, for egg wash
2 tsp water
2 tsp granulated sugar
1-2 drops almond extract, optional
The day before, prepare combine the dried fruit and dark rum in a small container or jar. Cover and let soak overnight.
The next day, prepare the dough. Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and spices. Add the 1 egg and milk, and stir until a dough is formed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple minutes until smooth. Knead in the butter, a small knob at a time. Now add the fruit – drain the dried fruit from the rum, and knead it, along with the candied peel, into the dough. At first it will feel like it all just keeps falling out, but keep at it, adding the pieces of fallen fruit back into the middle of the dough. Once the fruit is evenly distributed, transfer the dough to a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, divide the marzipan into eight 15g portions, and roll each into a ball. Line a baking tray with a piece of parchment paper.
Once the dough is risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into eight pieces (each about 75g). Preshape each piece into a ball. Flatten a ball of dough and place a ball of marzipan in the centre. Pinch the dough to close around it, and roll into a tight ball (a helpful technique for this is to cup your hand over the ball of dough and move your hand in a small circular motion to help pull the surface of the dough more taut). Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Space the balls of dough evenly on the prepared baking tray. Pick off any exposed pieces of dried fruit or peel as they will burn in the oven. Cover with plastic and let rise until well-puffed, about 1 hour. Near the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the flour cross, whisk together the flour and water to form a thick, pipeable paste. Transfer to a piping bag with a fine round tip (I used one 2mm in diameter).
Brush the buns with eggwash. Pipe lines using the flour paste over the buns. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
While the buns are baking, prepare the syrup by dissolving the granulated sugar into the boiling water. Add a couple drops of almond extract to mirror the marzipan taste. Brush over the hot buns, once they are baked and out from the oven. Let the buns cool on a wire rack. Eat, smothered with butter.
Grind the almonds and icing sugar together in the bowl of a food processor until fine and all the lumps are gone. Add the almond extract and rosewater and pulse to combine. Lastly, add the egg white and process until the marzipan forms a ball. Shape into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic and store in the fridge.
Goodness, you might be thinking, so glad to see that Bartholomew the sourdough starter is finally out and about and probably getting fed! And you would be right in that these buns are the latest leavening project he embarked upon. But, alas, as I am always slow to post things, I made these buns spring last year, so….
(One day, Bartholomew, one day. Hang tight until then!)
To get us started on the hot cross bun season, here is a tribute to the classic made with whole wheat, sourdough and plenty of dried fruit. They might sound a little austere but the butter, spices and dried fruit make sure it is anything but. Let’s tackle these one by one:
whole wheat – I think the flavour of whole wheat flour fits well with the spice and dried fruit! With a bit of extra hydration, the buns still bake up quite soft.
sourdough – I don’t always love the taste of sourdough in desserts, but in this case I find it goes rather nicely with the dried fruit. Building the dough in two steps allows an (understandably) lethargic sourdough starter to keep up and prevents the acidity from overwhelming the dough.
good dose of dried fruit – I actually first made these a couple of years ago, but they didn’t have nearly enough dried fruit in them (this may be personal opinion though as no recipe I’ve consulted seems to have enough for me!), so when I revisited last year, I made sure to bump up the fruit content. I also found that the dough itself doesn’t need any additional sugar as each bite has some dried fruit or candied peel to provide sufficient sweetness.
whole wheat sourdough hot cross buns with lots of fruit
Makes 9 buns in an 8×8″ pan. Bun recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour – though with each subsequent adaptation the resemblance decreases – and crosses from BBC Good Food.
85g dried raisins and/or currants
4 tbsp dark rum (or substitute tea, if you prefer)
50g 100% hydration sourdough starter
50g whole wheat flour
180g whole wheat flour (to start – depending on the dough consistency, you may need to knead in more in at the end)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
20g brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large egg
42g soft butter
65g drained candied orange or other citrus peel, chopped (recipe here)
32g water (may vary – start with a bit less)
1 tbsp apricot jam
Day 1: Soak the fruit and make the sponge.
Combine the raisins and/or currants and rum in a small bowl. Cover and let sit overnight to plump the raisins. In a separate bowl, stir together the ingredients for the sponge. Cover and let sit overnight to ferment.
Day 2: Make the dough & first rise.
Place the flour, salt, sugar and spices for the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together, the add the milk, egg and sponge. Mix the dough until smooth using the dough hook, scraping down the hook/sides of the bowl as needed. Knead for a few minutes to develop the gluten. Then add the butter a lump at a time and mix until the butter is incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. If it is quite sticky, knead in some more flour (just a bit at a time) until the dough is on the slightly sticky-side of tacky. I often find the dough stiffens up a bit later with time.
Drain the dried fruit. Knead the fruit and peel into the dough – at first it will just keep falling out, but with patience it will work its way in. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth again – as you continue to knead, the fruit will continue to fall out, so occasionally add the fallen pieces back into the centre of the dough.
Place the dough in a container to rise (no need to oil it) until about doubled – how long it will take will depend on your starter, but mine took about 6 hours. At this point you can chill the dough overnight or keep going if you have another 6 hours left in your day.
Day 3 (or still day 2): 2nd rise and baking
Butter an 8×8″ square pan and line the bottom with a square of parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 9 pieces, each approximately 75g. Shape each into a ball. To tighten the form, place the ball on the counter (unfloured so the dough will grip onto the counter a bit) and cup your hand over top, and move your hand in small circles. Arrange the balls in the prepared pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until the buns are well puffed and touching each other. The duration will vary by sourdough starter activity again, but mine took around 4 hours. To tell when they are fully risen, the dough will spring back slowly when poked with a damp finger, and the dent will not quite completely fill in.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the flour cross, whisk together the flour and water to form a thick, pipeable paste. Transfer to a piping bag with a small round tip – here I used a 2mm tip diametre round tip.
Brush the risen buns with egg wash and then pipe lines of dough overtop the buns. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and the internal temperature of the middle bun is at least 180-185F. Rotate halfway through baking for even browning.
For the apricot jam glaze, melt the tbsp of apricot jam with a scant tsp of water and press through a sieve to remove any chunks. Brush over the freshly baked buns.
My parents love to garden, especially things which grow well – and in more recent years they’ve discovered garlic. It began as one type, then a few more from the farmers market or specialty plant stores or gardener friends. Each saved bulb gets separated into papery cloves and planted in the fall, emerging next spring and harvested in the summer as a complete bulb. It all means I get access to all the garlic I could ever want and far more.
This year it is several cultivars of garlic. No one has kept track of just how many cloves got planted last year, but no doubt it is a lot.
This is a sort-of-ish take on Korean cream cheese garlic bread – flower-shaped buns stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and dipped in a garlic-heavy custard. Between the cheese and custardy glaze, which soaks into the cut edges of the bread, it makes for a rich (and gooey) garlic bread with a noticeably endearing sweetness. It’s a case study in combining sweet and savoury, all in the backdrop of toasty bread and plenty of garlic.
As delicious as the classic cream cheese garlic bread it, I find myself slightly wishing it wasn’t quite as sweet (which is very much just my personal preference!). That, and I was thinking about how this might go well with another sweet-savoury thing, pork floss, made of dried shreds of pork which are slightly sweetened and spiced. The result were these buns, made of milk bread bread baked with a savoury garlic cream cheese filling, then doused in the classic garlic glaze and crowned with a majestic pile of pork floss. Slid into the oven for a second bake, they emerge pungent, the bun soft and the frayed edges of the pork floss charred. By letting the pork floss be the main source of sweetness, it retains the sweet-savoury homage to the classic, but keeps it more subtle. To me, it’s the perfect balance and my ideal sweetness for a garlic bread. (Though if you’re a true Korean cream cheese garlic bread fan, I’ve also included a suggestion for a sweetened filling as well.)
After a couple batches of these two weekends in a row the entire kitchen smelled like garlic, my clothes smelled like garlic, and I smelled like garlic. I ate one every day for lunch for a week until my blood became permanently infused with garlic. I think I finally became one with the garlic. Good practice for the upcoming garlic season later this summer.
To make the tangzhong, whisk together the flour and water in a small saucepan until there are no lumps. Heat over low-medium, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture thickens into a thin paste and lines are left in the roux behind when stirring (check by stirring without touching the bottom of the saucepan). If you have a thermometer, check the temperature – it should be 65C or 149F. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
For the dough, mix together the yeast, tbsp of water and a sprinkle of sugar. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes until it bubbles and smells yeasty (not necessary with instant yeast but sometimes I prefer this to ensure the yeast granules break up).
Whisk the milk and eggs into the tangzhong.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat gluten if using, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the tangzhong/milk/egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon (or use the dough hook of a standmixer) until a cohesive dough is formed. Turn out onto the counter and knead in the soft butter in two additions. The dough should be smooth, elastic and tacky. Place the dough in a container and let rise overnight in the fridge (or if you want to do it all in one day, go ahead and let it rise 1 hour at room temperature or until doubled and then proceed immediately).
The next day turn out the risen dough on a floured surface. Deflate and divide into 6 equal pieces (each about 50g). Roll each piece into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll each ball out to 8cm diameter disc. Place the pieces of dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Use your fingers to poke the centre of each disc to thin out the amount of dough there (it will make it a bit easier for you later when filling). Cover and let rise until well puffed, 1-2 hours (longer if the dough is cold).
Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the cream cheese, green onion, garlic and salt. (If you prefer the sweet filling which is more classic, you can also mix in about 15g of sugar.) Set aside until ready to use.
Near the end of the rise, start preheating the oven to 375F for the first bake. Once the dough is risen, fill the dough. Wet your fingers under the tap so the dough doesn’t stick, and tamp a loonie-sized area in the centre of each bun to accommodate the filling. Scoop about 1 tbsp of the cream cheese filling into each indent. Brush the buns all over with beaten egg. Place the buns in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350F. Bake around 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let the baked buns cool a few minutes before proceeding with the next steps.
Next, prepare for the second bake by turning the oven temperature up to 400F. Make the garlic butter glaze by placing the butter and milk together in a small heatproof bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the remaining ingredients for the glaze.
Use a thin bamboo skewer to poke the buns all over – this will allow a little but of the glaze to seep into the bun itself. Brush the buns generously with the glaze. Put a large spoonful of pork floss on top of each bun.
Bake the buns for about 5 minutes or until the pork floss has browned a bit, the garlic is fragrant and glaze that has slid down the sides of the buns and onto the tray is sizzling. Eat warm!