A Slice of Spring — Un air de printemps

red currant teacakes almond poppyseed lemongrass vanilla

Vanilla, Lemongrass, Poppyseeds, Red Currant and Almond Teacakes

J’vais faire les courses (I am going grocery shopping),” I cried out bundled up in my thick coat, hat and gloves on, clearly ready to step outside within the minute.

Did you warm up the car?” P. shouted back from upstairs.

Merde,” I thought. I had not.

If I was not going to, P. would give me a hard time, I knew that part. Well, I suppose that this is what you have to do during cold wintry days — warm the car up — so I did without complaining. Winter is definitely not looking as if it is decided to leave us any time soon, even if today the temperatures are much milder. Last week, we’ve had two good snow days, giving us good excuses to go out to snow shoe, make a snow man, cuddle up on the couch inside, and share a fabulous dinner prepared with our friends R. and J.: R. made a pumpkin flan for dessert; I prepared a risotto with an arugula side salad. I know that the days when summer humidity hits again are closer than we think, and I will be one of the first to suffer. And complain. So for now, let it be colder.

gorgonzola pear walnut risotto

Gorgonzola, Pear and Walnut Risotto

I walked into Whole Foods and headed towards the vegetable and fruit section of the store, as I usually do without even thinking about it. It is without doubt my shopping routine: I always start with the vegetables and finish with the cheese. I like that I do not need to decide since it happens naturally from habit.

I casually tossed the vegetables I always buy in my cart: leeks, fennel bulbs, carrots, celeriac and parsnip for the vegetable broth and hachis parmentier I had planned to prepare during the week; mâche and arugula along with fresh herbs; a large paper bag of Mc Intosh apples for our freshly squeezed morning juice. As I leaned to grab a few kiwis, I suddenly caught sight of something bright and red at one corner a few stands away, in the refrigerated section where fresh berries were displayed. I looked again to be sure, feeling my cheeks turn red with excitement. This could not be. Was I really seeing what I was seeing?

They had red currants.

De belles groseilles rouges juteuses.

And a few boxes away, long red sticks were packed together: they had rhubarb too!

A smile bigger than my lips stretched my whole face but for the seconds that followed, I still tried to reason myself.

Non Béa, tu ne peux pas acheter des groseilles en hiver (Béa you should not buy red currants during winter). And rhubarb neither.

But what the heck? Was it going to be such a terrible crime? Vraiment ? My head started spinning with ideas for deliciously colorful desserts. With rhubarb on top, it would be a pure slice of heaven.

But reason seemed to affect me more than I had anticipated. I kept hearing “you cannot buy these unseasonal fruit” in my ears.

I moved on and tried to finish my shopping trip, but the sight of the bright juicy fruit kept coming back to me, making me forget other things to buy. Well, it would not be that bad, would it? See, I didn’t believe that someone would blame me for buying a little box of deliciously summery looking red currants and a few sticks of rhubarb. They were guaranteed to bring a beam of sunshine in the kitchen and make P. and I cheerier as we would taste a lovely dessert comfortably seated on the couch that evening.

Forget about reason!

I zoomed back to the area where I had caught sight of my treasure, hoping that no one else would have the same idea, hence leaving me with nothing. But it seemed that I was the only one with this summer fruit urge since there were plenty left. I hesitated between grabbing two, but eventually settled for one. I could always come back if I needed to.

Back home a few hours later, I set myself to work quickly. I surely had been inspired!

The first dessert I made was a red berry and rhubarb crumble I will tell you about later.

red currant rhubarb crumble

Red Currant, Raspberry and Rhubarb Nut Crumble

The second one was red currant and almond teacakes, the very ones I would easily pack with us on a hike or for a picnic with friends at the beach.

These cakes use white rice and almond flours, and only egg whites instead of the whole eggs — a nice option for any egg white leftovers. They are flavored with lemongrass and vanilla, and have poppy seeds in them for added crunchiness. I use my coffee grinder to chop the lemongrass as finely as possible, but a nut grinder will work too. The cakes are quick to prepare and light in texture: in short, a real success in my book.

red currant teacakes almond poppyseed lemongrass vanilla

Did I feel guilty?

Alors là, mais pas du tout ! (not at all!)

In fact, instead, I decided to close my eyes and imagine for a second that I was lying under the cherry tree after a fabulous picnic, smelling the freshly cut grass and feeling the sea breeze brush against my skin. Oh let me tell you, I cannot wait for those times to happen soon again.

Mon cher monsieur le printemps (my dear Spring), my kitchen and I are ready whenever you are.

lemongrass poppy seeds red currant teacake almond

Lemongrass, Vanilla and Red Currant Cakes

(For 4 cakes)

You need:

  • 1 lemongrass stick, chopped finely (I used a coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup almond flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour*
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten with a fork until foamy
  • 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup red currants
  • *You can substitute white rice flour with all-purpose flour


Steps:

  • Preheat your oven at 350 F and butter 4 muffin molds; set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a pot and set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, almond powder, confectioner’s sugar, salt and baking powder.
  • Add the vanilla seeds and lemongrass.
  • Make a hole in the middle, then add the white eggs and mix well.
  • Add the melted butter while continuing to mix.
  • Add the red currants and poppy seeds, and divide the batter between the 4 molds.
  • Bake for 30 min.
  • Remove and let cool down for a few min before unmolding on a cooling rack.
Le coin français
Petites douceurs à la citronnelle, vanille et groseilles rouges

(Pour 4 gâteaux)

Ingrédients :

  • 1 bâton de citronnelle, haché finement (j’utilise un moulin à café)
  • 1/2 gousse de vanille, fendue et grattée
  • 65 g de beurre
  • 60 g de sucre glace, tamisé
  • 60 g de poudre d’amandes, tamisée
  • 50 g de farine de riz blanche*
  • 1/4 càc de poudre à lever
  • Pincée de sel
  • 2 blancs d’oeuf, légèrement battus à la fourchette pour être mousseux
  • 1/2 càs de graines de pavot
  • 40 g de groseilles rouges
  • *Vous pouvez substituer cette farine par de la farine T 45.


Étapes :

  • Préchauffez votre four à 180 C et beurrez 4 petits moules à muffin ou à bord canelé; mettez-les de côté.
  • Faites fondre le beurre.
  • Dans une jatte, mélangez la farine de riz, la poudre d’amandes et le sucre glace avec le sel et la poudre à lever.
  • Ajoutez les graines de vanille et la citronnelle.
  • Faites un puits au milieu et ajoutez les blancs d’oeuf. Mélangez.
  • Ajoutez le beurre fondu tout en mélangeant bien.
  • Ajoutez ensuite le pavot et les groseilles et divisez cette pâte entre les moules.
  • Enfournez pendant environ 30 min.
  • Sortez du four et laissez refroidir un peu avant de démouler sur une grille.
Posted in Breakfast, Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free | 78 Comments

78 comments

  1. I’m always happy for it to stay cool. I don’t think I’d have held out as long as you, I’d have put them in the basket at the first pass.
    Red Currant, Raspberry and Rhubarb Nut Crumble: now that looks incredible!!

  2. oh really?! currants at whole foods… i hope they’re there next weekend! and its ok to buy off season sometimes… you need that little pick me up.

  3. Comme toujours de très belles photos, et les petits gâteaux aussi. Difficile de laisser un commentaire chez toi. Tout est parfait.

  4. j’adopte ces gateaux à la citronnelle (original!) et à la vanille mais sans les groseilles définitivement trop acide pour moi

  5. In season or not, Bea, the cakes look delicious! I love the idea of using lemongrass in the cakes, thanks for the tip on how you incorporate it.

  6. I love the red in all your photos! So lovely! Your spoons are always so colorful, where do you get them? Stunning, as always.

  7. The cakes look wonderful!!! I love red currants and poppy seeds. They must taste delicious in a cake together. I would love to try the recipe. Sadly, I’ll have to wait till summer as currants are not available here at this time of the year:(

  8. sei uno spettacolo
    riesci a rendere poetico anche un particolare che, da solo, sarebbe insignificante, desidero realizzare qualche tua ricetta…ehm una l’ho realizzata e devo ringraziarti tanto sono venute ottime le tartelle al limone.
    scusa la mia ignoranza, non parlo l’inglese ma volevo segnalarti comunque la mia simpatia. una cosa la so scrivere
    LOVE
    ;-)
    ciao
    Claudia
    :*

  9. Lovely and delicious teacakes, love the addition of lemon grass, it’s such a delicate and delicious flavour.

  10. Je passe du lac gelé de Vanessa Confiture Maison à tes images de printemps. Les photos sont à tomber…

  11. I can certainly identify with your struggle whether to purchase “out of season” produce. My husband thinks I’m nuts when I refuse to buy something in winter that is shipped in from a warmer foreign country! Sometimes you have to just go with your passion and who knows, spring may be here before you know it!

  12. Bravo! Bea, those are beautiful cakes. I know too well the feeling of craving for out of season goods at the supermarket. I also try to be reasonable which means sometimes I refrain from buying and sometimes I don’t!

  13. The presentation of the almond poppyseed tea cakes are so beautiful and not forgetting inspiring! I know that they are delicious because your attention to detail shows it! I have been dabbling with gluten- free recipes as well and even the baking powder I use is gluten-free. When I eat gluten-free, I feel really good and not that heavy sinking feeling where the wheat is concerned.

  14. Pour peu j’irai presque pique-niquer demain midi mais ici, après quelques douceurs, l’hiver a fait une nouvelle offensive… il neige ! ce sera pour plus tard… tout est beau et tout doit être bon…

  15. Totally acceptable purchase! If I had to put on a hat and ‘warm up the car’ to do anything… I’d be buying baskets of currants!

  16. Les petits gateaux me font penser aux financiers, mes petites douceurs preferees!! Je me suis amusee avec de la rubarbe aussi ce weekend, et je n’arrete pas d’en acheter! Superbe pique-nique hivernal!!

  17. Spring is around the corner here in Atlanta but I sure wish Winter would last a bit longer!
    Your pics look edible, as always.

  18. Your photos are so beautiful it actually makes me happy to look at them. I think spring has come and gone already where I live and we are into summer already.

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  20. Bea, I think I know where you got the molds for your cakes:) So lovely and i love the flavor combinations! It’s warming up over here; hopefully soon you won’t have to wait for your car to warm up either!

  21. Encore, encore et encore..j’adore le rose bonheur..j’en prends plein les yeux de merveille…C’est splendide….Dimanche c’est de nouveaux photos cuisine…grâce à toi Béatrice…merci et encore merci

  22. Beautiful, beautiful photographs and a lovely story too. The recipe is almost an extra bonus on top. I was similarly inspired by the smell of fresh strawberries recently at the grocery store. I think we’re all ready to put this freakish winter behind us.

  23. But, rhubarb is in season now (here in UK) and I guess that redcurrants are in season somewhere, too. And let’s face it, we all need a lift now and then and what better way to do it than with delicious and beautiful food?

  24. oh my goodness — one store near me has rhubarb this time of year, and i drool over it every time i go in! but i keep resisting, thinking that i will have plenty of rhubarb experiments when it makes it way to the farmer’s market… but i should stop listen to that buy-seasonally internal voice too! :-)

  25. I came across your website by accident and so far have enjoyed every bit of it. I especially enjoyed your food styling and food photography as I lack in these two areas (take a look at my website and you’ll see). Good luck and keep up the good work.

  26. Wow, many many thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear you enjoy the cakes, and that I am not the only one to give in to the temptation. Totally right, it makes us our days cheerier, and that is pretty something, non?

    Le gazon, ahah, c’est un truc de stylisme ca ;-) Ca s’appelle wishful thinking!

    Bon weekend a tous.

  27. Une recette qui va me permettre de liquider les quelques groseilles qui me restent dans mon congélateur !

  28. Enfin le soleil brille le matin et le printemps est arrivé chez moi grâce à tes jolies photos :)
    Doesn’t wishfull thinking imply taking the picture way before you use it? When everything was still green. And then just use it as a background for your cake photos ? Je ne crois pas que tu vas dévoiler ton secret :(.

  29. Thanks for your comment on my blog, which ofcourse made me look at yours…:) I love your photos! And the accompanying stories and recipes are a great bonus! I will sure visit more often!
    Simone

  30. Today I made them…and I think the cakes are better with all -purpose flour instead than rice flour. The cakes with rice flour taste a litle weird for me. For my boyfriend the cakes with rice flour taste great! He love it!

  31. Wonderful! The teacakes drew me in–what a hook! This is exactly the type of year we all want spring, regardless of what the weather is doing–what a delightful way to bring it on, than with all of these vibrant goodies and tart, fresh flavors!

  32. These berries are not grown here so any we get is “imported”…gorgeous photos as always!

  33. Many thanks everyone again. Sorry if I cannot answer to each of you individually, but know that every comment is appreciated.

  34. quand je lis ton hymne au printemps, j’ai l’impression qu’il est tout proche, juste derrière les rideaux de pluie qui tombent aujourd’hui, mais même pas mal, j’ai le parfum de ces merveilles dans la tête, je suis prête pour affronter ce temps!

  35. I love the colors, and the fact that the cakes must be so light from only egg whites. I’m trying to figure out how to use lemongrass in a dessert for easter (I’m doing a Southeast Asian menu); you’re giving me some ideas!

  36. just wanted to say……you are my hero.
    i would someday like to take photos of food a fraction as elegant as you do.

  37. Yummy…I’m Italian and I like to try new recipes…thank you so much for this ‘new’ recipe. Chocolat of Cookinginrome

  38. les gateaux sont super beaux et bons et j’ai de la chance car j’avais congelé mes groseilles et de la rhubarbe de mon jardin car je n’achéte jamais de fruits ou légumes hors saison Les photos sont magnifiques. Joelle

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  40. The food looks wonderful, as always.
    The little red spoons are to die for! Where did you get them?

  41. hi. i love ur photos. I’m starting a new food blog and I’m trying to shoot my own photos. Can you offer any advice on lighting? do you use natural or studio lights? thnx.

  42. Merci ! Merci ! pour cette recette sans gluten !
    C’est sublime pour ma santé et le goût est si bon

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  44. un vrai délice !ces gourmandises sont sublimes nous avons adoré l’alliance de toutes ces saveurs .Merci

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  46. Hi!
    I was wondering where you can buy the molds for that teacake shape?

    Thanks so much for sharing your lovely recipes :) I just got a small box of red currants as a gift from my coworker because I was talking about how lovely they are but I never see them at grocery stores! I’m super excited to try one of your recipes with them! :)

  47. Christine, they are mini brioche molds. Buy them here, if you like: . ALthough, I can see that they are not available at the moment. But this is the model.

    Béa

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