Cider route and cheese tasting in Normandy (Pay D’auge)

calvados pierre huet

It is hard to leave Normandy without trying her apple ciders or cidres as they would call it. That would be a utter shame.
This was about the only time when in France that I drink more cider than wine. And then, there is calvados; An apple brandy made in the region that you pray that you won’t get drunk on it though it is certainly comforting and warming to have a touch of it after a heavy meal, just before braving the cold, strong winds on the walk back to the hotel.

The first few days in Bayeux was somewhat une petite introduction to the glories of ciders and calvados that the region has to offer. Lunches were supplemented by bottles of ciders that add a refreshing touch to the meal. They are mostly delicious, crisp, some more so than others.

You might be familiar to Normandy apples or Normandy apple tarts – apples are pretty much synonymous to this region. Hence, it is hardly surprising that this is also the region that produces some of the best cider, in my humble opinion and also its famous counterpart, calvados (only the apple brandy made in Normandy can carry this name).

Beauvron-en-auge2 Beauvronen-auge 4

We dedicated one day to explore the Pay D’auge area in Lower Normandy to do some cider and cheese tasting on our own. Our first stop, however, was this small, picturesque town – Beauvron-en-Auge, that has earn herself the name of one of the most beautiful villages in France. Beauvron-en-Auge is certainly deserving of her accolade. While
most of this village lie on one main street that you can walk end-to-end in 15 minutes, the houses that lined the street are half-timbered style Norman houses that make the whole village exude a quaint picturesque quality unlike any others. There are shops that sells little knick-knacks and an unassuming bakery that sells really good pain aux raisins and chouquettes.

Beauvron-en-auge3

Since it was a cold April morning, we practically had the village to ourselves and I got shutter happy as always. The cold winds and drizzle did nothing to dampen any high spirits I had.

We took the cider route (route du cidre)and headed to Calvados Pierre Huet after our morning walk in Beauvron-en-Auge. We visited the distillery that is housed in a wooden building, with its surrounding apple orchards, to learn about how calvados is made. Calvados Pierre Huet is a five-generation, family run estate that produces calvados, pommeau, ciders.

calvados production

 

calvados productions 2

 

We tried a whole range of their products, starting with their natural apple juice that is naturally sweet and refreshing. They had a few ciders including a pear one which was nice and crisp.

The pommeau was the surprise. I haven’t had that before coming to Pierre Huet – pommeau is made by combining apple must (or simply juice) and calvados before ageing it in oak barrels. The pommeau made in Pierre Huet is aged for 36-48 months in oak barrels. You will greatly enjoy it if you appreciate port. The pommeau here taste of prunes, raisins and reminds me greatly of a gorgeous tart tartin.

calvadosWe also did a horizontal tasting of the calvados – things start to get interesting with the vieux reserve 8 years after the alcohol begins to mellow down. The 15 years was smooth and well-rounded, the alcohol doesn’t hit you immediately anymore.  It really does get better with age. If you can afford, you can always go for the Cordon Or 30 years (yes, the calvados that has been aged in oaked barrels for 30 years!)

If you have more time, you should most certainly drive along the idyllic route du cidre for a relaxing afternoon. Unfortunately, we did not do that due to time constraints.

After loading up our car with a whole box full of calvados, pommeau and cider, we hit the road towards Livarot – a cheese-making town in Normandy.

fromage graindorge 2

We visited the Fromage Graindorge factory that also has a self-guided tour through its cheese making processes. The most famous of its cheeses is of course the Livarot AOC cheese, a washed rind cheese made from cow’s milk and is often characterised by the five rounds of reed that is tied around the cheese.  It’s a soft cheese with quite a strong aroma.

fromage graindorge 4

fromage graindorgeWhile we came looking for Livarot cheese, we unexpectedly found the Neufchâtel coeur AOP cheese (Coeur de Neufchatel) that Graindorge produces as well. It is one of the oldest cheeses in Normandy, and maybe France. The cheese came in the shape of a heart – its texture is similar to a camembert but it posses a stronger, more earthy and nutty flavour. We bought some along the way to have it with some toasted baguette and wine – it was simply delightful!

Lunch was at a small town named Vimoutiers. We ate in this small and cute place called La Héronnière (which translates to the hedgehoge). The food was simple but pretty delicious. Its focus was on local produce sourced from farms in the region – they also have a nice selection of Norman craft beers and organic ciders. The wholewheat pizza is made in a wood fire oven on site.

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We headed to Camembert town to taste the namesake cheese but alas – both Maison du Camembert museum and Fromage Durand (another camembert producer) was not open. I’m not sure why because we did check its opening hours but I guess France was just stepping out of winter hence, businesses are taking their time to open its doors to visitors.

Despite being a little disappointed, I suppose we had done enough eating and drinking for one day. We did enjoy our little adventure in Pay D’auge, a lovely area that is worth your attention if you are in Normandy.

 

Camembert President cheese

 

 

fromage graindorge 5

 

 

 

Visit

(I’ve also included some of the places that we did not visit but would have loved to.)

Beuvron-en-Auge
7km north of the N13 halfway between Lisieux and Caen
Information center: Porte Verte du Pays d’Auge, Relais de la Route du Cidre
2, Esplanade Woolsery
14430 Beuvron en Auge
Tel : 0033 2 31 39 59 14

Pierre Huet
5 Avenue des Tilleuls
14340 Cambremer
Tel: +33 (0)2 312 63 01 09, contact through website

Calvados Dupont
Domaine Familial Louis Dupont
RD16
14430 VICTOT-PONTFOL
Telephone : 02 31 63 24 2
Opening hrs: 9am to 6pm. E-mail : info@calvados-dupont.com


Manor de Grandouet
14340 CUMBERER

Telephone : 02 31 63 08 73
Opening hrs: 9am to 13:00, 14:00 to 18:30
E-mail : cavesdumanoir@orange.fr

Fromage Graindorge
42 Rue du General Leclerec,
14140 Livarot France
Tel: 02 31 48 20 00, E-mail : visite@graindorge.fr
Opening hrs: 10am to 12 noon and 2:30pm to 5:30pm
Go in the morning to see the workers making the cheese.

Maison du camembert museum
Le Bourg, 61120 Camembert, France
closed on monday. 10am to noon/2pm to 5pm
Visit to learn about how camembert is made. Comes with tasting at the end. 3.5 euro


Fromagerie Durand

the last dairy farm in the actual village of Camembert producing true A.O.C. camembert cheese from raw milk, hand moulded with a ladle in the traditional way.
La Heronnière, 61120 Camembert, Orne
Open all year. Open daily from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3pm to 6pm. Closed on Sundays.

Eat

Le Hérisson
3 rue du Quatorze Juin
61120 Vimoutiers
Tel: 02 33 12 93 44
Opens: lunch 12 noon to 2pm (Tue to Sat) and dinner (Tue to Sun)

 

Beauvron-en-auge 1

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Salut France: Bayeux and Normandy

Bayeux cathedral

I’ve been back from France and have been sick since (I’ve got the case of the chicken pox!and it’s no fun at all). It does leaves me time to sort through my photos and get started on sharing with you on some of the highlights of my trip.

We flew in to Paris, picked up the car and drove straight to Bayeux  where our trip began. Bayeux is a lovely medium-sized town in Lower Normandy. It had little corners of charm and little pockets of quaint beauty on its cobbled streets. Even though we were jet-lagged and hungry, we were pretty excited to walk around.

While it was drizzling and a little grey on our three plus hours drive to Bayeux, we saw that spot of brilliant blue hanging over the Bayeux cathedral in a distance and we practically ran towards it.

We had a simple lunch, a menu du jour, at Au Petit Bistro that was near the cathedral. The amuse-bouche was a small dish of savoury crème brûlée made with cheese and peppers with torched sugar top. C’est super! What a delicious way to begin our journey!

It was the end of March, and even though it was officially spring, the weather didn’t seem to agree. The winds were unbearably strong, skies were grey, clouds couldn’t hold back the droplets – that was a common occurrence on all the days that we spent in Normandy.

Except for one.

It was a day where we decided to take a day trip to the very popular Mont Saint-Michel. The skies were radiantly blue, the sun was smiling – just a perfect respite from the wet and gloom.

Mont Saint-Michel

mont st michel front

Mont Saint-Michel was everything I imagined it to be, and so much more. It was a thing of beauty that stood still through the test of time. Though we didn’t stay late (we were told that the tides were coming in much later on that day) to watch the high tides flowing in and taking in the beauty of this mystical island Benedictine abbey, I still have to gush about its mystic beauty.

The feeling of being there is simply magical. The one thing I found really amusing is this fun fact about the island, Mont Saint-Michel – as of 2015, the population on the island is 50, yet an overwhelming number of visitors (3 million or more) travel to see it every year!

mont st michel 5 mont st michel 6

It has a little town area that is lined with tourists shops and restaurants – pretty but full-on touristy but those used to be commercial shops and  houses in its early days.  A narrow, winding path leads  to the abbey and monastery that was built in 8th century AD.

mont st michel 3 mont st michel 4

After a visit through the Abbey and its Romanesque-styled church, its austere lodging and dining room of the monks, and its peaceful cloisters, we took a walk around the abbey and its fortification. The view was sublime – very surreal colours that stretches out to infinity.

mont st michel 2msm

One cool thing about Mont Saint-Michel was that it used to be without the causeway – that means that pilgrims would have to walk through mudflat while keeping an eye on an approaching tide.

I spotted some people walking along the sandy path from a distance while being on top of the abbey and thought that it would have been a pretty fine hike (if only it wasn’t so cold!).

D-Day tour – Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, Omaha beach, Pointe du Hoc

American Cemetery and memorial Normandy

The other main reason why we find ourselves in Normandy is because we are history geeks and we really wanted to visit the significant D-Day sites.

The morning when we begun our d-day tour was a cold, windy, and wet one.

Since we decided to spend just a full day on it, we decide to concentrate on the American side of the operations on D-day. We started off our visit at the Normandy American Cemetery and memorial.

Just a quick and brief history of D-day – It was an operation led by the allied forces during World War II (code name: “Operation  Overlord”) on 6 June 1944, it marked a turning point in World War II where subsequently France and the rest of Europe were freed from German control.

We began our visit at the Visitor Centre that has many videos, sound clips, information on the American soldiers who took part in the fighting as well as the details of Operation Overlord – it made the whole visit very poignant.

We walked through the cemetery next – it was a sad sight to see so many graves of many of young American soldiers who lost their lives. We need to remember this day (the lives lost,

It was raining and grey that morning and the weather just seems to add to that poignancy.Omaha beach normandy

Next we went to visit Omaha beach where the most intense of the D-day fighting took place. It was hard imagining that such a peaceful beach had once seen so much blood and gory.

pointe du hoc

The last stop of our D-day tour is at Pointe du Hoc. Pointe du Hoc is a 100-metre high cliff on the coast in between Omaha and Utah beach. The US rangers had to scale up that cliff to dismount the German cannons (that were not there by the time they reached).

Only ninety of the two hundred and twenty-five men survived D-day. It was really sad and when you are there you can only imagine that near impossible task that they were given. I have only the greatest respect for these men.

Pointe du Hoc still bears the scars of WWII with the bomb crater marks surrounding the nearby landscape. The German bunkers still remained untouched since that day and I felt like I took a time machine back to that particular day in world war II..

bunker at pointe du hoc

 

Bayeux

We had a few days in Bayeux and it gave us time to wander around the small town center. It is flanked by its Gothic Cathedral that seems larger than life in proportion to this town. The unique nature of this cathedral is the decorations within the cathedral which is Norman Gothic in nature – and one of the finest examples of this. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are in town.
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Another thing worth a look is the Bayeux tapestry at the Bayeux tapestry Museum I never thought that I would be so fascinated by it – I was there to hide away from the extreme winds and the onslaught of rain but it turned out to be more than a rewarding afternoon.

The tapestry is seventy metres long (!) and it dates back to the 11th century, making it almost a thousand years old! It’s made with wool and natural dyes and it tells the story of the conquest of England by the Duke of Normandy – it’s sewn to tell the story to the people who were illiterate. The audioguide takes you through the story that is sewn on the tapestry and brings it to life. No pictures are allowed in there so here’s a link to the animated version of it.

Around the town, I would recommend stopping by to try some apple pastries – my favourite were the chassons aux pommes (apple pie) and the tarte aux pommes Normande (Normandy apple tart). I bought some from Pâtisserie la Reine Mathilde, an old pastry store that opened in 1898.

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Also, you can’t ever leave Normandy without trying some calvados (apple brandy) and ciders. I love my ciders and I’m happy to be drinking it daily – all really good. The calvados is interesting, good but pretty strong (40 percent alcohol) so it’s not for the faint-hearted.

While I can’t say I love the weather in Normandy (I heard it’s usually very rainy anyway), I do think it is a very fine area to spend a few days in and maybe more if you are exploring more areas in the region.

One thing left, I will write about my cider and cheese adventures in Normandy (particularly in Pay d’auge) soon.

xx,
Jo

 

Stay

Hotel d’Argouges
21 rue Saint Patrice, 14400
Bayeux

A pretty nice place in a good location with very competitive prices.

Visit

Possible day-trips
Mont St-Michel
The drive from Bayeux to Mont Saint-Michel takes about 1.5 hours.

D-Day tour (American)
You can do the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Omaha beach, Pointe du hoc, and if you still have time, Eglise Sainte Mère, the church that the paratroopers landed on, also in the film “The Longest Day”.

Places to eat

La Rapière
53 Rue Saint-Jean, 14400 Bayeux, France
Phone:+33 2 31 21 05 45
http://www.larapiere.net/
Opening hrs: 12:00 to 1:30, 7:00 to 8:30pm dinner. Closed every Sun and Mon.
A small restaurant that uses seasonal and regional ingredients for the menu. Solid food. I enjoyed the Asnell’s beach oysters as well as their roasted guinea fowl with morroccan spices.

La Reine Mathilde
Address: 47 Rue Saint-Martin, 14400 (in Bayeux)
Closed: Closed all day Monday
A quaint pastry shop in the middle of town. Try the pastries here especially the chaussons aux pommes and tarte aux pommes normande.

See

Bayeux Tapestry Museum
3bis rue de Nesmond
14400 Bayeux – France
Opening hrs: 9.00 am to 6.30 pm (depending on seasons. Check on website) 9 Eur for an adult, inclusive of an audio guide.
http://www.tapisserie-bayeux.fr/

Bayeux Cathedral
4 Rue du Général de Dais, 14400 Bayeux, France
Opens: 9:00am to 12pm, 3:00pm to 6pm

For more travel information in Bayeux, you can check out their tourism website:

http://bayeux-bessin-tourisme.com/en/

 

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Homemade mandarin orange marmalade crostata (crostata di marmellata)

marmalade crostata 4

I have never tried a crostata di marmellata (jam tart) until I travelled to Italy. I did not even have that in a restaurant because it is not a restaurant dessert but the kind of cake that you find in the homes of nonnas or regular Italians.  I was fortunate to be in a home of Angela, and her homemade jams and crostatas.

While I was staying in this beautiful bed and breakfast in the Umbrian countryside, we were treated to a homemade breakfast feast daily.

For me, her homemade jams were the best and they came in a range of flavours – range, raspberries to marmalades. But it was the crostata di marmellata that made a stronger impression. I was in heaven the moment I tasted her homemade jam crostata – if memory did not serve me wrong,  it was a strawberry one and it just wasn’t like anything I’ve tried before. It is certainly not some fancy pastry, and it’s never so with Italian sweets, but it was simply delicious.

marmalade crostata 2

A crostata is not quite a tart yet not quite a cake – its texture kind of falls in between the two. The Italians seem to have discovered something in this in-between, for it is so good.

Since I had leftover Italian tipo “00” flour from my pasta making foray, I put that into good use in this crostata.

I think the best crostatas are usually made with homemade jam. I may be bias so do go on to use a good store-bought variety if you need to.

I used the mandarin orange marmalade that I made over the Chinese New Year period for this. I loved it in the crostata.

I always love looking at a lattice-top tart. While it may take a teeny bit of patience to do the interlace pattern, the results are always the most pleasing to the eye. I do admit that on lazy days (that occur quite frequently), I simply make a criss-cross pattern or use a cookie cutter to place some shapes on the tart instead.

I filled the two smaller tartlets with nutella for a nutella crostata but I found that the nutella becomes rather dry after baking – I would probably add a little more neutral oil like grapeseed oil to the nutella before baking the next time. Any ideas how to combat that problem is much-welcomed.

 

nutella crostata

 

Recipe: Homemade marmalade crostata
Makes a 24cm fluted tart, plus two 8cm fluted tarts
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller Australia

Ingredients:
180g “00” Tipo flour (otherwise, substitute with bread flour)
60g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar, sifted
50g almond meal/ground almond
grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1 egg and 1 yolk, room temperature (may not need all)

Mandarin orange marmalade – refer to recipe in this post (homemade jam/marmalade would be best in the crostata. If you are using store-bought ones, you might want to whisk the juice of half a lemon so it wouldn’t be too sweet)
you need about 350-400g marmalade/jam

Method:

1. Whisk together flour, icing sugar, almond meal and orange zest. Add in cubed butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you get coarse breadcrumb-like texture.

2. Add in the egg and vanilla extract (add about 3/4 first) and bring the mixture together until just combined. Add in more egg as needed and stop adding once the mixture comes together. Then shape the dough into a flat disc and cover it with cling wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

3. When the dough is chilled and well=rested, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll the dough out to about 4mm thick and line the tart tins. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 1 cm thick stripes and use it to form a lattice on the top of the tart.

4. Fill the tart with the marmalade, just spread a thin layer of it – you don’t need a thick layer of it as jam/marmalade is sweet.Place the lattice pattern on top and refrigerate the tarts while you preheat the oven.

5. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius and bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the pastry turns golden brown. The small tartlets would take about 20 – 25 minutes.

6. Allow the crostatas to cool on a cooling rack for about 10 -15 minutes before turning it out from the tins and cooling further. Serve the crostata with a dusting of icing sugar and some chantilly cream on the side.

 

marmalade crostata marmalade crostata 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The perfect soy marinated molten egg (Ajitsuke Tamago )

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*This is a scheduled post as I’ll be on my way to France as you read this.

I’m about to share with you a dish that appears on my kitchen table too frequently – soy marinated molten eggs or Ajisuke Tamgo.

The only thing that is holding me back from having these is the dreaded cholesterol from egg yolks and that is my favourite part of the egg.

I wouldn’t actually call it a recipe because it’s dead easy and it involves just a main ingredient with a few pantry staples and pretty much anyone can make this.

I love adding a soy marinated egg to my salads – it makes me look forward to the salads even more so when there is this egg involved.

I love serving this egg as an appetiser because it is quick to make, to multiply and is always a crowd-pleaser – everyone from my niece who is three years old to even those who claim “not to be an egg person” love this.

Since it involves so few ingredients, the key to having a good marinated molten egg is the time of cooking the egg. I’ve read so many articles on how to cook the perfect molten egg – I’m sure that there are many ways to do it. I use this method just because it works for me every single time (aside frm that one time when I forgot to set the timer for my eggs).

I’m pretty much known as the queen of eggs because of this – can’t say I’m most pleased with this epithet.

I like my egg yolks in this state – molten, set but not quite set, not runny and definitely not too cooked. What I detest most is overcooked egg yolks where the edges of the egg go grey, where the egg whites turn rubbery, and when the egg begins to give off a sulfurous smell.  I learnt of it from reading Hérve This’, a French chemist, “Kitchen mysteries” – a very good read for those who want to understand the science behind cooking in an accessible manner.

Before I start to get too technical (honestly, science isn’t at all my forte), I shall leave you as promised with probably one of the easiest recipe.

Have an egg-citing weekend and happy Easter  to all of you.

love,
Jo

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Recipe: Soy marinated molten egg (Ajitsuke Tamago )

Feel free to multiply the recipe for the no. of eggs that you have. If you have larger/smaller eggs, you would have to adjust your cooking time. Once you find that sweet spot, you can do it every single time. The timing for cooking the egg yields a molten texture – set but not firm, almost like a custard like texture.

Ingredients:
4-5 eggs (about 71 -75g, in shell), use right out of the fridge
3 tbsp light soy sauce like Kikkomun (for gluten-free folks, use tamari sauce instead)
2 tbsp mirin
a knob of ginger, skin removed and sliced(optional)
to serve: bonito flakes and nori stripes

Method:
1. Place cold eggs (right out of the refrigerator) into a pot of tap water with the water just slightly above the eggs. Add a big pinch of salt.

2. Place the pot on medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once the water start boiling (rolling boil, turn off the heat but leave the pot with the eggs and water on the stove for 5 minutes – use a timer.

3. After 5 minutes, plunge the eggs into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. This is important, otherwise, the eggs will continue to cook through. Only start to peel the egg shells off once the eggs are completely cooled. It is easier to do that when the eggs are completely cooled.

4. Place the eggs into a zip bloc bag/plastic bag. Add in the ginger and soy sauce. Place the eggs in the soy sauce marinade in the fridge for about 3 hrs (turning the eggs around once or twice so that the marinade will be even). I find that there is enough flavour after 3 hrs. Do not leave it for too long or the soy will permeate the yolks and cause a change in texture.

5. Slice the eggs into half before serving. You can top with toasted sesame seeds, bonito flakes or thinly cut nori (just a few serving suggestions).

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Pierre Hermé-inspired Ispahan loaf cake (Almond loaf cake with rose, raspberry and lychee)

Ispahan loaf cake (rose, raspberry, lychee) glazed

I’m a fan of Pierre Hermé‘s range of  Ispahan desserts. There’s just something magical about the flavour of rose, lychee, and raspberry. As much as I like, I can’t eat a macaron for breakfast, so I have to find a way to incorporate these flavour into a more breakfast-y loaf cake.  So this is it – my version of Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan loaf cake.

The Ispahan macaron is proabably Pierre Hermé’s best selling flavour amongst the macarons. When I was in Paris last year, the boutique has a entire range dedicated to the Ispahan flavour. Clearly, I’m not the only one enamoured  of the Ispahan flavour.

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Pierre Herme Ispahan desserts

 

 

I thought it’s fitting that I would make this cake and blog about it right before my Paris trip. I’m so psyched that I’ll be there again soon.

I’ve been testing and tweaking this recipe for a while now, hopefully this would make Monsieur Hermé proud.

The flavour of rose comes through in the most delicate manner and you get a burst of tartness from the raspberry and the unique sweetness of the lychee. Ispahan in a single bite.

I’ve incorporated almond meal (ground almonds) in the cake because I love the flavour and the moistness it gives to the cake. This cake needs quite a bit of baking because of all the moist contents so don’t be afraid to bake it for a longer time if it is not done – best way to test it is to see if it springs back upon touch.

I made a simple raspberry royal icing glaze, it stains the icing a perfect shade of pink, in my opinion. It seems like the right way to usher in spring. You can most certainly do without the glaze/icing. The cake is still pretty and perfect without it.

With that, I shall leave you with my recipe that I foresee will end up as one of my favourites – you know the kind that you will bake over and over again.

love,
Jo

 

Ingredients for Ispahan loaf cake

Ispahan loaf cake (rose, raspberry, lychee) 2

 

Recipe: Ispahan loaf cake (Almond loaf cake with rose, raspberry and lychee)
Makes one 8″ x 4″ loaf tin

Ingredients:
135g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g granulated sugar
2 tsp rosewater
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
145g eggs, room temperature (approximately 2 -2.5 large eggs)
150g plain flour
50g ground almonds (almond meal)
1 heap tsp/ 5g double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120ml buttermilk
6 + additional 2 tbsp dried rose petals
70g lychee (some of you may know of it as litchi), drain off excess liquid (I used those from a can)
80g raspberry (fresh/frozen is fine)
extra softened unsalted butter for piping

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line your loaf tin with baking parchment and butter the sides of the tin.

2. Infuse the buttermilk: heat the buttermilk gently until just slightly above body temperature (feels warm to touch). Place the 6 tbsp rose petals into the buttermilk to allow flavours to infuse for about 30 minutes.

3. Prepare the lychee, drain it and pat dry of excess liquid then roughly chop them up.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt. Then add the ground almonds and additional 2 tbsp rose petals (if using, for a more pronounced rose flavour) then set aside. Cream butter until pale, light. Add in the sugar and cream until pale and fluffy and well-incorporated.

5. Add in eggs, one at a time and mix until well-incorporated. Add in the rosewater and vanilla extract.

6. Start by adding 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients. Alternate between the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk (with the rose petals) in 2 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients on low speed until just combined. Fold in the raspberry and lychee.

7. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the cake batter into your lined loaf tin. Knock the tin against the kitchen counter top to remove any large air bubbles in the batter.

7. Creamed the softened butter and transfer it into a piping bag. Pipe a thin line across the center of the loaf. This helps the loaf cake crack very nicely. But you can omit this step if you wish.

8. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for about 60 – 65 minutes. When the cake is done, it should also shrink away from the sides of the pan. A cake tester should come out clean and it should also spring back immediately upon touch. If the cake starts to brown to much, you can cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil in the last 10- 15 minutes of baking.

9. Allow cake to cool in tin for about 15 minutes before using a palette knife to run along the sides of the tin and removing the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before storing.

Raspberry royal icing (optional):

Ingredients:
200g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
juice from half a lemon
a few tsp of water
2 raspberries

Method:

1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add in the juice of half a lemon and use a spatula to combine. Add in as much water as you need to bring the mixture to a thick enough consistency yet still pourable.
2. Add in the raspberries and mix it in. You can pass this through a sieve to remove the seeds so you only get the juice and colour in the icing. As you can tell, I was too lazy to do this so you still can see some of the seeds in the icing. The raspberries will give the icing a nice and natural colour. You wouldn’t have to add any pink colouring.

To assemble:

1. When the cake is cooled completely, place it on a wire rack with a tray beneath it. Pour the icing over the top of the cake and allow it to flow naturally. Collect the excess glaze from the tray and pour it along the sides of the cake if you wish.

2. Sprinkle some dried rose petals over it.

Ispahan loaf cake (rose, raspberry, lychee) 1

Ispahan loaf cake (rose, raspberry, lychee)

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