For all the Swiss and German pastry lovers out there: if you think back to your childhood, what was your favourite breakfast pastry? I’m not speaking cake, but more of pastries such as filled croissants, chocolate buns, cinnamon or nut rolls, donuts, spitzbuebe, danishes. Have one in mind? Well, one of the top contenders on my list is the classic almond croissant. Not the kind you’ll find in an English bakery where a normal croissant is cut in half post baking and stuffed with an almond filling, but the Swiss kind where one fills the croissant before baking. I couldn’t (and still cannot) get enough of that rich almond filling. It’s like marzipan but better. When I came across the filling in a jar, I secretly wanted to run around in the supermarket 10 times screaming my head off to express my joy. Luckily my inner sensible self stopped me before I had a chance to embarrass myself.
Now I have the filling.. what next? I wasn’t in the mood for actual croissants, but desperately wanted to use the filling for something….. what to make for grown ups which isn’t breakfast….. hmm….. and what do I do best….. DESSERT! After googling (haha I cannot believe this is an actual word..) for inspiration I found a recipe to use as a guideline. Of course I decided to add some cardamom, because, why not, let’s face it, cardamom for the win. Let me know what you think!
Almond Cardamom Mousse with an Apricot/Passionfruit Sauce
adapted from wildeisen
I hope you all spent the past few days indulging in ridiculous amounts of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and tasty roast lamb. If not, don’t worry, you still have one day left to catch up;-). And congratulations to everyone who successfully completed Lent yesterday – now go and do or eat whatever you have been painfully missing out on these past 46 days!
This year’s Easter has been, apart from spending some of the days surrounded by IV-drips, syringes and wounds, all dressed up in scrubs (yes – some people actually have to work on bank holidays), an unhealthy brunch crawl for me. Nothing wrong with brunching 4 days in a row is there?
For the final brunch of the lot I decided to bake something slightly different than your usual, with a Scandinavian touch – Cardamom Rolls. NOM! As I already mentioned in a previous post – Cardamom is the new Cinnamon. If I haven’t won you over yet, I’m sure baking these will. I’m also sure half of you have been invited to yet another an Easter brunch for today, said they would bring something and popped into M&S for some hot cross buns. If so – tut tut tut – freeze your bought buns and make these! Everyone will love them!!
Swedish Cardamom Rolls
The last time I had a few days off after nights I decided to visit Stockholm with a friend, who also randomly had some days of compensation (the one plus about working as a doctor – you get random days off to compensate for your ridiculous hours = free holidays!). One thing the Swedish know how to do well is the so called “Fika“, or coffee break with lots and lots of pastry. It belongs to the daily routine apparently, like breakfast, lunch and dinner. Genius. The pastries the Swedish are most famous for are, correct me if I’m wrong, cinnamon bullar (buns), cardamom bullar, cardamom cake and also saffron bullar. When I read cardamom bullar for the first time, I must admit, I was a tad sceptical as I immediately associated it with curry (ew…. curry pastry… not what I had in mind for my tea break). Retrospectively, I can proudly call myself an Idiot. Ground cardamom is the new cinnamon! Every pastry with cardamom was amazing – indescribable! I have even started adding it to my morning muesli instead of the good old cinnamon…. it seems to go with everything.
Anyways, with this newly revealed secret ingredient, being responsible for the sweet side of a Christmas family gathering, I decided to attempt to recreate something from my trip – a Swedish cardamom cake. It went down extremely well. You should try it!
Swedish Cardamom Cake
adapted from a random cookbook, unknown name and author, read in Stockholm airport.
I cannot believe 2 years have passed since my time in Cape Town. Crazy. Such great memories, lots of wine tasting, not so much hospital-work, lots of eating, beaching, exploring and more wine tasting. Best. Elective. Ever. My liver must not have been happy. To reminisce, a friend and I got together one evening this past week. We drank wine from the Peter Falke vineyard (in Stellenbosch), which she still had in her cellar from our trip, and made Koeksisters (finally, this had been our plan for the past two years but somehow…..2 years later there we were). Koeksisters are the unhealthiest but most rewarding small spiced balls of fried dough. The first time we ever tasted them was in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town, from a small corner shop that sells fresh ones only once or twice a week, usually on a Sunday. They were delish.
A house in Bo Kaap
But just to clarify – there are two types of Koeksisters, the most common ones are shiny braided looking things drenched in syrup or honey, the ones we had in Bo-Kaap which are harder to find, (and tastier in my opinion) are of malay origin. An essential ingredient is ground cardamom, which I knew would be a challenge to find in Switzerland, so a while ago, with this plan on the back of my mind, I seized the opportunity at a local indian shop in Shepherd’s Bush :-). No excuses now – Koeksisters had to be made!! The recipe we used is from a b&b owner we met along the way, so no guarantee for its accuracy – I feel it is more a cross between the shiny braided version and the malay version. In any case, whatever it is we ended up with was tasty 🙂