There's something very different and, in my opinion, quite classy when you invite guests over for tea and coffee. In Germany "Kaffee und Kuchen" is usually reserved for the weekends, when friends or family are invited to enjoy a selection of cake over cups of coffee or tea.
It's such a great way to spend time together. In the summers we usually spend Sundays in the garden either doing a bit of gardening or simply lazing around with a good book. As the birds chirp around in the lush green leaves of the shady apple tree a wonderful wisp of sweet baking floats through the air. In the Autumn when the air is cool and crisp we spend time walking trough the woods and collecting chestnuts and leaves. Wrapped warmly our thoughts are with that freshly baked cake or pastry and warm coffee waiting for us when we arrive home.
Usually I love inviting friends over for a late afternoon get-together. Especially as many have younger children it suits them more, having the leisure of bringing their children along and not having to time-watch for bedtime. I find it more relaxing when my guests are laid back and can enjoy their time with us at home.
What I really like about such afternoon gatherings is preparing several smaller treats instead of one main meal. It's much more pleasant indulging in a variety of sweet pastries and savory delicacies. If weather permits I usually set up the feast in buffet style on our little terrace and rent out 2 or 3 high tables that are spread out across the green grass. The kids get their own table laid out in colorful tablecloth, napkins, plates and cups.
As I do not have any means to keep the items warm, the food is usually served cold or at room temperature, which makes these kinds of events perfect for preparing most of the delicious delicacies ahead of time. Sometimes we will grill small amounts of meat and vegetables too, which takes care of the warm food issue.
While savory bites are very popular amongst my friends and family, what they love are the tiny sweet pastries, cakes and custard desserts. And I like to spoil them and their sweet teeth.
Like these delicious red current and marzipan swirls. The red currents, picked, over the summer from my mother-in-laws garden, were perfect for my end of summer garden party I had a while back. I found the recipe in a German magazine and adapted it slightly. The tart red currents wrapped in sweet yeasty dough and highlighted my the mellow marzipan was a real treat. Just perfect as a High Tea Treat!
Red Current and Marzipan Swirls
Printable version of recipe here.
For the yeast dough
250 ml milk – like warm
500g all-purpose flour
1 cube (approx. 42g) fresh yeast
75g butter, softened
a pinch of salt
For the filling
500g red currents, washed and removed from the stalks
200g marzipan, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom powder
150g icing sugar
For the yeast dough
- Crumble the fresh yeast into the milk. Stir to dissolve.
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour and make a well in the middle of it. Pour in the yeast-milk mixture. Taking some of the flour from the sides begin to prepare your yeast dough by mixing a small amount of the flour into the mixture. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Add sugar, egg, salt and butter to the dough and using the dough hooks of your stand mixer knead the dough until it comes together. Then for the final few minutes use your hands to make a smooth silky dough. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm dry place for approx. 30 minutes. Then give the dough a final good knead with your hands.
- Using a rolling pin roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle approx. 60 x 45 cm. Gently move the dough over to a sheet of baking paper cut in approx. the same size. This will help to roll the dough more easily.
For the filling
- Place the marzipan, cardamom and egg in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electrical hand held whisk until the mixture is nice and smooth.
- Preheat the oven to about 180 – 200 degrees C. Prepare two baking trays by lining them with baking paper.
- Spread the marzipan over the yeast dough in a thin layer. Lay out the red currents in an even layer leaving about 1 cm free around the edges.
- Roll the dough from the long side up, using the baking paper as an aid as you roll upwards.
- With a floured sharp knife cut about 12-15 slices from the dough roll, making sure to flour the knife in between each cut.
- Place the swirls on the prepared baking trays. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Back each tray separately for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to warm on a rack.
- In the meantime prepare the sugar frosting by adding 2-3 tablespoons of water to the icing sugar and stirring until smooth. Coat the warm swirls with the frosting and then allow to dry.
- You can use any kind of berries for these swirls. Try blueberries or raspberries, frozen now and fresh in the summer. Right now use dried cranberries, poached quince or pears.
- Instead of fruit try spreading a simple layer of your favorite preserve. This fig and ginger preserve will make everyone drool for more or this delectable plum and cinnamon preserve is perfect for breakfast, tea, or just about anytime of the day!
- Decadent would be simply drizzling some dulce de leche and a few nuts!
These were not only enjoyed by the adults but the kids really dug into them. As I saw how quickly they disappeared I wished I had made a few more. But the recipe is very versatile and can be adapted to use any fruit. The red currents kept the swirls nice and moist and their tart flavor played off well against the sweet yeast dough. The marzipan with the slight hint of cardamom added the perfect highlight and texture to round it off.
You might like these from WFLH:
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