A gift that blesseth him that gives and him that takes

Our house has been an olfactory delight over the past few weeks, and particularly this week as all our wild geese have returned for Christmas.
Cranberry and Orange sauce, Mulling Syrup, Gingerbread Men for the Christmas Tree and Clove Studded Orange Pomanders fill the air with seasonal aromas. Returning from the shops with a car boot full of groceries recently, I anticipated finding the kitchen clean and tidy, as I had left it, but No- on opening the front door the lovely smell of baking greeted me. My youngest daughter was baking Lilly Higgins’ Raspberry Macaroon Tart.

Raspberry Macaroon Tart

Lilly’s book, Make, Bake, Love arrived with the postman one morning in November. The Irish Food Bloggers Association had run a competition, and I was lucky enough to win a copy. From the moment my daughter laid eyes on it, she was besotted. It’s beautiful to the touch, the binding allows it to fall open, and stay open at the chosen page. But ohhhh, the design…..every page invites the reader to have an Alice in Wonderland type of experience, tumbling into a world of beautifully photographed cakes, biscuits, pies and tarts, breads. The table of Conversion Charts at the start is a respectful gesture towards the inexperienced cook, and all the recipes are a model of clarity. I’ve already given copies of the book to novice and experienced cooks alike.

To date, we’ve enjoyed several of Lilly’s recipes. Festive Scone Wreath was brought to a friend’s party and looked SO pretty and tasted SO good. Peanut butter and sesame cookies were a great success with friends. Fragrant Plum and Cardamom Cupcakes transported us all to the world of Scheherazade in 1001 Nights. The only downside is that at this time of year we only have a few hours of daylight, and my photographic skills and equipment are not up to capturing the beauty of her creations once the light has faded. (Note to self- do something about it in the New Year!)

A most inviting recipe….

RASPBERRY MACAROON TART
Serves 8-10

FOR THE BASE
75g caster sugar
50g butter, softened
1 egg yolk
90g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g raspberry jam

FOR THE TOPPING
2 eggs
60g caster sugar
zest of 1 lime
160g dessicated coconut
20g flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C

2. Cream the sugar, butter and egg yolk together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir in until the mixture clumps together and resembles breadcrumbs. Press into the base of the tin with floured fingers. Spread the base with the jam.

3. To make the topping, lightly beat the eggs and sugar together to combine, Fold in the lime zest and coconut, Spread the topping over the jam. Sprinkle with the almond flakes and press down gently.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly browning and golden. Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

Enjoying the pure pleasure of a beautiful cookbook

This tart was destined for the house of a neighbour who has been especially kind to my daughter this year. Once it had cooled enough, it was covered with a teatowel and carried down the road on a serving plate.

It was very well received.

To quote Shakespeare, a gift like that
“blesseth him that gives
and him that takes”

and that, after all, is what Christmas is all about.

Beannachtaí na Féile

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About haysparks

Viewing the world, the human condition, our history, evolution and health through the prism of food.
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