Friday 18 December 2009
[Like shooting-star crumbs – Small cranberry cakes]
Sometimes, things can’t wait. Not for a week, a day, an hour, a second, or even a minute. Things like… SNOW.
In fact, ever since I spotted the first snowflakes almost five hours ago, I’ve seemed to have a canon 400D glued to my right hand.
And damn, this is a useful new organ, acting as an extension of my eyes. I think beauty surgeon should consider reconversion as camera-stickers in the most serious way.
Silly stories apart, snowflakes make the prettiest things to photograph. So much that I actually jumped onto the bed to reach my laptop and tell you about this. Then, I second-thought, and realised that as lovely they might be, they are not considered pâtisserie.
Oh yes, I could have written a recipe for snow granita, which in my humble opinion taste best with a dash of lemon juice and some vodka (this is off records, right), but it didn’t quite fall in what I consider shareable.
Those petits gâteaux aux cranberries I made a couple of days ago do.
Well, let me check. Delicious: yes. Seasonal: yes. Moist: yes. Flavourful: yes. Pretty: not so much, but you have to realise we don’t even own a muffin pan yet, so they’re a little free-form.
Quite evidently, things couldn’t be as smooth. I could certainly post the recipe, but a picture? By night?
Trust me, at this point I was more than desperate; not to mention exhausted from a never-ending sore-throat and looong hours of work at the Capital Hotel (yes, I know, this is – another – new thing in my life: two star restaurant!).
And then, I grabbed a binder, a cookbook, and a pastry chef jacket, and created this lightbox.
Please, close your eyes, unless you haven’t had a chance to get your advised dose of daily laughing; because, well, I’m sure THIS will make you giggle to the point when your cheek hurt and you start crying.
Now take a deep breath, notice how sore your ribs are after this unexpected whoop, take a piece of paper and a pen, and write that recipe down for instant Christmasness.
Petits gâteaux aux cranberries
There is something comforting about those small cakes. It might be the wonderful smell that fills the house, setting everyone into a Christmas mood; or maybe it’s their light texture.
If – unlike me – you use a muffin pan, your cake will rose higher and might require a couple extra minutes of baking. Just insert a knife into the centre of the cakes and as soon as it comes out clean, it means they’re ready.
Simply make sure you don’t overbake them, in which case they would turn out slightly dry instead of theire usual moistness.
You should also make sure your milk and egg aren’t too cold when you add them so the butter doesn’t set when you mix them in. If it does, don’t worry, the cakes will be lovely, just perhaps a tad smaller.
Petits gâteaux aux cranberries
for the cranberries
150g fresh cranberries
In a pan set over medium heat, melt the butter, then throw in the cranberry and sugar, Mix from time to time until the cranberries are soft yet not mushy.
Allow to cool, while you get on with the cake batter.
for the orange cake
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
zest from half an orange
120g milk, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
In a bowl, cream the butter until smooth then mix in the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and orange zest.
Mix in the milk and egg until you have a lump-free batter.
Fold in the cranberries and their cooking juices, and divide the batter amongst 12 muffin cases.
Bake for 25 minutes, or when the point of a knife inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.