Engadiner Nusstorte

Katarina stepped up to the table this week with a nutty delicacy from mountainous Switzerland. She described it as a “calorie bomb” and she wasn’t wrong, but it was exactly what we all needed to kick start a frosty day at work. Second servings went down even quicker than firsts, and a good time was had by all.

“A dense caramel walnut pastry cake- think of it like a pecan pie with a lid! Traditional from the Graubunden part of Switzerland. The crust is quite biscuit like.”


350 g flour
250 g butter
200 g sugar
1 pinch salt
1 lemons, rind of
1 eggs


500 g sugar
500 g walnuts
500 g cream
50 g tbsps honey
1 egg yolks


Cream butter and sugar.
Mix flour, rind, salt and egg on high speed until a dough is formed.
Divide the dough into 1/3 and 2/3 parts, wrap well in foil and chill for minimum 1/2 hour.
In the meantime, heat the sugar for the filling until it caramelises to a very light brown.
Heat the cream (can be in microwave) and add it to the caramel, stirring rapidly.
Add the honey, heat until it reaches a rolling boil.
Add nuts and stir well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Mix well and allow to cool.

Roll out the larger of the pastry dough rolls and fit into a greased 24cm springform pan to cover the base and sides.
Pour in the cooled filling.
Roll out the remaining dough to form a lid for the cake. Put on top of the filling and join the edges well.
Paint the top of the cake lightly with whisked egg yolk.

Cook the cake at about 180 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool. Do not remove outside of tin until cool! The cake should be totally cold before serving – I put mine in the fridge on the base, and only take it off the base once it’s cold and the filling has set. Otherwise if the filling is still hot the bottom will sag when you pick it up.

Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 20:00  Leave a Comment  

Lemon Tart

Finally, you cry, an update to the cake blog! What is this ancient recipe from weeks ago? But wait, this is comparatively recent compared to some of the cakes yet to go online. Read it and remember the tart but tasty lemony overtones of Gareth’s tasty lemon tart, then go forth and replicate!

Lemon Tart
(Based on recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s ‘The Cook’s Companion’):

1 quantity shortcrust pastry
3 large lemons
6 eggs
250 g castor sugar
200 ml cream
icing sugar

1/2 cup of softened butter
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup water.

For pastry, rub butter into sifted flour and salt until crumbly. Stir in egg then gradually add water until dough has been worked into a ball. Refrigerate until required.

Line a 24 cm loose-bottomed deep flan tin (or springform tin) with thinly-rolled pastry (approx 5 mm thick) and bake blind at 200C for 20 mins.
Reduce heat to 160C.
Zest and juice lemons. Combine eggs and sugar until well amalgamated, then add zest and juice and stir well. Add cream and mix well with a balloon whisk.
Pour into just-baked pastry case and bake for 35-45 minutes until almost set. Cool in tin for at least 30 mins before serving. Serve dusted with icing sugar and thick cream (or whipped cream infused with Cointreu – yum!).

Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 20:09  Leave a Comment  

Linzer Torte

Katarina delighted the troups with the Linzer Torte (or Linzertorte), an Austrian torte with a lattice design on top of the pastry. It is named after the city of Linz, Austria, and is a classic in the Austrian, Hungarian, Swiss, German, and Tirolean traditions. The Linzer Torte recipe is the oldest-known in the world. For a long time a recipe from 1696 in the Vienna Stadt- und Landesbibliothek was the oldest one known. In 2005, however, Waltraud Faißner, the library director of the Upper Austrian Landesmuseum and author of the book “Wie mann die Linzer Dortten macht” (“How to make the Linzer Torte”) found an even older Veronese recipe from 1653 in Codex 35/31 in the archive of Admont Abbey. The Cake Club liked this ancient cake very much indeed, those attending being rather pleased at the low turnout because it meant they all got seconds.

150 g Butter
125 g Sugar – mix in a bowl
1 Egg – add and beat until mixture turns light

1 point of knife clove powder
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
150 g ground almonds
150 g white flour – mix first then add and gently combine. Cool in fridge for at least 30 min.

Use a springform tin. Roll out 1/3 of dough on bottom of tin. Make a roll with another 1/3 of dough and create edge of cake.

200 g Raspberry jam spread over bottom
Create either a lattice or cut out hearts or stars with cookie cutter from remaining 1/3 dough and place on jam.
1 yolk of egg (thinned with a little milk) paint edge and lattice with egg

Bake for 40 min. on 200° Celsius.
Cake will stay fresh for 1 week.

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 20:51  Leave a Comment  

Quince Tarte Tatin

Tis the season for quince, and Nina produced a delicious quince tarte tatin to prove it. This disappeared quite quickly despite a low turn out – Cake Club members must turn up by 10.10 am these days, or the early gannets unashamedly dive in for seconds.

Quince Tarte Tatin

Quite a laborious recipe, merged from several different sources, most notably the French Tarte Tatin website, which gives the lovely pastry recipe. Of course, if you’re slightly lazy or in a hurry, you can use ready-to-use puff pastry (or, if you’re a real pro, make puff pastry yourself)

First step is to poach the quinces to make them soft and infuse them with some sugar and spices.

Peel your quinces. I used around 10 in total, but only 2.5 for the tarte. However, if you are going through the trouble, better to make a quince feast of it. Cut them in quarters and remove the core, preferably without cutting your fingers.

Put two liters of water with around 600g of sugar in a slow cooker, or in an ovendish in the oven. Most recipes call for more sugar, but I found this sweet enough.

Add 2 cinnamon sticks and a teaspoon of cloves and the quinces.
Bring to a boil and simmer this for at least 3 hours, or overnight, but basically until the quinces changed colour from yellow to pink. Also take care the quinces don’t get too soft, it’s fine for eating, but a bit of a pain for the tarte-process, you don’t want them to fall apart when you touch them.

For the tarte:
The dough, la pâte brisée :
200g flour
100 butter in small pieces
50 g warm milk
1 pinch of salt

General warning: don’t work your dough too much!
Mix flour, butter and salt until it feels sandy.
Add the milk and knead into a homogenous ball, place this in the fridge in plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Caramel (wet)
100g sugar
50 ml water

Put the water into a heavy-based, deep saucepan, preferably stainless steel as this will allow you to see the colour changes in the caramel. Sprinkle in the sugar and, over a low heat, slowly dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally. It is important to dissolve the sugar completely, as once the syrup starts to boil any sugar crystals can turn the caramel grainy. Use a wet pastry brush to brush any crystals from the sides of the pan.

Increase the heat and bring the syrup to a simmer.
Continue to simmer briskly and after around 15 minutes the syrup will start to colour.

Swirl the pan occasionally to ensure an even colour, but don’t stir. Once it is a deep amber (4-5 minutes more), take off the heat and immediately place the base of the pan in a cold-water bath to stop the caramel cooking (it will hiss).

Now, finally, the actual tarte.
2 to 3 poached quinces (depending on size, you need enough to completely cover the pie-form), cut into relatively thick slices
The dough
Caramel, cooled

In a frying pan melt some butter with a similar amount of sugar and bake the quinces for approximately 15 minutes without stirring, but taking care they don’t burn. If they start sticking to the pan, add more butter. Do this until all the quinces are fried in butter and sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease a 26 cm pie-form with butter
Pour the slightly cooled caramel into the form
Arrange the quinces in circles in the form
Roll out the dough into a round flap large enough to cover the quinces completely (yep, 26 cm to fit the form)
Drape the dough over the quinces
Prick with a fork several times so it doesn’t form bubbles during baking
Bake 30 minutes

Let it cool slightly, then cover with a plate and turn upside down, voila the quinces are now on top!
Serve warm, as it is or with (ice) cream

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 18:04  Leave a Comment  

Cake-Off Challenge: Rhubarb & Strawberry Tarts

The first of the Christmas Cake-Off 2010 Challenge Cakes to be tasted on this fine December morning was the rhubarb and strawberry tarts by Nina. The original recipe called for a single, large tart, but our budding baker come chemist decided to down-size and up-booze. “I realised that they would have less time in the oven as small tarts, so I boiled the rhubarb first in red wine. On reflection, I recalled that my previous cake club offering had a disappointing alcohol content, so then I soaked the strawberries in white wine. Overnight.”

Guest Judge, Lord Forrester of Governor’s Bay, had this to say about the tarts:

Very short pastry. A nice tartness between the strawberries and rhubarb, with a hint of Christmas in the jus.

Other comments from the assembled tasters included “The pastry is so light,” and simply, “Yum.”

Vote for Nina’s strawberry and rhubarb tarts in the 2010 Cake-Off Round 1 Poll.


2 cups flour
Rind of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter
Some fluid, originally ice water, but things like orange juice or champagne also work well
1 cup sugar
2 tbs tapioca
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp corn starch
500 g chopped rhubarb
50 ml orange juice, or white wine
500g coarsely sliced strawberries
Some flakes of butter

Dough: in bowl combine flour, orange rind and salt, cut butter in small pieces and cut through flour with 2 knifes. With a cold hand knead, add fluid as needed for all to stick together. Then put in fridge in plastic wrap.

Combine rhubarb, sugar (I usually use less than the 1 cup, because I like it to be a bit sour still, but it is usually pretty sour like that), tapioca and corn starch (I sometimes omit those, you will have a juicy pie then), salt, nutmeg and the orange juice/wine.

Roll out 2 thirds of the dough on a floured surface and put it in a greased 20 cm springform. Fill it with rhubarb and the strawberries on top. Roll out the remaining dough as well and cut out (heart) forms, or alternatively cut into strips and criss-cross them over the pie. Put some butter flakes on top.

Bake 15 minutes at 220C (preheated), and then about 30 minutes more at 180C, until pastry is golden and filling bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.

For the Christmas bake-off I first applied basic mathematics and instead of 1 big pie, made several smaller tarts. Realizing that the baking time would be less, and the rhubarb thus less well cooked, I decided to first lightly boil the rhubarb in red wine. That in itself was very successful and I cooked all the remaining rhubarb with wine and sugar and preserved it. While doing so I also realized this was already beyond basic chemistry, as I was boiling together intricate and complex molecules: oxalic acid of the rhubarb and tannins from the wine. Both substances play a role in my research, how is that for multidisciplinary baking.

Everything else was according to recipe: rolled out the dough and lined approximately 20 muffin forms with them (difficult), added the mushy rhubarb (it was a little too mushy), the strawberries, topped it off with another piece of dough (heart shaped)and baked it basically as long as I would have the full pie. But: I also soaked large strawberry halves in my favourite white wine overnight, and decorated the tarts with those in the morning.

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 19:04  Leave a Comment  

South African Melk Tert

After starting the morning with pudding, Laura also provided an abundance of tarts to finish off any chance of productive work happening between morning tea and lunch. Should the gentle sound of snoozing echo down your corridor, check to see if it emanates from the office of one who has eaten two slices of cake before 10.30 am. If it does, make a note to join in next week, and pull their door gently closed before the boss notices. Much obliged. Laura’s excellent recipe follows.

South African Melk Tert

Short Crust Pastry:
6 oz Plain Flour
2 oz Sugar
2 x Egg Yolks
2 tsp (level) baking powder
4 oz Butter

Rub together flour, baking powder, sugar and butter. Add egg yolks. Press into large greased flan tin.
Bake blind for 10 mins.

¾ pint Milk
½ cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 ½ oz Butter
3 x Eggs

Scald milk and butter in a double boiler. Beat eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy. Fold in sifted flour. Pour egg, sugar and flour onto scalded milk and butter. Return to heat and cook until fairly thick. Our into pastry shell and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 180°C for 20 mins.

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 21:22  Leave a Comment  

Café Gandolfi Lemon Tart

In another rapid fire updating of the Cake Club blog, we have Shona’s Lemon Tart from 2 weeks ago. This was deliciously sticky and greatly enjoyed by a rather depleted crowd, who were pleased at the low turnout because they got to eat more cake. Hoorah! Shona’s report follows.

Here’s a wee gem of a recipe from one of my fave restaurants in Glasgow – Café Gandolfi.

HOT BUTTER SHORTBREAD PASTRY CASES (makes one 28cm tart case)
50g sugar
125g butter
175g plain flour

Pre-heat oven to 140°C.

Melt the sugar and butter in a bowl then stir in the plain flour. Keep stirring until it forms into a ball, then let it cool slightly before pressing the mixture into a loose bottomed tart case.

Bake in a low oven until lightly golden. This takes about 10-15 mins.

Zest and juice of two large lemons
250g caster sugar
200ml double cream
6 eggs
Jar of good lemon curd

Pre-heat oven to 140°C.

The filling is best made the day before and left to settle in the fridge.

Beat together the eggs and sugar, then stir in the cream followed by the lemon juice and zest.

Keeping the tart case (above) in the time, pour in lemon mixture while it is sitting on the middle shelf of the oven. It’s impossible to move a full tart into the oven without spilling it.

Bake in the oven for approx 25mins. When you remove the tart from the oven it should not move when you give it a gentle shake. The top will look a bit bubbly and brown in places.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. As soon as it is cold, dollop on a few tablespoons of lemon curd and spread gently over the top in a thin layer.

Serve with greek yoghurt.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 17:58  Leave a Comment  

Chocolate Almond Tart

Mandy’s contribution this week was a first for the cake club and warranted the creation of both “Tart” and “Nuts” categories. Perhaps it could even be referred to as a torte. Either way, it was rich, dense, and answered every possible need of a club designed to inject delectable delights into a Tuesday morning. Her report follows.

Choccy Almond Tart

180 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
225 g flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg

90 g unsalted butter
90 g dark chocolate (e.g. Whittakers 76% dark chocolate)
3 eggs
1/4 cup flour
70 g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
2/3 cup caster sugar

90 ml thickened cream
210 g dark chocolate
40 g flaked almonds

Preheat oven 140°C. Make base by rubbing butter into dry ingredients. Add egg. Wrap and chill. Roll out pastry to line a flan tin; chill again.

To make filling, melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, flour, ground almonds, essence and sugar on high speed for 8 minutes. Fold in melted chocolate. Pour into pastry shell and bake for 35-45 minutes. Cool.

Bring cream to boil in a pot. Take off heat, add chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Cool, then pour over tart and sprinkle with almonds.

Recipe from the New Zealand Gardener magazine, March 2010

I used the Whittakers chocolate recommended but just one king size block (350 g I think), just made less topping. I couldn’t find any thickened cream or double cream* in the local supermarkets so I just used normal cream and it seemed to be thick enough. I couldn’t be arsed beating the mixture for 8 minutes, it seemed a very long time and was very noisy; I probably managed about 5 minutes. Whilst it was cooking, butter from the base must have melted and dripped onto the bottom of the oven which created a lot of nasty smoke – might pay to put a tray underneath.

* English Editor’s Note: Does real double cream exist in New Zealand?

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 22:42  Leave a Comment