I will let you in on a shameful little secret. I am one of those fussy people who judge a book by its cover. This is particularly true when it comes to cookbooks. Call me shallow, but I always need deliciously styled pictures accompanied next to every recipe. If the cookbook doesn’t contain a well styled picture, I refuse to give it a second glace. I’m sure I’m not the only one alone who shares this compulsive need… we eat with our eyes after all.
It seems the further we get into this month, the busier I become. The pile of unread cookbooks I have accumulated is ridiculous. I have decided to put these cookbooks to use and share some of the inspiring work from the cooks that I love. Starting with this recipe for an Earl Grey Tea Loaf Cake from the new cookbook Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti who also writes the blog like a strawberry milk.
This recipe I was instantly attracted to. I love any home baked loaf bread. This dessert bread is soft, tender, not too sweet and lightly flavoured by the earl grey tea leaves. It is perfectly complimented by the sharp tang of the blood orange confit. What makes this recipe even better is the little line of melted butter that is piped on top the bread just before baking… giving the loaf that cracked and rustic look.
Paris Pastry Club is as perfect and delicious as it sounds. The book is an incredible body of work with each chapter further drawing you into the Parisian fantasy… and beautiful photos accompany every recipe! Zanotti is a cook after my own heart and these recipes remind me of the sort of food I love to create, share and devour amongst loved ones.
Paris Pastry Club ignites the imagination and really inspires me to pursue and explore my fascination and love for french cuisine. You can get a copy here. As I further explore my culinary voice Paris Pastry Club will definitely be right by my side guiding me along the way.
- 1½ tbsps French Earl Grey Tea Leaves
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 200g plain flour, sifted
- zest from one orange
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150g creme fraiche
- 50g butter, melted
- extra softened butter for piping
- 6 blood oranges
- 1 litre water
- 200g caster sugar
- 1tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 150g water
- 20g cornflour diluted in 40g water
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Butter and flour a 1 litre loaf tin.
- With a food processor or mortar and pestle, crush the tea leaves with 50g of the caster sugar until a fine powder texture forms.
- Place the mixture in a large bowl along with the eggs and remaining caster sugar. Whisk until combined, light and creamy. (roughly 5 minutes)
- Mix the flour, orange zest and baking powder in a separate bowl. Fold these dry ingredients into the egg mixture and combine well.
- In a separate bowl combine the creme fraiche and melted butter. Combine half the egg mixture into the creme fraiche mixture. Mix well. Transfer back to the main batter mix and fold the mixtures gently to combine. Pour into the loaf tin.
- Pipe a line of the extra softened butter across the middle of the cake (this will form the gorgeous cracked crust).
- Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C (340F) for 10 minutes. Further reduce the temperature again to 160C (320F) and bake for a further 25-35 minutes or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack then turn out and set aside.
- Bring a large saucepan with litre of water to a boil. Add the blood oranges and bring back to the boil for 5 minutes. Remove the oranges with a slotted spoon into a bowl of iced cold water. Repeat this process of boiling then chilling once more.
- Slice the blood oranges finely and add to a saucepan with sugar, vanilla and 150g water. Simmer for 15-25 minutes or until syrup is reduced and oranges are beginning to candy. Quickly add in the diluted cornflour mixture and stir rapidly. Allow to return to the boil, then transfer to a bowl and until needed.
- Serve slices of the loaf cake topped with a dollop of creme fraiche and spoonful of blood orange orange confit.