Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Happy Easter

Easter and Christmas are great times for baking. The house fills up with visitors and there's always plenty of takers for the mountains of food prepared, especially if the kitchen is filled with enticing aromas while it cooks. There are so many traditions associated with Easter and many of those traditions are demonstrated by the food that we make to share.

The Sydney Morning Herald this week published an article about the multicultural food traditions surrounding Easter. It featured Lebanese ma'amoul and mashabk, Slovakian bohanek and roast duck, Cypriot flaounes and tahinopitas, Filipino meringue cakes and crispy pork, Portuguese breads and 'nests', Russian kulich and pashka, and Italian colomba and gelato. Alas, there were no recipes and all the shops where you could buy these delicacies were in Sydney (it will be fun to try and track down Melbourne equivalents). So if anyone has any recipes, I would love to receive them, as it would be great to try some of these recipes next year.

As everyone is frantically busy in the lead-up to Easter (the queue at the Haigh's store in Block Place at lunchtime today was absolutely ridiculous!), here is a recipe for a batch of simple, gently spiced biscuits that you can whip up to enjoy over the weekend. It's a Jill Dupleix recipe that I found several years ago but only bothered to make this year. I don't know why I waited so long. I made a batch to share with my family at the weekend but Adam has already polished off the whole lot! Although the recipe calls for one teaspoon of mixed spice, I misread this and used one tablespoon. I have to say we enjoyed the end result, so I'll continue to use one tablespoon but feel free to follow the recipe if you're not a fan of mixed spice.

Happy Easter to all!


100g butter
80g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
100g currants
1 extra tablespoon caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy and beat in the egg yolk. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Add the flour mix to the butter mix, mixing well with a knife. Mix in the currants, squishing the dough together and kneading briefly until smooth (allow the warmth of your hands to soften it). Roll out finely on a lightly floured bench (best done under a sheet of clingfilm or non-stick baking paper). Cut into 6cm or 8cm rounds with a plain or fluted biscuit cutter. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and sprinkle with the extra caster sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just cooked, but not browned. Carefully transfer to a wire rack. The biscuits will be a little soft but will become crisp as they cool.

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