Did I tell you this time of the year is my favorite time of the year?! You see, it is non-stop celebrations – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Lunar New Year (LNY) and Valentine’s Day (plus my Chinese birthday and birthday are only weeks away too)!!! Yup, it is fantastic =)
I was cleaning the house and the garden over the weekend for LNY, and found that all the citrus trees in my garden were bearing fruits – loads of. I have been thinking of baking some sweets to give to my relatives as gifts for the LNY holiday and was flipping thru books to look for recipe that is suitable. We bring sweets (candies, Chinese pastries, chocolate and etc) to family and friends’ home when paying them visits over LNY, symbolizing prosperity in the new year - a traditional of LNY. When I saw all those mandarins, a light bulb lighted up; I knew of just the perfect sweet I can bake up – mini citrus cakes!
To get in the spirit of the Lunar New Year, I decided to use what Chinese see as the symbol of prosperity – Kumquat (pronounced gam gwat) and mandarins fruits. Kumquat is widely popular during LNY and sold as a plant and used to decorate the house – think Poinsettias for Christmas and mandarins fruits are eaten as snacks – at least in my family~
I adopted the recipe from Hidemi Sugino’s The Dessert Book; the original recipe was for fava bean pound cakes, which sounds really interesting and soon to be tested. I would say these mini pound cakes are a variation to the financier cakes I made last year. Since I used 2 types of citrus in this recipe, I was worried that it would be overly tangy but the end result was some super moist cakes with ultra citrus fragrant that will delight anyone who eats them. BTW, they are best enjoyed with a cup of good black tea ;)
Citrus Mini Pound Cakes – 4in x 2in x 5¾in mini loaf pan
For the batter:
200g unsalted butter, thinly sliced
280g confectioners’ sugar
7 whole eggs, L size
200g almond flour
140g all-purpose flour
80g candied mandarins peel, process until purée-like in a food-processor
3g baking powder
Some candied kumquat halves
Some pistachio dice
Some Cointreau for brushing on cake
- Butter the loaf pans generously with unsalted butter.
- Preheat the oven to 340°F/170°C.
Sift together, flour, almond flour and baking powder; set aside.
Using a stand mixer, combine butter, sugar and mix over medium speed for a few seconds or until incorporated; gradually add the eggs, flour mixture, mix for a few second after each addition.
Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and fold in the mandarins purée until incorporated. Pour batter into a piping bag. Snip off a corner of the bag and pipe batter into the prepared pans, lightly tap each pan to release the air bubbles, arrange 3 to 4 pieces of kumquat and sprinkle pistachio dice generously on top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden; remove from oven. Remove the cakes from pans, brush a layer of Cointreau on top of cake while it is still warm then leave on wire rack to cool.
Candied Mandarins Peel
100g mandarins peel
½ tsp salt
100g granulated sugar
Make the syrup: bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat and set aside.
Wash the peel well using a veggie brush then slice into thin threads. Put peel, salt, add water to just cover in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drain; repeat this step 1 more time.
Return the drained peel to a small saucepan, add the syrup to just cover and boil over medium heat until translucent. Let cool and cover (with syrup) overnight.
自踏入冬天﹐我就很少打理后花園那些花花草草﹐不過因為新年的關係﹐在過去的這個週末就想清理一下好去舊迎新。走進花園映入眼前的是顏色鮮艷的各色柑橘類的果樹﹐原來它們都結滿了果實﹐有檸檬﹐柚子跟橘子等。媽媽說現在是柑橘的季節﹐所以都結果了。果實看起來實在是太飽滿了﹐打掃中途忍不住摘了個橘子來吃﹐味道還不賴不過偏酸﹐覺得比較適合用來製作果醬。剛好我在為該做什麼樣的拜年糕點拌手禮而頭痛﹐突然想到我該用這些橘子跟朋友由佛羅里達州帶回來的金桔作為食材。記得Hidemi Sugino’s The Dessert Book 中有多個柑橘甜點的做法﹐決定做什麼後馬上翻食譜去。
磅蛋糕模具4in x 2in x 5¾in 6個
3g 發酵粉/ 泡打粉
用電動攪拌器以中速把糖和奶油打至融合﹐分數次加入雞蛋﹐每加一次攪打數秒至融合。跟著小量地加入混合篩過後的粉類﹐每加一次都必須攪打均勻﹐至呈順滑麵糊狀。將麵糊倒進裝有橘子皮粗泥的碗中﹐用橡皮刀源邊往下刮翻拌勻。將麵糊倒入沒有擠嘴的擠花袋裡﹐剪去一角﹐將麵糊擠進烤模中至約8分滿﹐輕輕叩幾下釋放氣泡﹐放3 - 4塊糖漬金桔在上﹐最後撒些開心果仁碎。
將橘子皮﹑ ¼ 茶匙的鹽巴﹑適量的水(蓋過橘子皮即可)以中火煮沸﹐撈起橘子皮﹐倒掉熱水﹐擠掉水份﹐再重複一次這個去水份的做法。將橘子皮和糖漿混合倒進小鍋以中火煮沸後繼續煮至變透晶瑩為止。在常溫中放涼置一晚。將橘子皮跟小量的糖漿倒進密閉容器中冷藏存放。