Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature

PISTACHIO MARZIPAN PEARS

Makes 20 marzipan pears

When you replace some of the almonds in the marzipan with pistachios, the resulting color will remind you of pears. Then all you need to do is decorate with some pretzels and almonds to make your own extra-sweet pears.

Marzipan pears

  • 1 cup (125 g) unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup (125 g) almonds
  • 1⅔ cups (200 g) icing sugar
  • 1 egg white

Using a nut grinder, grind the pistachios and almonds into a bowl. Stir in the icing sugar, then grind the mixture one more time. Add the egg white and work everything together with your hands to make a firm dough.

Decoration

  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, more as needed
  • 10 pretzel sticks
  • 20 almonds

In a small bowl, stir the icing sugar with a little water to make a paste. This will be the glue for the almond “leaves.”

Shape pieces of marzipan dough (about 1½ tbsp each) into small balls. Roll them a little extra on one side so they take the shape of pears.

Stick a piece of pretzel ¾ inch (2 cm) long into the top of the pear. Use an almond to make a little notch near the pretzel. Remove the almond and put a spot of icing there before you return the almond “leaf.” Store the marzipan pears in an airtight container.

Variation: These marzipan pears make perfect gifts. You can also make green apples by rolling out small round balls. If you want other colors, you can replace the pistachios in the recipe with additional almonds, and color the dough with liquid gel food coloring.

Excerpted from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland, published April 2018 by Greystone Books. Reproduced and condensed with permission from the publisher.

CINNAMON BUN CAKE WITH RUM GLAZE

Makes one round bun cake, approximately 10 in (25 cm)

This bun cake is shaped like a daisy because of the special way you cut and twist the dough. The zesty glaze makes this cake the perfect accompaniment to a fine summer’s day.

Buns

  • 3½ tbsp (50 g) butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup (150 ml) whole milk
  • 3 tbsp (25 g) fresh yeast, or 1½
  • tbsp (12 g) active dry yeast
  • 2½ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (75 g) granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg (for brushing)

Cinnamon filling

  • 2½ tbsp (35 g) butter, at room
  • temperature
  • 3 tbsp (40 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Combine the melted butter and milk in a mixing bowl. When the mixture is lukewarm, crumble the yeast into it. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt, then add to the yeast mixture. Work the dough with your hands for about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 50 minutes.

Mix together the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Knead the dough and divide it into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball. Flatten each ball to a diameter of about 7 inches (17 cm).

Spread half of the filling on one circle, leaving ½ inch (1 cm) clean along the edge. Put the second circle on top and spread the rest of the filling in the same way. Finally, cover with the last circle. Press the edges together. Transfer the bun cake to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press it out to a diameter of about 8 inches (20 cm).

Gently place a glass in the middle of the cake. Use a sharp knife to cut notches from the edge of the cake toward the glass, cutting all the way through the cake to make 16 sections (see page 200). Take hold of one section, gently pulling it from the middle without tearing it. Twist so that the side faces up. Repeat with the rest, twisting each section in the same direction. Let the cake rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush the cake with a whisked egg and poke several holes in the middle of the flower with a toothpick. Bake for about 12 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool.

Rum glaze

  • 1⅔ cups (200 g) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp water

In a bowl, stir together the icing sugar, rum extract, lemon juice, and water. Put the mixture in a piping bag and pipe out on the flower petals.

Variation: You can replace the cinnamon filling with a macaron filling. Finely chop ½ cup almonds and mix with ½ cup icing sugar and one small egg white.

Excerpted from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland, published April 2018 by Greystone Books. Reproduced and condensed with permission from the publisher.

VANILLA CLOUDBERRY MACARONS

Makes 35 macarons

White cloudberry flowers tie themselves in knots and then turn into juicy berries over the course of the summer. The strong orange color of the cloudberries brightens the bogs where they grow. Enjoy these macarons as you close your eyes and dream yourself back to the mountains.

Vanilla macarons

  • 3⁄4 cup + 2 tbsp (85 g) almond flour
  • 3⁄4 cup + 2 tbsp (110 g) icing sugar
  • 1⁄4 tsp vanilla bean seeds, or 1 tsp
  • vanilla sugar
  • 2 medium egg whites (70 g)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp (35 g) granulated sugar
  • orange liquid gel food coloring

Sift the almond flour into a bowl. Stir in the icing sugar and vanilla seeds, then sift again into another bowl.

Using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites in a bowl at medium speed until foamy. Add the salt. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat at medium speed. Add the food coloring toward the end, a drop or two at a time. When the sugar has dissolved and you have a thick meringue, add the almond flour mixture, using a rubber spatula to beat it in. When the mixture is smooth, fill a piping bag.

Pipe out macarons onto a macaron baking mat or baking sheet covered in parchment paper, forming circles about 1 ¼ inches (3.5 cm) in diameter (see template). Tap the baking sheet against the kitchen counter to make any large air bubbles rise to the surface and burst. Let the macarons dry for about 40 minutes on the counter.

Preheat the oven to 250°F (125°C) using the convection setting, or 275°F (135°C) on the regular setting. Bake the macarons for about 15 minutes on the middle rack (a few minutes longer in a regular oven). For a more detailed description, see below.

Cloudberry filling

  • 2½ cups (300 g) cloudberries
  • ⅓ cup (80 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fruit pectin powder

Press the cloudberries through a strainer to get rid of the seeds. Make sure you end up with approximately 1½ cups (170 g) of mashed cloudberries. Combine the cloudberries and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes before you add the fruit pectin. Boil for 1 minute more, then remove from the heat. Let it cool, then fill a piping bag with the mixture.

Decoration

  • orange liquid gel food coloring
  • water

In a small bowl, mix a few drops of food coloring with a little water. Use a cotton swab to stamp dots on the macaron shells. The more water you use, the weaker the color will be—you can use different shades if you want.

Pipe out the cloudberry filling onto half of the macaron shells, and place the rest of the shells on top. Keep the macarons in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them.

Tip: If you can’t pick your own berries, you can find cloudberry jam in some stores. You can also use raspberries instead of cloudberries, and red liquid gel food coloring instead of orange for the shells and dots.

Detailed Instructions for Making Macarons (p 190 – 191)

Makes 35 macarons

One of the best things about macarons is that the flavors of shells and fillings can be varied endlessly. The shapes and decorations also provide many possibilities. The macaron itself has a crisp shell with a moist inside and is easier and quicker to make than you might think.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (85 g) almond flour
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (110 g) icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp (35 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 medium egg whites (70 g)
  • pinch of salt
  • liquid gel food coloring (optional)
  • flavor (optional)

Macarons don’t contain too many ingredients. Almond flour can be found in some stores’ specialty sections. Use almond flour that hasn’t been fat-reduced. Keep the eggs at room temperature beforehand. When you separate the whites from the yolks, it’s very important that you don’t get any yolk in the white. The yolk contains fat, and this will make it impossible to beat the meringue until it’s thick.

Use liquid gel food coloring if you want to color the macarons. This type of food coloring won’t change the consistency like liquid food coloring does. The macaron shells can also have flavor added in the form of spices, grated citrus zest, cocoa powder, etc.

Equipment

  • scale
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • 2 small bowls
  • electric hand mixer
  • sieve
  • rubber spatula
  • piping bag
  • macaron mat or parchment paper
  • (at least) 2 baking sheets
  • toothpicks

One of the mixing bowls and the handheld mixer must be completely free of grease. This is necessary in order to get a thick meringue. Some people suggest using a stainless steel bowl and removing the grease by rubbing it with a lemon, but I have always used a plastic bowl and just made sure to wash and dry it well.

I use a handheld electric mixer, but you can also use the balloon attachment on a kitchen stand mixer.

I use somewhat heavy disposable piping bags and cut a hole about ¼ inch (7 mm) in diameter to pipe out my macarons.

You’ll need an extra baking sheet placed on the oven rack below the baking sheet with the macarons. This prevents the macarons from cracking.

Make the mixture

Sift the almond flour into a bowl. Stir in icing sugar and any spices you’re using, then sift again into another bowl. Measure the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Using a handheld mixer or balloon attachment on a stand mixer, beat the egg white at medium speed until it is foamy. Add the salt. Gradually add the sugar, still beating at medium speed. When all the sugar has dissolved and you have a thick meringue, add color if you’re using it. Add the almond flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to beat it into the meringue. Test if the meringue is ready by lifting some of the mixture with the rubber spatula and letting it drip into the bowl again. If the mixture is glossy and smooths itself out in the bowl, it’s done.

Make the macaron shells

Put the mixture in a piping bag. Pipe out the macarons, either onto a macaron baking mat or parchment paper. If you need the help of a pattern when piping, you can draw the desired shape (see template) on a sheet of paper and put it under the parchment. You may want to fasten a piece of tape onto the regular paper, letting the tape extend beyond the parchment paper. Then you can easily pull out this sheet after you’re finished piping, without disturbing the macarons. Tap the baking sheet with the macarons once against the kitchen counter so that any large air bubbles rise to the surface and burst. Use a toothpick to puncture the air bubbles that don’t burst on their own.

Dry and bake the shells

If your oven has a convection setting, preheat it to 250°F (125°C). This will help the shells bake more quickly and evenly. If you don’t have a convection setting, preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C) on the regular setting. Keep in mind that ovens bake differently, so you may have to adjust the temperature or the baking time. Place the extra baking sheet on the lower rack.

Let the macarons dry on the counter for about 40 minutes. Weather and temperature will affect the drying process; cold and humid weather will require a longer drying time.

Bake the macarons on the middle rack of the oven for about 15 minutes, or a few minutes longer if you’re not using the convection setting. Remove from the oven and let the macarons cool on the baking sheet before you add the filling.

Excerpted from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland, published April 2018 by Greystone Books. Reproduced and condensed with permission from the publisher.

Written by Marit Hovland / @borrowmyeyes + published by Greystone Books Ltd. / @greystonebooks
Photography by Marit Hovland / @borrowmyeyes