Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sugar HIgh Friday # 10 - Honey Cake, Fruit Salad with Lavender Honey, Nectarine Tart

Since my trip to Oleg's Honey World, I've been looking for, and trying out a bunch of honey recipes for Sugar High Friday #10 . Given the weather-hot, and my favorite time of year for fresh fruit - last of the strawberries and into blueberries, with imported but still tasty peaches and nectarines- what would be better than fruit salad with lavender honey and lemon sugar to boot.

The lavender honey and lemon sugar for the fruit salad was inspired by a strawberry recipe I found on Epicurious.

Lemon sugar
1/2 cup sugar
fresh zest from 1 lemon

Mash them together in a small bowl, cover and set aside.

This keeps well for at least a week in a sealed container at room temperature (although these days in Toronto, that's probably hot enough to melt it!!! Sorry I couldn't resist whining about the weather)

Lavender honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 heaping tbsp honey
2 tsp lavender blossoms (I found some at The Spice Trader, on Queen St West)

In a medium sized pot, bring everything to a gentle boil over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the lavender flavor is pronounced (3-5 minutes).

Strain the syrup into a small bowl and discard the lavender. I keep the extra honey in the fridge. It's also wonderful in iced tea.

Fruit Salad
What can I say - mix your favorite fruit in a bowl, pour some lavender honey in to your taste - at least a couple of tablespoons for a single serving. Toss to coat all the fruit and then sprinkle some lemon sugar on top.

The honey cake recipe is the one I generally make for the Jewish New Year and I thought I'd do a kitchen testing of it for the For Every Kitchen Cookbook. So any comments on the cake and the directions are appreciated.

Honey Cake
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and traditionally we eat sweet things and start the year with a blessing over apples and honey. This is my favourite honey cake recipe. It’s dense and flavorful and I make it throughout the year as a great breakfast and snack cake. This recipe makes a huge batch, but it keeps well and never lasts long anyway.

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total Baking time: 1 hour

6 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups dark honey
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup strong tea (I let it brew for at least 5 minutes)
¾ cup vegetable oil
4 cups all purpose flour, sifted twice
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
½ cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In the top of a double boiler, stir honey, tea and baking soda until the honey and baking soda are dissolved (about 2-3 minutes).

3. Beat the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add oil. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Alternatively beat the honey and flour mix alternately into the eggs and sugar.

4. Fold in nuts and raisins.

5. Bake in lined and greased 14”x10”x2” Ovenproof pan for 1 hour or until the top of the cake is golden and cracked in the center.

6. Let the cake cool over cake racks. Cut into squares or slices before serving.

Tips & Variations
· To test for doneness, stick a clean wooden toothpick in the center of the cake and it’s ready when it comes out dry.

· For a fancier presentation, arrange squares on a cake plate, cover with a paper lace doily or cut out initials, hearts, flowers, etc. on a sheet of parchment paper and dust with icing sugar or just sprinkle some lemon sugar on top.

· It’s a great companion to fresh fruit salad.

Nectarine Tart with Honey & Pistachios

Actually I was reading Nigella Lawson's latest book Feast (It's so easy to get lost in it. She's such a wonderful writer. You can taste and smell the ingredients, feel the textures and vicariously be a part of her celebrations, but I digress) and she referenced Waitrose as a wonderful resourse in Britain. It is now added to my favorite links. You can find the recipe there. I substituted nectarine slices for apricot halves and drizzled more of that lavender honey over top, because naturally I can't leave well enough alone!!!

It reminds me of baklava, which I'm sure will be well represented at this SHF. I can't wait to see what everyone else writes about.


Nic said...

Great dishes, Ruth. I'll be making that salad soon. Now, actually. Thanks for participating!

Joycelyn said...

hi ruth, i'm speechless..."wow!" is the only word that comes to mind...cheers,j

Ruth Daniels said...

Glad you like it

Amy said...

I use Feast all the time and never felt inspired to try this particular tart recipe--your post has changed my mind!

Ruth Daniels said...

Glad you liked it. Actually, Amy the tart comes from the Waitrose website.

Nigella just mentions them in her book and I looked through some of their recipes. It's a great site.

Ana said...

Good heavens Ruth! I love the idea of lavender honey. I always learn things in these events. Great recipes ruth.

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks Ana, I know what you mean about learning new things through these events. Lavender honey is my new love.

Mika said...

The lavender honey sounds yummy. Now if I can find some lavender...

Nectarine is my new favorite fruit and after seeing your tart, I want some now !

Ruth Daniels said...

I know what you mean. In fact, the nectarine tart seems to be our new favorite dessert. Good thing it's so easy to do.

Jennifer said...

Three honey-infused dishes, Ruth - that's amazing! I think I'm going to have to make this Nectarine tart for my husband - he'd love it.

Thanks for joining in on SHF - can't wait till you get to host!