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Dish of the Day: Lily Vanilli’s recipe for Sakura spelt shortbread

Lily Vanilli

943784 538355882868396 1637966742 n.jpg 300x300 Dish of the Day: Lily Vanillis recipe for Sakura spelt shortbreadThanks to Instagram we know that a wonderful thing called ‘Spring’ has arrived and the parks and roads are lined to burst with gorgeous cherry blossoms. Ever since I was a child I’ve had the overwhelming desire to consume things I found beautiful (including abstract things like acts of kindness, which probably part explains why I grew up wanting to bake), and embarrassingly my young self was often found chomping flowers straight off the stem.

Anyway… I was happy to discover that the gorgeous ‘sakura’ blossom, and leaves of the cherry tree, are just as edible as fruit and are much enjoyed this time of year in Japan in teas and confectionaries, (as well as pickled in a salt and umeboshi vinegar to last the rest of the year).

For the bakery we harvested some non-roadside, perfect pink blooms and baked some gorgeous sakura shortbread cookies so we could eat the season as well as enjoying it viaInstagram. The recipe is below.

You can also pick some blooms and crystallise them in sugar – they will last up to a year this way.

Sakura Spelt Shortbread:

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: 12 minutes

Makes: 12 large or 30 mini shortbreads

300g white spelt flour

75g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

25g icing sugar

Pinch of sea salt

250g unsalted butter, cubed and refrigerated
1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Carefully select a handful of cherry blossoms, wash gently and pat dry.

One large baking tray, lined

1. Sift the flour, sugars and salt together in a large bowl. Now add the cold butter and rub with your fingertips to form fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and bring the mixture together into a dough, being careful not to overwork it.

2. Roll out on a floured surface to approximately 1cm thick. Cut into circles using an 8cm cookie cutter, place on your prepared baking tray, carefully press a blossom into the top of each one and refrigerate for 2-12 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan assisted/gas mark 6.

4. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from the oven, cool on the tray for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack, dust the tops with sugar and leave to cool completely.

Lily is also running the world’s first agony aunt baking column: “Recovering from a Bad Bake-up”. Send in your baking disaster stories of unexpected failures in the kitchen/recurring problems to badbakeup@independent.co.uk

On the third Friday of the month we will feature a Q&A with advice to help you recover.

Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth is available from Cannongate books, 2012

Follow Lily on Twitter @lilyvanillicake

For more information visit lilyvanilli.com

Instagram lily_vanilli_cake

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