Every now and then I get really, really obsessed with a particular flavour or ingredient. I’ve been in danger of switching the target of my fickle foodie love to speculoos – I mean really, who doesn’t love biscuits smushed together with syrup? – but the sun’s shining and I’ve truly fallen for strawberry and coconut and oh my god I cannot stop jamming these tiny pastries into my pie hole.
With a little bit of oh-so-British sweetness teamed with the more exotic freshness of coconut, they’re the summertime cousin to the warmer months’ cinnamon rugelach. And as a bitesize morsel that can be prepared a few days ahead and doesn’t wilt in the sun, they’d also be superb for picnics and barbecues. I guarantee that despite their unassuming exterior, this little bite of summer will not disappoint.Continue reading →
One of the things I love about warmer weather is that you get to eat with your hands more. Lunchtime no longer means miserably slurping down soup; dessert doesn’t mean cradling a bowl of hot crumble. Instead, it’s all about barbecue food and ice cream cones. It’s nibbles and bitesize morsels, and food on sticks.
But I’m not quite ready to leave the smells of the cooler months behind, to abandon sweet spicy aromas in favour of the freshness of greener food.
So these pastries are a decent compromise: a little bit of winter, a little bit of spring. I’m pretty sure you can’t go far wrong with a pastry that’s made with cream cheese, but the cinnamon sugar really shows it off, creating a mouthful that’s like the lovechild of cinnamon bread and baklava.
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Makes 32 pastries
Notes Using a sharp knife to cut the dough into slices (step 8) will work, but for less drag use a pizza cutter.
For the cream cheese, low fat works absolutely fine and helps to balance out all that butter guilt!
When it comes to spreading browned butter over the dough, a gentle touch is best – otherwise the warm butter can make the dough go a bit soupy.
150g butter, plus 40g for filling
150g cream cheese
160g plain flour
1tbsp icing sugar
4tbsp light brown sugar, plus a tbsp to sprinkle
3tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
1) To make the dough, using an electric whisk, beat together 150g butter and the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
2) In a small bowl, combine the flour and icing sugar, and add to the cream cheese and butter mixture, beating on the lowest speed until just combined. If your whisk’s lowest speed is still pretty fast (mine is) do this by hand with a metal spoon – you might need to get your fingers in there to fully bring the dough together.
3) Scrap the dough into a large piece of clingfilm, wrap well and chill in the fridge for two hours.
4) Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and, in a separate bowl, mix the egg yolk with about a tablespoon of water to thin it slightly. Cover two baking trays with baking parchment. Set aside. (What’s the difference between greaseproof paper and baking parchment?)
5) When the dough has chilled, divide it into to halves and pop one back into the fridge while you prepare the other.
6) On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle (squircles also allowed) about 30cm in diameter.
7) Brown the remaining butter over medium heat, then pour onto the dough. Use the back of a tablespoon to gently spread the butter over the dough, to about 1cm from the edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top.
8) Cut the dough into 16 slices (like a pizza!). Starting from the outside edge, roll each slice tightly inwards and transfer to the baking tray, spacing them about 1 inch apart, taking care to tuck the point underneath.
9) When all the slices have been rolled, pop the tray into the freezer for 15 minutes, or fridge for 30, and repeat using the second piece of dough. Preheat the oven to 160C.
10) When all the pastries are rolled and chilled, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and puffed up.
It’s no secret here that I think about breakfast a lot. Usually this means pancakes and porridge and an abundance of hot cross buns, but every now and then you need a proper English breakfast.
The other thing about breakfast, though, is that I like mine to be transportable, or at least able to be eaten at the office – I even took speculoos pancakes to the office to reheat and have with bananas. These parcels tick those boxes. Okay, so there’s no beans (how I like my breakfast) and it’s almost like a quiche. But you can pick it up and eat it on the move, without sacrificing any of that proper breakfast goodness. Continue reading →