Vaniljbullar


It has been a while that I shared a recipe that involved a yeast dough. Today I like to introduce you to a recipe of sweet buns filled with a vanilla custard which is a Swedish classic. These vanilla buns are called krämbullar or vaniljbullar in Swedish. Bullar mean buns in Swedish (singular is bulle), kräm means cream and vanilj - you can probably guess - means vanilla. 
I make kanelbullar which are another Swedish classic - my blog post about these delicious buns is here - every week and there are always a few bullar in my freezer but I do not make vaniljbullar on a regular basis. This has changed a bit since I rediscovered my love for vaniljbullar about a month ago and now I have to restrain myself of not making these buns too often. 
There is nothing more comforting than a soft and fluffy yeast bun with a creamy vanilla custard in the middle of the bun. The yeast dough is flavored with a hint of cardamon which is a very common spice in Swedish baking. Sometimes lots of cardamon is added to the buns which I think can be overpowering. I prefer the subtle taste of cardamon in the vanilla buns. 
These Swedish vanilla buns are a wonderful way to welcome the fall season which is approaching fast. They will fill your home with an irresistible and comforting smell on chillier fall days. 







Notes:
Yeast
There are different kinds of yeast available. For instance you can use active dry yeast, instant active dry yeast or fresh yeast.
I personally prefer using fresh yeast. In Sweden there are even two types of fresh yeast: one for bread and one for sweet bread. A while ago I learnt that fresh yeast is not common or available in every country. I was not aware of this fact and I will update the recipes on my blog that involves yeast and convert the amount of fresh yeast to dry yeast. In my recipe direction below I explain how to use each type of yeast.
Cardamon
Cardamon is one of the most expensive spices (saffron is the most expensive spice, followed by vanilla and cardamon). You can buy cardamon pods or cardamon powder. Cardamon seeds that are grounded looses its flavor quickly, so ground or cardamon powder that you buy has less flavor.
For baking I don't mind the less cardamon flavor (in cooking I prefer cardamon pods) and I use cardamon powder that I buy at the spice store.
If you only have cardamon pods on hands you can, of course,  also make your own cardamon powder. Crush the cardamon pod (use green cardamon) and remove the seeds from the shell. Place the seeds with a little bit of sugar in a mortar and pound the seeds with a pestle until you have a powder. You do not need to add sugar but I think it makes it easier to ground the cardamon seeds.

Makes 14 vanilla buns

INGREDIENTS

Dough
30 g fresh yeast / 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast / 3 1/2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
50 g / 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
200 ml / 3/ 4 cup and 1 tablespoon whole milk
75 g / 1/3 cup and granulated and 1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamon powder
375 g / 3 cups all-purpose flour

Vanilla Custard
30 g / 2 large egg yolks 
45 g / 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
15 g / 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 vanilla bean
125 ml / 1/2 cup whole milk
10 g / 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Topping
40 g / 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
40 g / 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS
Fresh Yeast
Crumble the fresh yeast into a big bowl. 
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add milk. The mixture should be lukewarm. This is really important because otherwise the yeast will "die" and the dough won't rise. 
Add little bit of the milk mixture (about two tablespoons) to the crumbled yeast and stir until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the remaining milk mixture, sugar, salt and cardamon and mix until well combined. 
Add most of the flour (set aside about two tablespoons) and stir with a big. preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together. 
Active dry yeast
Heat the milk until it is lukewarm. Mix the dry yeast with two tablespoons of lukewarm milk in a glass. Melt the butter in the remaining lukewarm milk. 
Mix sugar, salt, cardamon, dissolved yeast mixture and butter-milk mixture. Add most of the flour (set aside about two tablespoons) and stir with a big. preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together. 
Instant active dry yeast
The yeast does not have to be dissolved in any liquid. 
Melt butter and add milk to it, set aside. 
Mix most of the flour (set aside two tablespoons), dry yeast, sugar, salt, cardamon. Add butter-milk mixture and stir with a big. preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together. 

Place the yeast dough onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is too sticky add more flour to the dough.
Place the dough into a big bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free and warm place. I place my bowl in the oven and switch the the oven to 40°C / 100 °F (make sure that the oven is not too hot). Let the dough rise until it has roughly doubled in size which takes about 30 to 45 minutes. It depends on how warm or cold your place is. 
In the meantime prepare the vanilla custard. 
Pour milk into a saucepan. 
Split vanilla pod lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds (use the tip of your knife or the dull side of the knife). Add the vanilla seeds and the empty vanilla pod to the milk. Bring vanilla milk to a soft simmer. Set aside and remove the empty vanilla pod. 
Whisk egg yolks and sugar until well combined, then add corn starch and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisk. 
Pour the mixture back to the saucepan and over medium heat - whisk continuously - bring to a boil. You will notice that the custard thickens. Cook the custard for one minute, continue to stir. Now you should have a thick custard. Remove saucepan from the stove. Add butter cubes to the vanilla cream and stir until smooth. Place the vanilla custard into a flat bowl, cover the surface with clingwrap which prevents skin forming. Let cool completely. When the custard is completely cooled, fill it into a piping bag, no nozzle is needed. I place the piping bag into a very tall glass and then fill the bag. That is easier than holding the piping bag in one hand and trying to fill it with the other hand. 
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead the dough again on a floured surface. 
Divide the dough into 14 pieces and form each piece of dough to a ball. 
Place balls onto the baking sheets. Make sure that there is enough space between each ball. Flatten each ball into a disc (they should look like big cookies). Cover each baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Let the buns rise again in a warm and draft-free place for about 20 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 225 °C / 440 °F.
Gently press an indentation in the middle of each bun and pipe vanilla custard into the indentation.
Bake the buns for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly golden in color. 
While the buns are still warm, brush the buns with melted butter and dip the edges of the buns into sugar. 
The vanilla buns taste the very best while still warm. 
 You can also freeze the buns. I recommend freezing the buns in a freezable box (do not stock the buns on top of each other). Let the buns defrost at room temperature. 


Mazariner



There are cakes and other baked goods that are very close to my heart. Mazariner are one of them.
I meant to write this post for more than a year now but I struggled to find the right words and I did not know how to compose this post. Putting too much pressure on yourself is never a good idea and it definitely does not help in a creative process. Since Europe is in the grip of a long-lasting heatwave and since there is no end in sight, I spend less time in the kitchen. Instead of baking I started to tidy up my photo collection on my computer and somehow I ended up editing photos for this blog post. It was no burden at all but it was pure joy. Sometimes time is the solution for letting go of the pressure to write a post.
Mazariner - little cakes that consists of a crispy shortcrust shell with a moist almond filling and a sugar glaze - is one of my all-time favorite little Swedish cakes since I was a little girl. My mom never made mazariner herself but every time I was in Sweden and visiting my family I ate them a lot as an afternoon snack. I was always looking forward to eat these little treats. A few years ago I learnt how to make mazariner myself which means eating a mazarin (mazariner is the plural) anytime and I was not dependent on my visits to Sweden. I often give away mazariner as a little gift when I meet friends because I want to share how delicious these little Swedish treats are. Every time I get compliments on these cakes and it makes me happy to share a little bit of Swedish cuisine.
While visiting my uncle last spring I also had the chance taking an evening class on how to make mazariner at a little bakery located outside of the city where my uncle lives. It was a beautiful evening and I learnt so many things from the baker. Happy and inspired by this evening I rode on a bike home to my uncle's house. The bike ride could not have been more beautiful. It was one of those crisp spring nights; it was still light at 10 p.m. and I was on my bike with a big box of delicious treats from the baking class and I was surrounded by the most picturesque nature. I am always happy visiting my family in Sweden but what I like most is the nature.
Come along for a bike ride and learn how to make mazariner.






























Notes:
Mazariner are oval shaped as you can see in my photos. It is difficult to get oval shaped moulds but you do not have to use oval moulds. You can use a muffin as well. I made a few batches of mazariner in a muffin tin in order to make sure that this is an alternative. I can assure you that it works just as well and I had no troubles getting the cakes out of the tin. I use a non-stick muffin tin and I also greased and floured the moulds.
In case you are wondering about the size of the moulds here are the measurements:
Mazarin moulds: 2 cm / 0.8 inch height, 5 cm / 2 inches width, 8 cm / 3 inches length.
Muffin moulds: 2 cm / 0.8 inch height, 5 cm / 2 inches width, 7 cm / 2.8 inches length.

You might wonder what mazarin means or if there is any meaning behind it. Mazarin is not a Swedish name but it is an Italian name. The cakes are named after Jules Mazarin who was an diplomat and an art collector. Why the cake was named after him. I do not have an answer. I did a little bit of research but unfortunately, I was not successful. Mazariner have some similarities to the Italian cake "crosata di mandorle". Maybe there is an connection to it. Who knows...

Last but not least, if you ever happen to be in Sweden, maybe you are on a road trip, near Gothenburg, visit the bakery Nolbygårds Bageri, it's the bakery where I took the mazarin class. It is an organic bakery and a café which used to be a farm. All cakes, cookies, sweet breads and breads taste delicious ( I tried everything) and are typical Swedish. I cannot recommend highly enough this beautiful bakery and the very kind bager Lasse (bager means baker in Swedish) and his team. 


Makes 10 - 12 Mazariner *

INGREDIENTS
Dough
75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
50 g / 1/4 cup granulated sugar
25 g / 1/2 egg (size L)
150 g flour / 1 1/2 cups (preferable pastry flour), all purpose flour: 1 1/4 cups
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Filling
75 g / 3/4 cup almond flour
45 g / 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
75 g / 1 1/2 eggs (size L)
75 g / 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Glaze
125 g / 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

* For size of the moulds, see my notes above.

DIRECTIONS
Whisk butter and sugar until creamy. Slowly add the egg and mix well.
Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until the dough just comes together. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth, try to work as quickly as possible.  Add more flour if the dough is too sticky or add a splash of milk if the dough is too dry.
Form the dough to a flat disc and wrap the dough into cling wrap. Let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F.
Grease and flour small cake moulds or a muffin tin.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3 mm / 0.1 inches thick. Lift the dough regularly so the dough does not stick to the surface. If you let the dough rest overnight the dough might be a little bit hard, let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
Cut out circles which are a little bigger than your moulds. If you use a muffin tin with 7 cm / 3 inches in diameter, cut out 9 cm / 3.5 inches circles.
Gently press the circles into the moulds. In case of any excess dough trim it away with a sharp knife.
Place cake moulds or muffin tin in the fridge while preparing the filling for the mazariner.
Melt butter in a small saucepan.
Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy but don't whisk it too much. Whisk no longer than one minute on medium high speed with an electric mixer.
Add almond flour and melted butter and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Fill the mixture into the cake moulds, a little more than 2/3 full. Make sure that you do not overfill the cake moulds.
Bake cakes for 15 to 17 minutes. The top of the cakes get a golden brown color.
Let the cakes cool, unmold them.
Mix powdered sugar with a little bit of water, about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, until it is a very thick and chewy consistency. I recommend adding just a few drops of water, mix and then slowly adding a few more drops and mix again until you have the right thickness. If you do not like the icing glaze you can just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of the cakes.
Glaze the cakes with the mixture and let dry completely.
Store the cakes in a tin or an air-tight container up to a week but over time the shortcrust gets soft. The Mazariner taste the very best on the day you make them.  
                                                          



Blueberry Mascarpone Tartlets


Cake is always on my mind. All day. Every day. I carry a notebook that is dedicated to cakes and other baked goods in my bag because just in case. I never know; I might have a flash of inspiration while waiting at the underground station and I feel the urge to scribble down my ideas. I have a cake notebook on my desk because I think a cake notebook belongs on a desk. There is a cake notebook on my nightstand, along with a pile of cook and baking books, because I might wake up in the middle of the night with a genius inspiration or a nightmare that involves a cake disaster and of course I have to make notes of it. Oh, and did I mention that I have three little boxes - filled with notes of recipes, addresses of bakeries and pâtisseries around the world that I visited or want to visit one day, receipts and paper bags of bakeries and pâtisseries and many other things that are related to baking -  on my book shelf on the right side of my desk.

Some cake ideas that I scribble down in my notebooks remain ideas. Some ideas need a little bit or a lot of adjustment in order to implement the idea. Some ideas are implemented, sometimes with success, sometimes not. The other day I envisioned little mousse cakes that consisted of a nectarine mousse and a mascarpone core with a yellow fruit glaze coating. I visualized perfect hemisphere little yellow mousse cakes and imagined digging into a cake with a pastry fork and being greeted by a stark color contrast of white and yellow. I was brought back to reality when implenting the idea that I had envisioned while sitting in the subway and daydreaming of this cake creation. While making the nectarine mousse I realized that the nectarine mousse turned into a very pale yellow color and does not have such a luscious yellow color and hence, there was not such a color contrast as I pictured in my head. Using more nectarine purée and less whipped cream might create a brighter yellow color. Maybe. However, I was not convinced by the nectarine mousse flavor. It did not taste bad but it did not felt right to me. Nectarine mousse is simply not a good idea, at least in my book.


For a moment I was disappointed but then I was already debating what to do with the leftover mascarpone. There were half a pound of delicious wild blueberries in the fridge that I purchased at the farmers' market and I had a few baked tartlet shells on hand that I wanted to use up as well. Mascarpone, wild blueberries and tart shells screamed for fruit tartlets. I thought to myself that it won't be the most exciting cakes but at least I had some cake to serve for guests and assembling the tartlets would take just a few minutes. To make the tartlets a little more interesting I added some black currant jam on the bottom of the tartlet shells, drizzled jam on the top of the blueberries and decorated the cakes with mint leaves. I was pleased with the look of the tartlets. But when I was digging into the tartlet and I was blown away. The creamy mascarapone filling goes so well with the black currant jam and the sweet and tangy wild blueberries, the tart shells gives the crunchiness to the creamy filling and the mint leaves that meant to be just for decoration gives it a special touch. I did not expect this at all. It is such a dreamy flavor combination. I cannot tell you how much I loved - including the guests I served this as a dessert - this cake creation. It is so simple but so incredible delicious that I had to share this simple recipe with you, even though my last post was a tartlet recipe. But after all, it is blueberry season, of course depending where you live. I am still on the hunt for wild blueberries in the forest but so far I had no luck and I am relying on famers' markets. There is such a big difference between cultivated and wild blueberries. The wild berris do not only have a more intense flavor and are smaller in size but they also have twice as many antioxidants than cultivated blueberries. 

Makes filling for 6 tartlets * (Ø 8 cm / 3 inches)

INGREDIENTS
125 g / 1/2 cup  mascarpone
25 g / 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons juice of a lemon
100 g / 7 tablespoons heavy cream
8 teaspoons of black currant jam
Fresh blueberries
Mint leaves
6 baked tartlet shells, Ø 8 cm / 3 inches *

* My recipe for tartlet shells and a guide to shortcrust pastry is here

DIRECTIONS
Mix mascarpone and sugar. Add lemon juice and stir well.
Whip heavy cream until light and fluffy. Add whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and fold into the mascarpone cream.
Spread one teaspoon of black currant jam onto the bottom of each tartlet shell. Divide mascarpone cream among tartlet shells and spread evenly. Decorate blueberries on top of the mascarpone cream.
Mix the black currant jam with a few drops of water and drizzle over the blueberries.
If you are using cultivated blueberries which do not have such an intense flavor as wild blueberries you can also dip the blueberries into the jam instead of drizzling the jam on top of the tartlets.
Decorate with mint leaves.
Let the cakes chill for 15 minutes. Enjoy the cakes within a few hours.


Strawberry Tartlets


A strawberry tart - or any other fruit tart - with a crème pâtissière filling is not only a French classic but it is such a scrumptious cake.  It is a tart - I usually make tartlets instead of a big tart - I make a lot in the summertime.  
I have been very hesitant posting this recipe for a long time since it is a classic. Who needs another strawberry tart recipe? Can I add anything to it? The answer is no. However. writing about my experience with pastry dough or rather sharing my tips from a passionate amateur baker point of view has been on my mind for a long time. There are quite a few recipes that include pastry dough on my blog and I often thought I should go more into details how I make pastry dough. So here I am chatting about pastry dough and at the end I am sharing a classic recipe for strawberry tartlets. 
Making pastry dough can be very intimidating, in particular when you have had bad experiences. Fortunately, I have never had a bad relationship with pastry dough but my pastry dough skills have improved a lot over the years. The reason is not only practice but also tools and methods that I learned and helped me along the way. I, personally, love making tart shells and there are so many different delicious tarts such as a tarte au citron or a tarte au chocolat.
I hope some of my tips are helpful to you and perhaps I can tackle your fear making your own pastry dough and tart shells. 


Shortcrust Pastry Dough
There are different kinds of pastry dough. Pâte brisée is a dough without eggs and sugar, used for savory dishes such as quiche. Pâte sablée is a dough with eggs and sugar, the sugar ratio is 15%,  and the dough is used for sweet tarts. Pâte sucrée is similar to the pâte sablée but more sugar is added to the dough.
Besides the different kinds of pastry doughs, there are also two different methods of making the dough. 
One method is rubbing cold butter into a flour and sugar mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs and then adding the remaining ingredients. The other method of making the pastry dough is mixing soft butter and sugar until creamy and then adding eggs and flour. I prefer the latter method because I think this method makes the dough smoother and easier to roll out.

Rolling Pin
I use a French wooden no-handle rolling pin. I used to work with a rolling pin with handles but I am so happy I switched to a no-handle rolling pin because it gives me more control over the dough and it results into an even texture of the rolled out dough. 

Thickness Strips
I have a selection of wooden thickness strips and this is another tool that I do not want to miss anymore. Though the no-handle rolling pin creates an even texture, the thickness strips help making an even more even texture. 
You place a strip on each side of the dough and then you roll out the dough until the rolling pin glides across the surface of each strips and voilà you have the perfect even thickness of the dough. 
When making tart shells I usually make the dough 3 mm / 0.1 inches thick.  

Tart(let) moulds
I like using tart rings.
You do not have to use tart rings; tart pans work just as well. I personally like the simple shape of tart rings a lot and it is used in professional kitchens as well.
If you are making tarts very often I do recommend investing in tart rings. Unmolding the tartlet shell is very easy, maybe this is the one advantage over tart moulds. 

Flour
Since there is no standardization of flour types - the grind and blend is different in each country - it is impossible to duplicate the same flour to another country. Having lived in different countries I know how difficult it can be to find "the flour" that you are used to. 
I am using a flour with a very fine texture and a very low protein content. In some countries this kind of flour is called pastry flour. 
Maybe you are curious where I get my flour. I buy my flour from the mill "Kunstmühle" in Munich which is the only mill producing flour in the city and the quality of the flour is outstanding. It is always such a joy visiting the tiny store next to the mill which is hidden behind a façade of a 19th century beautiful building and it is situated right in the city center. 
There is so much to say about flour and about this mill in Munich but I will save this for an upcoming post. 




Makes about 12 tartlets (Ø 8 cm / 3 inches)

INGREDIENTS

Pâte sucrée
100 g  / 1/2 cup granulated sugar
100 g / 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1 (15 g) egg yolk
1 pinch of salt
250 g / 2 1/2 cups pastry flour, sifted *
25 ml / 1 tablespoon whole milk

Crème pâtissière
1 vanilla pod
200 ml / 3/4 cup whole milk
4 (120 g) egg yolks
75 g / 1/3 cup  and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
100 ml / 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon heavy cream
20 g / 3 tablespoons pastry flour *
20 g / 2 tablespoons corn starch

Assembling
150 g / 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon freshly whipped heavy cream
Small strawberries
Strawberry jam or red currant jam
Mint leaves, optional 

* If you are using all-purpose flour: 2 cups instead 2 1/2 cups and 2.5 tablespoons instead of 3 tablespoons. 

DIRECTIONS

Pâte sucrée
Mix sugar and butter until creamy. You can do this with your hands, a standing or electric mixer (I have not noticed any differences between these methods). Add egg yolk and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. Add 1/3 of the flour and mix. Then add the remaining flour and milk and stir.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead dough until smooth. Try to work as quickly as possible. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and if too dry add more milk. Form the dough to flat disc and wrap the dough into cling wrap. Let the pâte sucrée chill for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. You can keep the dough in the fridge for a few days. If you are not using up the entire dough you can also freeze the dough. 
When you take the dough out of the fridge you will notice that the dough is very hard. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature, then roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Try to use as little flour as possible. While rolling out the dough lift the dough regularly, if needed dust your surface with flour, so the dough do not stick to your work surface. 
If you have thickness strips - as described above - place one stripe on each side of the dough in order to get a perfect even thickness. I like my dough 3 mm / 0.1 inches thick. 
Butter your tartlet moulds/ rings. This helps that the dough sticks to the moulds and prevents that the dough does not shrink unevenly while baking. 
Cut out big circles; I use a little bowl. Gently place the circles into the tartlet rings or pans and gently press the dough into the corners of the moulds or rings. Be carefully that you do not stretch the dough.
Trim excess dough with a sharp knife. This also helps that the dough is pressed to the edges. 
Prick the bottom of each tartlet with a fork. Place tartlet moulds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze the tartlet shells for at least 30 minutes. You can also leave the tartlets in the freezer overnight. Freezing the unbaked tartlets help preventing shrinking while baking, so do not skip this step. 
Preheat the oven to 160 °C / 320 °F.
Line each tartlet with parchment paper (cut out circles) and fill dry beans (I often use almonds or nuts) to the tops of tartlet moulds.
Bake tartlets for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the dry beans or nuts and parchment paper and bake the tartlets for another 10 minutes or until the tartlets are golden in color. The baking time can differ due to the thickness of your pastry dough. As I have mentioned above, I like my dough 3 mm thick but if you like your tartlet shells a little bit thinner the baking time will be shorter and a thicker dough means a longer baking time. 
Let the tartlet shells cool. If your edges of the your tartlet shells are not perfectly even, take a sharp knife and gently scrape to even out the edges. Be careful that you do not break the tartlet shells. 
You can store the tart shells in an airtight container or a cookie tin up to a month. 

Crème pâtissière
Pour milk into a saucepan. 
Split vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (use the tip of your knife or the dull side of a knife). Add the vanilla seeds and the empty vanilla pod to the milk. Bring vanilla milk to a soft simmer. Set aside and remove the vanilla pod. 
Whisk egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Add flour and corn starch and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisk. 
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and over medium heat bring to a boil, whisk continuously . You will notice that the crème pâtissière thickens. Cook the crème for one minute, continue to stir. Now you should have a thick custard. Remove saucepan from the stove and immediately place the crème into a flat bowl or a casserole dish. Cover the surface with cling wrap which prevents skin forming. Let the crème pâtissière cool at room temperature; it takes one to two hours. 
Give the crème pâtissière a strong stirring in order to break up any lumps. Add whipped cream to the crème pâtissière. In a classic fruit tart one does not add whipped cream but I like the combination of whipped cream and vanilla custard and it makes the vanilla flavor more subtle. 
Use the crème on the day of preparation. If you are not adding the whipped cream you can store the crème pâtissière up to two days in the fridge. 

Assembling
Wash strawberries and pull off the leaves.
Mix strawberry or redcurrant jam with a few drops of water, it depends on the thickness of the jam, and mix well. Brush the strawberries with the jam mixture which gives the strawberries a glossy glaze. 
Fill the crème pâtissière into the tartlet shells. Place the strawberries onto the crème pâtissière and garnish with mint leaves. 
Keep the tartlets in the fridge until you serve them. Consume the tartlets on the day of assembling, preferably within 4 -6 hours because the tartlet shells get soft.


Chocolate Mini Cakes With Strawberry Jam



It is such a pleasure sauntering around farmers' markets in the summer months and spotting blueberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, cherries, blackberries, black and red currants or strawberries at the farmers' stalls. I love looking at all the colorful fruits and vegetables that the vendors offer and I usually end up buying more vegetables and in particular fruits that I intended. On my last farmers' market visit I bought 4 kilos of very sweet and juicy strawberries - which were the best strawberries of this season that I had so far - along with a big bag of cherries, peaches and blueberries. As much as I love eating fruits it was impossible to consume all the fruits that I purchased. So I made a few jars of strawberry and peach jam and I made countless of little tartlets that I filled with a classic crème pâtissière and topped with strawberries. But I needed a break from fruit tartlets and I created delicious little chocolate cakes that I filled with my strawberry jam that I made myself.
I was very pleased with the result of the cake. It is a very moist chocolate cake - at the same time the cake batter is very easy to prepare - and the strawberry jam compliments the chocolate flavor very well. Of course feel free to use any other jam that you like. Apricot jam is a classic and used in the Sachertorte cake but I do recommend giving strawberry jam a try. It is delicious. The chocolate glazing makes the cakes look extra fancy. To me it looks like big pralines; I think it is beautiful; I like it a lot. 
Enjoy the summer time my dear readers. Enjoy all the delicious fruits that summer has to offer. And of course enjoy these delicious chocolate cakes. 





Makes 8-10 chocolate cakes

INGREDIENTS

175 g  / 3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
100 g / 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room-temperature
2 eggs, medium size
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200 g / 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 g / 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon yogurt, full fat
50 ml / 1/4 cup milk, full fat
15 g / 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder

Liqueur or orange juice
Strawberry jam
200 g dark couverture chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F.
Grease and flour a muffin tin. 
Beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add vanilla sugar or extract and eggs and beat until smooth and creamy. 
Mix flour, baking powder and cacao powder in a separate bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the butter-egg mixture, add yogurt and milk and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Do not overmix the batter. 
Fill cake batter 2/3 into the muffin tin. 
Bake chocolate cakes for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cakes cool completely, unmold the cakes. 
Cut cakes in half (if your cakes have little "bumps", slice off the "bump"). Soak cake halves with liqueur or juice. 
Spread strawberry jam on the top halves and place the bottom half on top of the jam filling. 
Melt chocolate with coconut oil in a double boiler. 
Pour the melted chocolate over the cakes. I set the cakes on a wire rack and place a plate under the wire rack; then I pour the melted chocolate over the cakes. 
Let chocolate glaze set at room temperature. Do not place the cakes in the fridge, otherwise the chocolate glaze might get dull.