Best of: Christmas

My life is pretty hectic right now and even though I try to prepare for December every year it is never enough. So please bear with me the coming few weeks. I have a big back log of posts to share with you but I just don’t haven’t got the time right now.

But I do have time to share a few great Christmassy recipes with you! I hope you like them as much as I do.

collage jul

Vanilla toffee – homemade sweets always impress and these are seriously delicious! 

Saffron pannacotta – Because of the Swedish St Lucia buns with saffron we associate everything with saffron with Christmas. These pannacottas are really delicious and festive with their bright yellow colour. 

Christmas paté – This paté can be served as a starter, on a nice sandwich or on a smorgasbord of Christmas food.

Mother’s mazarin cake – This cake is a long standing Christmas tradition on my mother’s side of the family. It is a little chewy, not too sweet and absolutely gorgeous.

My mother’s mazarin cake

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My mother associates this cake with Christmas because her grandmother used to bake it for the holidays. And the red colour helps with that association too, I’m sure. In general, though, this type of cake has nothing to do with Christmas. It is a cake we eat all year round and it got its name from Cardinal Mazarin.

Consisting of a shortcrust with an almond filling this cake is chewy and not too sweet. It also has the unusual addition of desiccated coconut, and although I’m not a fan in general, it really works here.

Mazarin cake, serves 8-10

Short crust:

75 g butter

35 g caster sugar

1 egg white

100 g plain flour

 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Filling:

100 g almonds

50 g desiccated coconut

100 g butter

150 g caster sugar

3 eggs

red food colouring

Cream butter and sugar for the shortcrust. Add the egg white, flour and baking powder. Incorporate and cover a baking tin with the dough. 

Blanch the almonds and grind them finely. Add coconut, butter and sugar. Add the eggs and colouring. Pour into the tin and bake in 175C about 20-30 minutes. Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar. 

Mazarin cake

When my colleague Nicolas, who never eats cake because it is not his thing, tried this cake the response was not what I had expected. He loved it and said it was probably the best cake he had ever had. I was, as you might expect, quite surprised!

But the cake is good. Very good, even. It contains plenty of marzipan, and is full of flavour although it only contains a few ingredients and it needs nothing else, but if you want to serve it as dessert I would suggest lightly whipped cream and some fresh berries.

This is a very effortless cake, yet very rewarding and is perfect as the end of a casual meal among friends or when having people over for tea and coffee at the weekend.

Mazarin cake, serves 8

Crust:

125 g marzipan

125 g butter

250 g plain flour

1 egg

Filling:

300 g marzipan

150 g butter

2 eggs

To decorate:

Icing: 150 ml icing sugar and 1-2 tbsp water

sugar pansies

Crust: Mix marzipan and butter until smooth. Add egg and flour and pinch it together to a dough. Do not work the dough too much. Chill for 30 minutes and then either roll out the dough and place it in a pie dish or press it into the pie dish.

Filling: Mix marzipan and butter until smooth. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour it onto the unbaked pie crust and bake for 40 minutes in 175C. Leave to cool completely before icing.

Mix the icing sugar with water until smooth and runny. Spead it onto the cake. Place the decorations and leave for the icing to dry.