Fresh Strawberry and Lime Tart

So, confession time: I made this tart over 3 months ago and am only getting around to posting it now. Oops. Luckily I was smart enough to write down the recipe! More or less… It was a bit fragmented, but between that and my memory, I think this recipe was saved.

I love strawberries and I love pastry cream – and so does my mother, so it was great to make this tart for her birthday. To give it that extra little kick of freshness, I added the zest of one lime to the dough of the pastry, which turned out lovely. If I could, I would add lime to just about anything. Perhaps I should start doing that.

Fifteen steps might seem like quite a lot, but this recipe is really not that difficult, as long as you have a bit of patience and enough time. The dough needs to rest for over an hour in total, but in the meantime you can do different things like making the pastry cream or cleaning up your work surface. I’d go for the first one, and avoid the second one as long as possible.

Anyway, enough babbling – onto the recipe!

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Quatre-quarts with Berries and a Lemon Drizzle

What do you do when you have an overload of berries that are threatening to go bad? Right, you bake! Or at least, that’s what I do. I bought blueberries on sale at the supermarket, but they were kind of mushy and disappointing, which made them perfect to put in a cake. Somehow, blueberries completely transform when they bake – both in taste and flavour. I also had a bowl full of fresh red currants from my parents’ garden, so I figured I’d throw some of those in, too.

At first, I didn’t really know what to bake – the first thing that came to mind were muffins, but that seemed kind of boring, since that’s pretty much always my go-to for when I have leftover fruit. Then I remembered this cake I baked years ago – a french cake called a quatre-quarts, only back then I used a whole lot of apples instead of berries. Turns out, a quatre-quarts is pretty much just a pound cake or a sponge. Who’d have thunk!

I also added a lemon drizzle to this cake, because lemon drizzles make everything better. It’s a fact. The cake turned out absolutely scrumptious – definitely a good one to have added to my repertoire! The fresh berries and lemon-y taste make it a perfect summer treat.

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Dutch Cream Cheese Pie with Fresh Fruit (no bake!)

Summer has finally made its way to the Netherlands! This means lots of ice cream, sun screen and sitting outside with a book. It also means there’s no way I’m going to put my oven on and actually bake something – and yet I have a recipe for you today. It’s a no bake cream cheese pie!

This pie, usually referred to as MonChou pie, is a bit of a classic in the Netherlands. It is made with Bastogne cookies, which I don’t think you can find outside of the Netherlands and Belgium, but these can easily be replaced with some other type of cookie made with caramelised brown sugar – or any other type of cookie you think might go well with cream cheese and fresh fruit (so, like, pretty much every cookie).

The classic MonChou pie uses canned cherries to top the cream cheese, but I figured I’d kick it up a notch by using fresh fruit – it is summer after all! I mainly used strawberries and also added some blueberries and raspberries, but you can use anything you like. I also added some lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture to give it that slight hint of tanginess.

The cream cheese/whipped cream mixture that forms the main part of this pie stays pretty soft, even after cooling it for several hours, so it’ll be a bit difficult to transfer the pieces to plates. In other words: it looks good as long as you don’t move it too much. Tastes absolutely delicious, though, no matter what form it’s in!

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Pear and Raspberry Turnovers

I made these turnovers back in December, but had my month all planned out blog-wise – for a change – so here I am posting the recipe now! It’s a really simple one that takes only a few steps and is done in a jiffy.

Back in December 2013, I also made turnovers, but those were the more traditional apple turnovers. For some reason I felt the need to make turnovers again (probably because they are delicious), but I wanted to try something different than the usual apple. Pear came to mind straight away, and I always love pear in combination with some red fruit, so I settled on raspberry quite quickly too. Add a little bit of ground ginger and wrap it all in some puff pastry, and you’ve got yourselves some delicious turnovers!

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Two Semi-Healthy Smoothie-Cocktails

Okay, you’re probably thinking: Healthy cocktails? There is no such thing! While that’s probably true, these cocktails include some very healthy ingredients in addition to the obvious alcohol. They’re smoothie-cocktails, or smocktails, as I have dubbed them (still not sure I like the name, though).

I hung out with two of my best friends yesterday, and we decided to make our own smoothie-cocktails instead of going for good old wine as our drink of choice. That’s when these two delicious smocktails were born. Especially the first one (left picture), the Blueberry Banana Smocktail, is sooo good! But the Strawberry Smocktail was delicious as well. I didn’t plan on writing a blogpost about these, but they turned out so great that I couldn’t not share them with you. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera with me to my friend’s house, so these pictures were taken with my phone. You can’t see the colours very well, sorry about that! Trust me when I tell you they’re amazing, though.

Now, onto the recipes! I’m afraid the measurements aren’t extremely precise since we just threw some stuff together (or, my friend threw some stuff together and we watched), but that shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Oh, one more thing: you’ll need a blender for these recipes.

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Pear and Berry Crumble and a Birthday

I turned 21 on Tuesday, and of course I needed to bake something for the occasion. What’s a birthday without some home made sweetness to munch on? I had a lovely dinner with my parents, grandparents and aunt on Monday, and made an absolutely delicious crumble for dessert. It included all kinds of berries and a couple of pears. Read on for the recipe!

P1010740On Tuesday I celebrated my birthday with a few of my closest friends. They came over for dinner, and of course this called for another really great dessert. I had already figured out what I wanted to make a couple of weeks ago. It was something really simple but also really pretty and so tasty. I made a couple of brownies (recipe) in my muffin tin, added a perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream, and topped if off with some chocolate sauce and a fresh raspberry. One of my friends is lactose intolerant, so I bought raspberry sorbet for her, which also tasted really good. I was pretty proud of how it turned out to look!

P1010743One last birthday related thing I want to share with you all is two of the presents I received. I’ve talked about how much I love Roald Dahl’s Matilda a couple of times before, and about how I still wanted a nice English edition of the book… Guess what my parents gave me? A really gorgeous edition! And my cousin got me a very nice book as well; a cookbook from The Hummingbird Bakery. I’ve already looked through it, and it features some absolutely mouthwatering recipes! I’ll definitely be trying some of those in the future.

Anyway, enough about my birthday. Let’s get on with the crumble recipe!

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Nectarine Blueberry Lemon Sponge

This week, the nectarines were on sale at my local supermarket (a kilo for one euro), so of course I took advantage of that! When me and my friends made sangria on Friday, we added one nectarine, which was very tasty, and I figured I could use some of the rest of them for a nice, summery cake.

I settled on a sponge, and decided to add some blueberries and lemon juice as well (as I still had a lemon lying around). This was my first bake since my vacation started, and you have no idea how much fun it was to have all the time in the world for this recipe! I just sat behind my computer with a cup of tea this morning and scrolled through some recipes to get inspiration. Then I slowly figured out the best ingredients and amounts, and after some fine-tuning I went to the supermarket to get the last few ingredients and got to baking after lunch. I took my time. It was wonderful.

About an hour ago I took the first bite of this sponge and it is so delicious! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do if you decide to make it. It made my day, perhaps it’ll make yours!

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You’ll need…

– 100 g butter

– 100 g white caster sugar

– 2 eggsP1010162

– 100 g plain flour

– ½ teaspoon baking powder

– ¼ teaspoon vanilla flavouring

– 2½ tablespoon lemon juice

– 2 nectarines, diced (not too small, though!)

– 100 g blueberries

optional, for decoration: another nectarine, a few extra blueberries and some lemon zest

– a springform tin (20 cm)

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! This sponge needs to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Mix together butter and sugar First of all, you need to mix the butter and the sugar together, until it’s nice and fluffy. As you guys might know, I usually melt my butter, but I didn’t do so this time (it was soft, though).

2. Add eggs and half of the flour Next up, add the eggs one by one. Also add half of the flour while adding the eggs, and mix eveything together. I used a spoon for this, by the way, but you could use a whisk or handheld electric mixer as well. I wouldn’t use a free-standing mixer though, since this batter needs a lot of air in it.

3. Add rest of flour, baking powder, vanilla and lemon juice Now, you need to fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder, the vanilla flavouring and the lemon juice (I used a fresh lemon for this). You have to stir all this together well, and make sure as much air as possible gets into the mixture.

P10101654. Add the fruit! The last thing you need to do is add the blueberries and the diced nectarines to your mixture, and mix them through it. You’ll probably get all hungry now because of the rich scent of the nectarines. Yummy!

5. Bake the sponge Line the base of your springform tin with some parchment paper, and grease the tin as well. Now it’s time to pour your batter into the tin and smooth it out before putting it in the oven. The sponge needs to be baked for about 30 minutes. It should be slightly golden brown on top, and an inserted skewer should come out clean (except if you hit a blueberry or nectarine of course).

Let the cake cool for a while before taking it out of the tin. If you want, you can decorate it like I did for picture taking or presenting purposes, but it tastes incredible without it as well!

And that’s it for this Nectarine Blueberry Lemon Sponge! I hope you enjoy!

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