Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cloudberry & Vanilla Bean Newtons

Apologies for the slow down in recipes lately, November is usually a very hectic month for me and this year it's been a little crazy. I'm also trying to stick to trying out my own recipes rather than just using them straight out of cookbooks, which usually means more failures than successes. I wasn't going to post about these at first, as there were a few things that went wrong, but they tasted really good and the problems were due to my lack of finesse rather than the recipe itself. So maybe someone out there will give these a go and get them to work for real :)

I based these biscuits on a recipe for fig newton biscuits. The original recipe calls for you to cook down dried figs for the filling, but I didn't have any and I wanted to try using some cloudberry jam I had picked up for IKEA recently. (Who else loves the food at IKEA??) I remember first reading about baking with cloudberry jam on Julia's beautiful blog and was eager to experiment with it.
In hindsight I really should have been more careful when it came to sealing up the filling inside the biscuit. The jam is a lot more bubbly in the oven compared to a dried fig mixture and so in my hurry to get this into the oven (I really shouldn't bake on weeknights), I didn't quite press the edges of the dough together, and it resulted in half of the jam spilling out onto the tray and leaving the biscuit a bit dry and empty. Sadness! Especially sad since the jam tasted really REALLY good with the addition of vanilla bean. If you haven't tried cloudberry jam before, I totally encourage you to check it out; the fruit is an amber-coloured relative of the raspberry and blackberry, but is very tart and perfect in a sweet jam. The tartness, combined with the heady scent of vanilla makes these soft biscuits nicely balanced.
Cloudberry & Vanilla Bean Newtons
(adapted from The Essential Baking Cookbook)
75g unsalted butter softened
2 tbsp sour cream
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs lightly beaned
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
450g cloudberry jam (I purchased mine from IKEA)
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)

Pour jam into a small saucepan and split the vanilla bean and scrape its contents into the pan. Add the scraped vanilla bean pod to the mixture and slowly bring the jam to the boil, stirring very regularly to avoid burning. Reduce heat and simmer jam for about 5 minutes, reducing the water content. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, mixture will thicken considerably as it cools. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the jam.
Cream the butter, sour cream and sugar and vanilla in a small bowl with electric beathers until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition. The mixture will appear curdled.

Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the combined sifted flour, baking pwder, bicarb soda and cinnamon. The mixture will be very soft. Wrap in a sheet of floured plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a bakng tray with baking paper. Divide the doug into three portions. Refrigerate two and roll the other portion on a floured surface to measure 12 x 28 cm. Spread a third of the filling lenthways along one half of the pastry, leaving a 2cm border on that side and on the ends. Brush the border with water.
Foled the unfilled half over the filling and press around the edges. If any cracks appear, smooth these over firmly. Trim 1cm from the side and ends to neaten (ensure that no jam is visible and the ends are tightly sealed or the jam with leak out in the oven). Lift onto tray and refrigerate. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Lay three rolls on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked and golden. Cool for 5 mins on a wire rack and then trip in the ends and cut each roll at 2cm intervals. When cold, store in an airtight container.
So, the centres of my cloudberry newtons were a little emptier than I had hoped for, but they still tasted fantastic and were a perfect afternoon tea snack. It was a real pity that I lost so much of the precious jam, I will have to buy more so I can try to make it again, hopefully with more success!
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  1. what a great idea. shame that some of the jam escaped :( and don't you just love the name "cloudberry". I think it's the most dreamy and evocative name for a fruit - or is that just me? lol

  2. Let's go to Ikea and get you your jam! I love that place!! I've never even heard of cloudberry jam, it sounds quite mystical.. pity that some of it escaped :( Glad that they still tasted great! Probably better than any of the desserts at some *cough*sir*cough*stamford*cough* establishments! ;)

  3. I love Ikea food! Great that you're trying out your own recipes, I don't think I'm quite accomplished enough as a baker to do that yet hehe. Look forward to seeing more recipes from you soon =D

  4. Awesome recipe variation! Too bad the naughty jam escaped :(

    I love the food at IKEA, possibly as it lets me reminisce of my time living in Sweden and possibly because the Ballerina cookies are just too goddamn delicious! I can never help grabbing some Viktoria crisprolls and herring as well :)

  5. the dont look like failures to me, I'll gladly eat two dozen!! I've never tried cloudberries before, but they sound so interesting!

  6. They look great. I would have eaten them. It looks so buttery. Yummm. I'm getting some Cloudberry Jam when I go to Ikea next.

  7. Mmm!!! That looks really simple and yummy!

  8. Steph, I love your Cloudberry creations. And a great complement with vanilla. Cloudberries are often paired with vanilla ice-cream in Sweden and Finland. It goes so well together.

    It's such a different flavour to anything I've tried before, do you think?

    I love Fig Newtons (used to be addicted to them when I lived in America), so really should experiment myself with recipes. You've inspired me!

  9. Helen - Thanks! I was so gutted when I saw the jam bubbling out in the oven :( I agree, it's such a great name!

    Betty - YES! Ikea outing! With meatballs! LOL poo poo those other dodgy establishments!

    Jacq - Same here, my friends find it weird I mainly go to IKEA for the food, but its the best! :) Thank you!

    Conor - I agree, naughty naughty jam :( Oh you used to live in Sweden? How cool!

    Maria - :) thank you! you should try to get your hands on the jam, it's so nice!

    A cupcake or two - Aw thanks! Yes grab some it's so good!

    Miri - Thank you so much!

    Julia - Thanks so much :) I agree, it's such a great, unique flavour! I will definitely be using it more often. Good to know I was on the right track with the vanilla! Yay so glad you liked them!!


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