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Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas baking: almond crescents, gingerbread cookies and cherry tarts

Almond Crescents

Happy 2009! I hope that everyone had a fun, safe and hangover free New Years. I would love to say that there were no hangovers in this house but that would be a lie..... a big fat lie, as someone spent the first day of the year SEVERELY ill - and it wasn't me!

But back to Xmas - for our festivities with the KKC, I prepared some baked goods so we would have some sweet stuff to munch on during the day.

One of the items I made were cookies that Sarah posted a recipe for recently. They were simple to make, and delicious. It was impossible to eat only one of these things - good thing the recipe made quite a few otherwise there wouldn't have been any left for Xmas.

Gingerbread cookies Gingerbread cookies
Gingerbread cookies Gingerbread cookies

I also made gingerbread biscuits - teddy bears, gingerbread people, xmas trees and stars. And a special lamedeer (bottom left) for Bro. It was late when I decorated them, and my icing skills need a lot of work, as evidenced by some of the crazed expressions on my gingerbread people!

The gingerbread biscuits were okay, although I preferred the mixture before it was baked. I reckon there should've been more ginger. I will have to hunt for a better recipe for next year!

Cherry tarts

I also tried out a cherry tart recipe but rather than a large tart, I made smaller ones. The dough made a very crumbly, almost biscuit-type pastry - they were very enjoyable. And you know, it's not summer or Xmas without cherries!

Cherry tarts

Cherry Tart

From Bill Granger's Holiday

Serves 8-10


125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
90g caster sugar
175g plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons almond meal


170ml cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
550g cherries, halved and pitted (fresh are best)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 24cm round loose-bottomed tart tin.

Make the pastry by stirring together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt and stir to make a soft dough. Transfer the dough to the tin and press evenly into the base and side of the tin with your fingertips. Put the tin on a baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the almond meal over the base.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, whisk together the cream, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add the flour and whisk until well mixed. Arrange the cherries, slightly overlapping, over the pastry base and pour the cream filling evenly over the cherries.

Return the tart to the oven for a further 40-50 minutes until the filling is firm. Leave to cool and serve with cream or ice cream.

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