mazariner

OK, I am officially in major baking mode for the holiday season. But Molly, aren’t you always in major baking mode?? Well, uh, yes, but consider this major baking mode plus because these days I’m not just testing blog recipes and baking the occasional birthday cake, but I’m also cranking out tasty lil gift boxes for people around town and my entries for the various cookie swaps that I’m going to this month. 

So what does baking mode plus look like? There is a steady supply of butter softening on my counter at all times, my fridge is filled with stacks of discs of dough wrapped in plastic wrap, two stand mixers are out on the counter, I have a regular container of well beaten egg wash sitting in my fridge ready to go at a moment’s notice, the smell of almond and vanilla is in the air, there is probably flour on my face, and I am dressed warmly in fluffy socks and sweaters because I like keeping it kind of cool in the kitchen so that doughs are easier to handle. Also, Christmas movies or ice skating are always always on the TV. And water is in my cup. Because cold Midwest tap water has been at the top of my cravings list and also because everything I read about drinking tea while preggo is kind of a question mark?? I can’t really keep it straight, so I’ve pretty much been avoiding it altogether, even though I realllly want to complete this vibe with sugar cookie Christmas tea, which is probably just vanilla flavored water, but I’m just that paranoid. 

One treat I’ve been baking a ton of has been Mazariner, Swedish almond tarts. They are basically a buttery crunchy cookie cup filled with dense almond cake. In my mind, they’re marzipan in tart form, and you know how marzipan runs through my veins this time of year. I always used to get them for dessert at IKEA when my mom and I would go eat Swedish meatballs. They weren’t the prettiest dessert because they were unglazed and just two shades of brown, but they were by far the tastiest. I don’t actually know if they serve them anymore, but still to this day, I just cannot get enough of the texture of the filling. It’s a texture that I don’t see too often in desserts because even though it’s cakey, the only leavening agent in it is eggs, so it’s extra dense, almost as if it wants to be a blondie when it grows up. The whole tart is quite sturdy, which is one reason why I plan to gift a bunch of these this month. I’ve been topping them with a powdered sugar and heavy cream glaze, which makes a thick cloud-like topping, and to some of them I’ve been adding cranberry juice for bright natural color. And it’s kewt to decorate all of them differently, with fresh cranberries, herbs, sprinkles, etc., you know the drill!

And I’ve partnered with Pampered Chef on this post because their tools have been such amazing help during my big long baking days. I seriously use their stackable cooling racks every single day because of how much I can fit on them and how much space I save. I also love their medium sheet pans because of how sturdy and heavy duty they are. Other tools of theirs that rock are their pretty marble rolling pin, small spreaders (perfect for decorating these tarts), medium scoops (great for distributing the tart filling evenly), sturdy serving spatulas, heavy duty silicon-coated sauce whisks, classic batter bowls, muffin pan, small glass mixing bowls, and stainless steel mixing bowl set. All of the bowls I’ve used in this post have lids, which are so great because sometimes I need to keep glazes and egg washes going for a couple of days, or prep fillings and such a day in advance. Thank you so much, Pampered Chef, for providing these tools and sponsoring this post!!


mazariner

makes 12

Ingredients

Shells:

1/3 c (67g) sugar

1 3/4 c (228g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 c (168g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

2 large eggs, separated

Filling:

1 c (120g) almond meal

3/4 c (150g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

Glaze:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/4 c (60 ml) heavy cream or 2 tb cranberry juice

1/4 tsp almond extract

To decorate: sprinkles, fresh herbs, sliced almonds, fresh cranberries

Clues

To make the shells, in a food processor, pulse together the sugar, flour, and salt to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until mealy. Add the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the filling) and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

To make the filling, combine the almond meal, sugar, salt, and butter, either by blending it in the food processor (no need to clean it out after making the dough, you can just use it immediately for this step), or by stirring it together in a large bowl (I find it’s easiest to get in there with my hands). Add the almond extract, egg, and the reserved egg whites from the shells, and continue to blend/stir until smooth and combined. Set aside while you mold the shells. 

To mold the shells, grease a muffin tin. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4” thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 3” circles and press them into the muffin cups, pressing so that the dough comes all the way up the sides. No worries if the dough tears, just patch it up additional dough. Freeze the shells for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Fill the frozen shells with the filling so that it comes up about 1/4” from the top. Bake until the tops and edges are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then use a small offset spatula or a knife to remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and heavy cream or cranberry juice until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or liquid to thicken it up or thin it out so that you get the consistency of a thick glue. Spread the glaze over the cooled tarts and decorate with sprinkles, herbs, cranberries, almonds, and anything else you’d like! These will keep for several days at room temperature or in the fridge. 


-yeh!

thank you, pampered chef, for sponsoring this post!!

photos by chantell and brett!

peach bakewell tarts

ok hi from dinnertime in sydney! i'm eating couscous and french fries in bed right now and refreshing my email every few minutes to make sure that i can download the final pass of molly on the range in time for the thousand hour flight that i'm about to embark on. i get that room service couscous is not what you're supposed to eat on your last night in sydney (and that kangaroo and emu pizza probably is what you're supposed to eat on your last night in sydney??), but i am totally pooped! i had quite the day of eating vegemite and butter on toast, getting emotional at the sight of the sydney opera house, and then ferrying over to the zoo to meet koalas.

my number one goal of the day was to cuddle a koala. i put on extra lip gloss and cleaned the frosting off of my nice sweatshirt, and then figured out the ferry boat system to get to the zoo and restrained myself from taking 100 pictures of the opera house on the way in order to save camera battery life. and then when i got to the zoo i thought i'd better eat a small snack so that i could be extra alert and not at all woozy for my new koala friend, so i bought a bit of pumpkin, which is so common and great here (my understanding is that all squashes in australia are actually called pumpkin), and then sat and caught up with eggboy about the tour de france, the sugar beets, etc., and then i just sort of enjoyed my pumpkin and the crisp winter weather... 

and do you know what was happening during the exact moment that i was leisurely eating my pumpkin and being an all-around space cadet????? the koala cuddling station closed for the day. two hours before the actual zoo closed, i had no idea! 

i frowned so hard. it was my only chance because i leave bright and early tomorrow. so i bought a cherry coconut chocolate bar to try and make up for it and watched some koalas sleep and climb trees from a distance. they are the cutest plops of fluff in the world, they would make such great cuddlers!!!!!! 

oh well, more reason to come back! 

these peach bakewell tarts were cut from molly on the rangei was so sad because they are so tasty and almondy and i love how the photos came out, but ultimately they didn't totally fit right in with the story of the book, so here they are now! they are a great summery version of the cake-within-a-pie that is a bakewell tart, and they transport well. so bring these on your next picnic, as soon as the weather cools down (or heats up, depending on where you are in the world).


peach bakewell tarts

makes 12

Shells:

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 c sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp almond extract

Filling:

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c almond meal

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c unsalted butter, softened

1/2 c sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/3 c peach preserves

Glaze:

1 c confectioners’ sugar

5 tb heavy cream

1/4 tsp almond extract

To make the shells: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-cavity muffin tin with cooking spray and set it aside. In a food processor, pulse to combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is pea-sized. Whisk together the egg and almond extract and add it while pulsing. Process until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 12 equal small balls. Roll them into about 4-4 1/2” circles and press them into the muffin cups, trimming the edges. Freeze the shells for 10 minutes, fill them with paper muffin liners and pie weights or beans, and then bake for 15 minutes. Let them cool.

To make the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, almond meal, and flour and set it aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the lemon juice and almond extract. With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture and beat to combine. 

To assemble the tarts: Spoon a heaping teaspoon of peach preserves into the bottom of the tart shells. Spoon in the filling and then bake until lightly browned, begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove to the rack and cool completely.

To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cream, and almond extract. Spread it over the tops of the tarts and serve.

Note: for a more transportable version, forego the glaze and simply dust the cooled tarts with powdered sugar.


-yeh!

pictured: mini cake pan

POMEGRANATE YOGURT TART

does it say something bad about my jewiness that until last week i had not one single solitary clue that there exists an entire jewish arbor day? 

tu b'shevat.

it's a birthday for trees. you plant them, you add one to the age of existing ones, and then you eat special thingies! figs, dates, pomegranates, others of the seven species... it begins tonight.

so i made a tart about it inspired by this hot babe of a tart from my darling lemon thyme and it is featured in the first article of my--oh yeah i gotted a column! i gotted a column!

you are officially reading the blog of a columnist for the jew and the carrot and i'm as smitten as a kitten. i never done had a column before! it feels less like carrie bradshaw than i expected it to, but i suppose that's my own fault for wearing flannel and living in a dakota.

twice a month, in molly on the range, i will be sharing some jewy or israeli goodness made right here in rural middle of nowhere thousands of miles from the nearest deli, u.s.a.

ok now go make this tart!

-yeh!