We never need an excuse to get our baking trays out, really, but this week is National Baking Week so we’re dusting off our books and rediscovering our favourite baking recipes.
We love Mediterranean cuisine and we have found some delicious sweet treats from the region that are actually really easy to recreate at home. If you’re suffering from the autumn blues, then simply make some of these to remind you of your favourite summer holidays!
If you ever visit Greece, you should try these delicious sweet dough balls. Made from a special dough and then fried, the balls are covered in a sweet honey syrup and spiced with cinnamon.
To put together your own simply make the dough and spoon small portions of it into about 2 inches of hot oil. Fry for a few minutes until golden, then remove onto a paper towel to drain. Drizzle the sweet honey syrup over them and sprinkle with cinnamon, then serve them up while they are still warm. Trust us, they won’t last long enough to cool down!
Spain: Tarta de Santiago
This delicious almond cake originates in the Galicia region of Spain, where lots of pilgrims go to visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. There, all of the cafés, bakeries and restaurants sell their own version of this iconic treat. If you can’t afford to get out there and try the genuine article yourself, then why not have a bash at recreating it in the comfort of your own kitchen?
To make the Tarta de Santiago, grind some almonds in a food processor. Mix together egg yolks and sugar to make a smooth pale cream, then gently stir in the almonds with some lemon and orange zest. In a second bowl, whisk up the egg whites until the mix is stiff. Gently stir in the almond mixture and pour into a greased cake tin. Bake for around 40 minutes, until golden and firm.
To really make it look authentic, cut a St James cross out of paper, then place it on the cake and dust with icing sugar. The finished product will really look like something out of a genuine Santiago de Compostela bakery!
Italy is the home to so many delicious baked goodies, but if we really had to pick one recipe, it would be biscotti. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a cup of espresso, another Italian specialty!
The name “biscotti” comes from the Italian “twice cooked”, which is a very apt name given the way it is made. First, the whole biscotti mixture is baked in the oven, before being cut and shaped into single biscuits. Then the biscuits are baked for a second time to give them their characteristic crunch.
To make some of your own, sift together some flour, baking powder and salt and add ground almonds and sugar. Mix an egg to make a dough, then shape into a log and bake whole in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once the mix has cooled completely, cut into individual biscuits and bake again at a lower heat for another 30 minutes. Allow to cool for a second time then enjoy with your favourite cup of coffee. Bellissimo!
What is your favourite baking recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!