Tag Archives: Treats

Strawberry Frangipane Tart Recipe

Strawberry Frangipan Tart Recipe Strawberry Frangipane Tart Recipe

It wasn’t so long ago when I noticed Café Solvey in Berlin on facebook – they had liked my Cooking Coach page and so I checked out what they were doing.  Very glad I did, they make some really scrumptious cakes.  Last week I saw them posting about this one  and I asked for the recipe, which they kindly provided, in German though.  Luckily, google translate gave me just enough information for me to be able to recreate it for myself.

This is made in memory of my mum and her legendary marzipan obsession.

 Preparation: 50 minutes
Baking: 45 minutes
Decorating and Finishing: 10 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10 portions
Use a flan tin with a removable base, measuring 29cm / 11 in. in diameter

For the Pastry
200gr / 7 oz.  plain flour
75gr / 2.5 oz.  unsalted butter, softened and cubed
50gr / 1.7 oz. icing sugar
1 x egg, beaten loosely with a fork
125gr / 4.5 oz. unsalted butter, softened and cubed
125gr / 4.5 oz. sugar
125gr / 4.5 oz. ground, bleached almonds
2 x eggs, beaten loosely with a fork
For the Strawberry Decoration
500gr / 1.1lb. fresh strawberries.  Try to get even sizes and equal coloured fruit – but don’t be too prejudice.
To Glaze and Finish
3 x tbsp strawberry (or apricot) jam
A splash of water


Strawberry Frangipane Tart Recipe  


  1. Pastry first. Place the flour, butter and icing sugar in a large bowl and rub together through your fingers until the mix becomes like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg and bring together. I do this at first with a wooden spoon and then move on to using my hands. Work it until it becomes a ball, then remove from your bowl  and knead it, just two or three times on a cool surface.  By this I mean just 2 or 3 kneading movements, that’s all.   This dough is quite sticky and can be a little difficult.  If it is just too sticky to get into a ball, add a small amount of flour, just a tiny sprinkling, you don’t want to dilute the sweetness too much.  Also, the addition of more flour gives a tougher dough if you over do it.
  3. Wrap your ball of sweet dough in cling film and chill in the freezer whilst you make the frangipane. Don’t forget about it though, you just want to cool it, not let it freeze.  If you make the pastry in advance and have more time – chill in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  4. Set the oven to pre-heat at 170°C / 340°F. Make sure your baking tray is in the oven.  The reason for this is to heat up the tray on which the tart will cook so that the bottom of the tart comes immediately into contact with a hot surface and aids an even bake.
  5. Then the frangipane. Cream together the butter and sugar in a food processor or with an electric mixer, this will take a few minutes.  Of course you can do this by hand, if you feel the need for exercise.
  6. Then mix in the eggs, and add the almonds, stir everything through until even.
  7. Take your pastry from the fridge and on a cool, lightly floured surface, roll out, turning it is you do to keep it in a round shape. Roll until  it is about 2mm / 0.08in to 3mm / 0.10 in. thick.
  8. Lay the pastry dough over your flan tin and push gently, but firmly into the corners and the sides. To pick it up, you can wrap it over your rolling pin, or carefully lift by putting your hands, splayed underneath.  However you chose to do it, a swift movement is best.  Trim any excess pastry that is hanging over the top of your tin.  The pastry will shrink back a little while cooking, so make sure you leave a little lip.
  9. With a fork, prick lightly all over the entire base of your pastry dough. Spoon the frangipane mix into the pastry case and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
  10. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. I check after 40.  The tart is ready when it is an even golden brown colour.
  11. Let the tart cool and then remove it from the flan case. I often leave it sitting on the metal bottom and only remove the side.  This makes it easier to transport to your serving dish.
  12. In a saucepan, heat the jam and water, stir with a metal spoon until it has warmed through and mixed together.
  13. Place your strawberries in circles starting at the outer edge of the tart and working your way to the centre. Brush over the jam glaze allowing any extra to drizzle into any little gaps between the fruit.

 Tips and Variations

  • This tart is best eaten on the day it is made.
  • Serve with a bit of crème fraiche or mascarpone with a dash of Marsala wine on the side for some extra indulgence.
  • If you have some pastry left over, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, or you could make a couple of extra small tarts. I tend to put it in the freezer and keep it for emergency repair work!
  • Try with raspberries, really yummy or a mix of berries works really well too.
  • If you make the pastry the day before, I tend not to leave the dough in a ball shape, but flatten the ball out – this makes it easier to roll.

Strawberry Frangipane Tart Recipe

Light Chocolate Mousse Recipe

ChocMousse1 I have a recipe for a fully loaded chocolate mousse, lots of cream.  The thing is, I sometimes (scratch that), always want something sweet (not too sweet), even when I’m trying to eat a bit lighter, be a bit more healthy.  So, I trawled my recipe books and the internet to do some research on the classic chocolate mousse and it’s versions and variations.  Guess what I found out?  Well, the more traditional recipes don’t even use cream, they use egg whites to give the airy bubbly texture to the mousse.  Good news – right?

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Chilling Time: Minimum one hour, up to 24 hours, this sets the mousse

For 2 to 4 Servings

2 x large eggs 80gr / 2.8 oz.

Good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

2 x tsp honey 1 x tbsp water


  1. Melt chocolate and water slowly in a heat proof bowl over simmering water (bain marie). When it has melted sit the bowl on a cool surface for a couple of minutes.
  2. Separate the eggs, beat the yolks with the honey until creamy.
  3. Clean off your whisks and then beat the whites until they reach stiff peaks.
  4. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and honey mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until smoothly incorporated. It’s important that the chocolate is cool enough, otherwise the eggs will cook.
  5. Mix about a third of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mix to loosen it.
  6. Fold in the next third of egg white to the chocolate, with a metal spoon, followed by the last third.
  7. When everything is evenly mixed together, pour into the bowls or glasses in which you wish to serve the mousse and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

chocmoussemake Tips and Variations You can get creative with adapting the flavour of this basic chocolate mousse mix. I tend to adapt it to things I am serving it with for example a liqueur or coffee or fruit Here are some of the things I like to add:

    • Vanilla extract (a few drops)
    • 1 x tbsp Grandmanier
    • 1 x tbsp rum
    • 1 x tbsp Amaretto
    • 1 x tbsp Whiskey liqueur (favourite is Glayva)
    • 1 x tbsp strong espresso

Essential Sinterklaas: Speculaas Cookies


You know, the word ‘cookie’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘koekje’ (little biscuit).  Just a bit of trivia for you before we get started.

It’s a good thing that these cookies are not available all year round, otherwise I’d have even more of a struggle to keep my weight under control than I already do!  There’s something about the crunch and the spice mix that makes it almost impossible for me to stop eating them once I’ve started.

My video from the vaults to get you started……

Preparation Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour chilling
Baking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for about 16 Cookies
250gr / 9 oz. self raising flour
150gr / 5 oz. dark muscavado sugar
2 x heaped tbsp speculaas spices
Pinch of salt
100gr / 3.5 oz. cold butter from the fridge
3 x tbsp butter milk or regular milk
Optional: Peeled almonds to decorate


  1. Place the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the butter and crumb this together by running the mix through your fingers from your pinkies to index finger until it becomes like breadcrumbs.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the butter milk.
  4. Using your hand like a whisk bring the mix together until it is in one ball. If it really doesn’t come together, try adding another drop of butter milk.
  5. Dust down a cool surface with a little flour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently for a minute until it becomes one equal mass.
  6. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and place back in the fridge for an hour.
  7. After the hour, pre-heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  8. Place baking parchment onto your baking tray. Remove the dough from the fridge, dust your cool surface and your rolling pin with flour and roll the mix out until it is about 1cm thick.
  9. Roll the dough over your rolling pin and transfer it carefully on to your baking tray.
  10. If you wish to add almonds, this is the point at which to do this. Press them about halfway into the dough, roughly spaced on each side by about 5cm.
  11. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, check after 15. Bake until the cookie darkens, the edges are crispy and there is hardly any ‘give’ in the middle.
  12. Allow to cool and break into rough pieces to serve.

Tips And Variations

  • The spices for speculaas are available in the Netherlands from good supermarkets and bakers. This is a very seasonal product so normally you will only find the spice mix available from late October to early December.
  • If you are unable to buy a speculaas spice mix, here is my recipe:
      • 2 x tbsp cinnamon
      • 1 x tsp cloves
      • 1 x tsp nutmeg
      • ½ tsp white pepper
      • ½ tsp ginger powder
      • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • I sometimes like to add a little more cinnamon to the spice mix I buy, or a small extra pinch of powdered ginger for more heat in the spice!
  • You can try adding the zest of an orange to the dry ingredients, gives a nice extra element.
  • This is basically like a short crust pastry – you can also make it in the food processor (up to the crumb stage, after step 2, it will have to come out) – I don’t because I use any excuse to get my hands into my baking! And, my hands are generally quite cold, which is important for this as you don’t want to melt the butter.
  • Try decorating with small pieces of candied ginger instead of almonds.
  • For a more decorative result, instead of baking in one large piece, use a cookie cutter and make individual biscuits. I prefer this method as I find it easier. With one big cookie it can be a bit difficult to get an even bake, I often find that the middle stays a little soft.

Essential Sinterklaas : Marzipan

This is the time of year when the Dutch go wild for marzipan.  It seems like everything is made from the stuff.  Suits me, I love it.   Until a few years ago, it had never occurred to me that you could make it yourself.  I thought it was a magical process known only to the best of bakers.  Then, I seen this recipe made by a now very famous Belgian TV chef, Jeroen Meus , made it, and I thought Is that all it is?  So off I headed to my own kitchen, since then I haven’t looked back.  I make it every year for Sinterklaas.  Not only that, because I normally have the ingredients lying around I knock it up any time I feel like something sweet.

I’ve dug up this video for you from the vaults to show you exactly how easy it is to make……

Preparation Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients for about 500gr Classic Marzipan
250gr / 0.5lb Ground Almonds
250gr / 0.5lb Icing Sugar
The white of one medium egg

Rosewater Marzipan
250gr / 0.5lb Ground Almonds
250gr / 0.5lb Icing Sugar
About 1 x tbsp Rosewater


  1. You can either buy the almonds already ground, or you can blitz them in the food processor until they become a powder. If you want to make the ground almonds yourself, make sure you use blanched almonds, without the brown skin.
  2. Sieve both the icing sugar and the almonds into one bowl.
  3. Beat the egg white with a fork for about 20 seconds and add half of it to the mixture. The beating will make it easier to add it in stages.
  4. Knead the mixture together with your hands adding egg white until you reach the texture you wish.
  5. Roll into the form you wish and wrap in cling film. Keep in the fridge.

Tips and Notes

  • I normally keep this for no more than 4 or 5 days, just because it contains raw egg.
  • You can use food colouring either through the marzipan or paint it on to decorate.
  • This is a high quality marzipan, you will notice that it is much less sweet than most of the versions you can buy in the shops. If you have a sweeter tooth, of course you can adjust the quantities to your taste.
  • For the rosewater variation, add first about half a tbsp and try and bring the mix together, it will appear crumbly, but be patient, if you work it a little, the heat of your hands will help it become smooth. If you need more, add it very carefully. You don’t want too much rosewater as it can become overpowering. You can keep this type of marzipan longer than the egg white version.
  • If you don’t want to use egg or rosewater, you can use a little glucose syrup to bring it together, I have also heard of people who use honey instead of the egg or rosewater.

Recipe for Mince Pies

Recipe for Mince Pies

Recipe for Mince Pies

I know that most people associate mince pies with Christmas, but I tend to eat them more on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) and on the Ne’er Day (New year’s day).  I think it’s something to do with the fact that a mince pie goes really well with a little glass of whisky or even something sweeter like port.  These are drinks I associate with the warm anticipation of the bells at 12 midnight, and also the party wind down, when it’s so late that it’s early, just one last drink, one for the road, and a mince pie, to carry you off into slumber….. and into your New Year.

Mincemeat Preparation: 15 minutes
Mincemeat Maceration/Chill Time: 24 hours

Pastry Preparation: 15 minutes
Pastry Chilling: 1 to 2 hours

Mince Pie Preparation: 20 minutes
Mince Pie Baking: 20 to 25 minutes

Makes 24 Deep Filled Mince Pies

For the Mincemeat
200gr / 7 oz. light muscavado sugar
200gr / 7 oz. cranberry compote
2 x tsp cinnamon
2 x tsp ground ginger
1 x tsp nutmeg
100gr / 3.5 oz. raisins
100gr / 3.5 oz. sultanas
200gr / 7 oz. dried cranberries
1 x orange, zest and juice
1 x lemon, zest and juice
50ml / 1.7 fl. oz. congnac
1 x apple, peeled, cored and grated
125gr / 4.5 oz. butter, frozen and then grated.  Do the grating last, just before you mix everything together.

For the Pastry
550gr / 1.2 lb.  plain flour
200gr / 7 oz.  butter, softened and cubed
200gr / 7 oz. icing sugar
4 x eggs
A pinch (about a quarter of a teaspoon) of salt

Egg Wash for the Pastry
1 x tbsp of milk
|1 x egg yolk
To finish, some icing sugar to sprinkle over the cooked mince pies


 For the Mincemeat 

  1. Chop the sultanas, raisins and cranberries until they are about half or a third of their original size.  You don’t have to do this, but I feel that you get a better mouthful of all the flavours if you do.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except for the butter in your mixing bowl and stir through until everything is even.  Then grate your butter straight from the freezer and mix this through.  You may find that the butter clumps a little, if it does, I think that the best way to get it mixed through evenly, is with your hands.  It’s a bit squidgy and squelchy, but good fun too.
  3. Cover your bowl with some cling film and put it in the fridge for 24 hours to macerate.
  4. After this time, remove and use straight away, or put into jars until you are ready to use it.
  5. The mincemeat will keep for as long as your butter is good, so check the expiry date on the packet.

Recipe for Mince Pies

 For the Pastry

  1. Place the flour, butter, salt and icing sugar in a large bowl and rub together through your fingers until the mix becomes like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the eggs and bring together. I do this at first with a wooden spoon and then move on to using my hands.  Work it until it becomes a ball, then remove from your bowl  and knead it, just two or three times on a cool surface.  By this I mean just 2 or 3 kneading movements, that’s all.   This dough is quite sticky and can be a little difficult.  If it is just too sticky to get into a ball, add a small amount of flour, but only a table spoon or maximum two, you don’t want to dilute the sweetness too much.
  3. Wrap your ball of sweet dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for one to two hours. 

Recipe for Mince Pies

To Bake The Mince Pies 

You will need:

2 x muffin style baking trays, each containing space for 12 cakes.  These depressions should measure 8cm 3 in.  in diameter and be 3.5cm / 1.5 in. deep.

A cutter with a diameter of 11.5cm / 4.5 in.

A cutter with a star or snowflake or other festive design which covers most, not all of the top of your mince pie.

These pieces of equipment are measured up to work with quantities in this recipe, if you have other types of materials, these will work just as well, but you may find that you have some mincemeat or pastry left over or that you don’t quite manage the exact quantity as shown above.

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  2. Grease your tray, only in the depressions of course.  The easiest way to do this is to take a piece of greaseproof paper and rub it on your stick or pat of butter, then rub it in each cake space in your baking tray, being careful to cover all the surface area with which the pastry will come into contact.  Alternatively, if you have the paper in which your butter was packaged, use this to rub around the baking area.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out your pastry until it is about 2mm / 0.08in to 3mm / 0.10 in. thick.  Using your round cookie cutter, cut out the shapes and the decorative shapes you need.  You can bring the pastry scraps together in a ball and keep rolling and cutting as much as you need.
  4. Press the pastry discs into their baking areas, carefully, but with enough firmness that they sit evenly.  Try not to press too much as this will make the pastry too thin.  Place about a tablespoon of your mincemeat into each pastry lined base, pat is with the back of your spoon, gently, so that it is even.  Leave about 3mm / 0.10 in. of a rim so that the mix doesn’t bubble over whilst cooking and so that you get a nice ratio of pastry to mincemeat.
  5. Place your decorative lids on top of each pie, in the centre, then brush the pastry of each pie, not forgetting the exposed sides, with your egg wash.
  6. Place in the oven for up to 25 minutes, but check them after 15.  They are ready when you can see your mincemeat bubbling and the pastry has turned golden brown and crispy.
  7. Once cooled, remove from the baking tray and give your mince pies a light dusting of icing sugar. 

Tips and Variations

  • For a longer lasting mincemeat, use suet instead of butter, remember though that this version will no longer be suitable for vegetarians.
  • For the quickest version of mince pies, you can use ready made puff pastry and shop bought mincemeat.  To liven up shop bought mincemeat add some lemon or orange zest.
  • Add some peeled, chopped almonds to your mincemeat mix.
  • The mince pies can be eaten warm or cold. Serve them as they are, or with cream, double or pouring, some crème fraîche, or even custard.
  • Mince pies are just as nice enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee as they are with a glass of whisky or brandy.
  • The mince pies will keep for 3 or 4 days before the pastry starts to go a little soft.
  • The pastry dough can be frozen and used  at a later date or you can keep it in the fridge for 3 or 4 days before using.

Recipe for Mince Pies