I am at a loss to remember where I found this recipe, but it was handwritten on a scrap of paper which mysteriously turned up in my cupboard last week, so rather than throw it out, I tried it out! It could well have stemmed from a binge Pinterest session or some online Scandinavian recipe site, but who knows?!
Whatever it origins, the hungry hordes in my house scoffed the finished product down with gusto. Undoubtedly, a good seal of approval. The biscuits have a lighter texture, akin to a shortbread. In fact, one could easily substitute rice flour if one wanted to avoid wheat!
1 cup Butter ( softened )
2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Almond extract ( can also use vanilla if you don’t have almond)
2 cups Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Milk or Kefir ( can also use yoghurt)
1/2 cup Raspberry Jam
Preheat oven at 180 degree °C or 350°F
Cream butter and sugar and add the almond or vanilla extract and egg.
Add in salt, flour and milk/kefir and mix gently but well.
Take heaped teaspoons of cookie mix, and roll into a ball shape
Place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on a greased/lined tray.
Press your thumb into the middle of biscuit and fill the cavity with jam.
Bake the biscuits 14- 18 minutes in preheated oven. Cool 1 minute.
If you are pedantic, you can even drizzle a mix of icing sugar, mixed to a liquid with almond essence, over the top of the biscuits, if desired – I don’t do usually this, but you might like to do so.
Would it be crass to say that I am the Queen of Pikelets?
Well, I’ve said it, so if I am crass, it is because these Pikelets have won awards for many years at the Royal National Show. Seriously! If the reactions of others are anything to go by, they really are impressive, well, as much as a pikelet can be, I suppose. I have always kept my recipe a closely guarded secret, but today being April 25, Anzac Day; a significant, almost sacred national day for Australians and New Zealanders, (that you can read more about here), I’ve decided to spread the love that only an Aussie pikelet can do, and share this recipe with you!!
Pikelets are very definitely entrenched as a home bake favourite in the vernacular Australian and New Zealand cuisine and are much better than the much touted Anzac biscuits, [find that recipe here] -an oh so popular wartime ‘cookie’ that entered Australian and New Zealand folklore as one of our few traditions that are uniquely our own, but today – today it is all about Pikelets!
As I get a little older, (I am clearly a little in denial!), I have to watch the waistline a bit more than previously and thus look forward to the weekends to indulge in baking and eating some sweet treats, and sticking more to rabbit food rations, through the working week. This week I was reminded of the wonderful ‘Hjonabandsaela’ or Blessing of the Marriage cake at a lunch! It is not only light and delicious, it is traditional comfort food at its best, and it originates from Iceland!
Fridays are the traditional wedding day in Iceland. The pagan Icelanders believed the day was dedicated to Frigga, who just happened to be the goddess of marriage! Engagements sometimes last for 3 -4 years, so after waiting that long, it is little wonder that cake features prominently in the celebrations!
At the wedding feast itself, a ‘Kransekake’ or traditional Scandinavian wedding cake, is eaten. This the wonderfully Scandinavian stack of crispy, concentric almond-based pastry rings, decorated with icing and flags, which looks and tastes incredible.
Another Icelandic tradition is for a groom to send presents to bride’s family, on the morning after the wedding. Whilst the ancient tradition is by and large, forgotten in modern times, it is still customary for a bride and groom to exchange personal “bed gifts and cake.” The traditional religious ritual, the ‘Blessing of the Marriage’ is undertaken by the priest, after the wedding couple leave the wedding feast, when the bride and groom are finally alone! This is the cake for such an occasion!!!
This weekend’s sweet treat!
Hjonabandsæla -Blessing of the Marriage
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
150 gram butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamon (optional)
Rhubarb jam or other not very sweet jam such as cranberry.
Mix thoroughly softened (not melted) butter with the sugar. Add flour, bicarbonate of soda and oats
Press 3/4 of dough into greased tin. Spread jam on top, sprinkle the rest of the dough on top.
Bake in medium hot oven approx 30 -40 minutes.
To Make your own Jam
Bring to boil:
2 cups chopped rhubarb
juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup strawberry or cranberry (lingonberry) jam
2 tablespoon sugar
Cook 10 minutes and allow to cool. You can add more sugar if you think it is too tart.
If mixing by hand, use quick cook rolled oats, instead of whole oats.
Instead of rhubarb jam, you can try cranberry, blackberry or plum jam.
I think it must be a common family scenario, but I’m not sure?
Location: A suburban family kitchen. Time: 5pm, any day of the week. The pantry door swings open and shut several times; a low groan is emitted from a junior family member, quickly followed by a, “There’s nothing to eat,” kind of mantra. As the cook of the house, my first reaction, to hearing this mantra, is to ignore it and keep working. I find that is best.
But as each family member wanders into the kitchen, clearly starving and desperate for a crumb of sustenance after a long day at work, my resolve wavers. Collectively, their next move is to inspect the pantry, a second time, with the due diligence of police detectives at a crime scene, and it is then they hit me with the ‘kicker’, that eternal question, the one that makes me inwardly cringe………..
“What’s for dinner, Mum?”
And it is not only them. So attuned to hearing the ‘What’s for dinner?’ mantra, the canine members of my family become edgy at this hour too, and begin to pace up and down at the kitchen entrance, chiming in, in their own special way, to pressure me for food.
It is at this point, I have to steel myself and feign deafness, [clearly unsuccessfully], as I am always asked a second time, a little more urgently, “Hey, Mum. What’s for dinner?”
“Salmon,” I have to say, on this particular day, albeit through slightly gritted teeth, to which the response is anything from a contorted grimace, (coming from the fish-hating child), to unenthusiastic moans/yawns from the adolescent man-child/children.
It may be the ‘Steak and three veg’ of the hipster movement, and it’s almost certainly still a popular dinner for both the weight-conscious and the seafood lovers of the world, but in my family, salmon is, ostensibly, boring and unappetizing, for dinner. [I can’t understand this, myself.] Now, thanks to a dear friend sharing her treasured family recipe with me, I can serve a seriously good Salmon Pie, that effectively nips the ‘What’s for Dinner’ groans, in the bud.
I hope you feel tempted to try it for yourself. It may just be something you ponder about for dinner.
[Salmon is considered by some to one of the world’s healthiest foods, and contains Vitamin B12, D, Niacin, Omega -3 fatty acids, Phosphorus and Vitamin B6]
To make the Pie Crust:
1 and 1/2 cups of Plain All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 cup Grated Cheese (I use tasty)
125 g Butter
Rub butter into flour, until it is well mixed. It should still be crumbly at this point, not mixed up together into a dough*
*[A food processor is the easiest way to do this, especially if the butter has not yet softened].
Press 3/4 of this mix into a greased pie dish with your fingers, to form the base and sides of the pie. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the mix for the topping.
220 grams Salmon (flaked and boned)
I Onion, finely chopped
375 g Sour Cream
1/2 cup Grated Cheese
2 drops Tabasco Sauce (optional)
Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pour on top of the base.
Crumble the remaining 1/4 of the pie crust mix over the pie filling.
Bake for 40 – 50 minutes at 180° Celsius or until slightly browned.
Allow to cool and serve warm with a Garden/Greek salad or cold.
Juhls at the Not So Creative Cook posted a recipe that had me intrigued: Yema Cake with a condensed milk frosting. – That sounds different, I thought! A traditional cake from the Philippines: great!
I have made butter icing, royal icing, even cream cheese icing, but never condensed milk icing, so I decided I had to make it for Lin’s recipe challenge.
Yema cake is a traditional Filipino recipe and often eaten with Yema Balls: sweet balls of condensed milk goodness, rolled in sugar!! Wow!! My kids would have loved these when they were younger and thought it was a great sugar-fix especially with Easter so close!
However, they are now older and a cake is more eagerly received, so my contribution for the challenge will simply be the oh- so- divine texture of Yema Cake.
The cake itself has a sponge like texture and looks very similar to a sponge or Madeira cake. Jhuls called the base a ‘Chiffon cake’ and it does feel a little like a soft light texture on one’s palette! I pretty well stuck to the Yema cake recipe posted below, apart from two small variations. The first, a variation in cooking times that can probably attributed to my oven/cooktop’s fastidious ways, and secondly, when it came to the frosting, me being me, I couldn’t resist adding a bit more lemon juice to the mix.
So what did I think of the cake?
If truth be told, before I was able to add the frosting, half of it disappeared down my family’s gob!!! [embarrassing smile]
The frosting itself is quite rich: it is, after all made with condensed milk, and whilst this is a bit rich for my liking, those who are condensed milk fans will absolutely love it.
Jhuls recommended cooking the frosting for 30 minutes but I found it was set and thickened after 10-15 minutes, no matter how low the thermostat on my stove was set.
Rating: 10/10 – A winner!
YEMA Cake Recipe
[Source: Not so Creative Cook]
Servings: Yield one 10-inch cake
For the Chiffon Cake:
1¼ cup cake flour**
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 eggs (yolk and white separated)
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup olive oil or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cream of tartar
For the Yema Frosting:
1 14-oz. can condensed milk
½ cup evaporated milk
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Ed’s note: ** As I don’t have access to cake flour, I removed 1 1/4 tablespoon of flour from the flour and replaced this with cornflour.
For the cake:
Slightly grease one 10″ round baking pan. Preheat oven to 350ºF. [I used a silicone mould lined on the base with baking paper – Ed]
In a bowl, mix flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined. Make a well in the middle and add the egg yolks, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. In another bowl, combine 4 egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a mixer on high speed, mix until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue mixing on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Fold in the meringue (egg white mixture) into the flour-yolk mixture until well combined. Pour mixture over the prepared baking pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 -28 minutes [my oven took 35 minutes to cook the cake – Ed] or until cake tester/toothpick, inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool down in pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer on a wire rack. Allow to completely cool down.
For the frosting:
In a saucepan, mix all ingredients using a whisk until well combined. Cook with constant stirring over low heat for 30 minutes or until thick and spreadable.
Remove from heat and allow to cool down.
Carefully cut the cake into two even layers. Place the first layer on a cake dish. Spread about 3/4 cup frosting on top. Put the second layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Using a fork, create lines on the frosting. Sprinkle your choice of toppings, or you can just without.
Yema Cake – Good to eat whilst Pondering About Something