Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Greek Almond Crescents

This time around, we bring to you a recipe from The Afternoon Tea Collection published by Metro Books. Full of colorful pictures of decedent snacks along with their easy to understand recipes, there are so many goodies to choose from to make and enjoy with a perfect cup of tea. Flipping through the pages, trying to narrow down just one to try out could be a bit difficult. Chapters in the book include:

  • Sandwiches
  • Scones
  • Friands
  • Little Tarts
  • Little Cakes
  • Big Cakes 
  • Biscuits
  • Slices
Today we take a look at one of the options in the Biscuit category called Greek Almond Crescents. 

Greek Almond Crescents
250 g (8 ounces) butter, softened 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup (60ml) brandy
3/4 cup (120g) roasted blanched almonds, chopped finely
2 1/2 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup (60ml) rosewater
1/2 cup (125ml) water
3 cups (480g) confectioners' sugar 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease oven trays.
  2. Beat butter, extract and caster sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and brandy; transfer to large bowl. Stir in nuts and sifted flours and nutmeg, in two batches
  3. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead lightly until smooth. Shape tablespoons of dough into crescent shapes; place about 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart on trays.
  4. Bake about 15 minutes or until browned lightly. Lift hot crescents onto wire racks; brush with combined rosewater and water. Coat thickly with sifted icing sugar; cool 
prep + cook time 50 minutes      makes 50

- The Gamer - 

I wasn't quite sure what to be expecting when I first got my little plate full of crescents, as I hadn't been informed yet as to what had been used as ingredients. What I did notice shortly after taking a bite was a slight tartness to it, which I would assume came from the rosewater, as it was accompanied by the faint scent of roses. The pastry is fairly well balanced, not too dry that it just crumples in your mouth, but also not so moist that it's just a soggy mess in your hand. The dusting of powdered sugar also compliments it well, giving it a bit of sweetness that wouldn't be present otherwise. There was a slight background flavor of almonds that could almost be missed if a person wasn't looking for it. Overall, it was a rather tasty treat and somewhat reminiscent of things that my grandmother and/or mother would make when I was a child.

- The Artist - 

Having been looking forward to trying this recipe out for some time, I gathered up the ingredients that I needed and set about following the instructions. Since I didn't have any caster sugar, I went about and used one of my mortar and pestles to manually grind white sugar into the superfine consistency that I needed. The only alteration that I made to the recipe was the size of the crescents, making them just a little larger in size. This only added an additional 10-12 minutes to the cooking time. Pulling them out of the oven, the kitchen was filled with the subtle scent of the chopped almonds and vanilla from the little tidbits. This was soon accompanied by the wonderful floral notes from the rosewater as I brushed them with the mixture and gave them all a good snow fall of powdered sugar. Finally having a chance to taste my hard work, I was pleasantly surprised and rewarded by how all of the scents and flavors worked together in harmony in my mouth. I ended up pairing the treats up with a nice cup of peach green tea which worked wonderfully. The only thing I would probably do differently to my process would be chopping the almonds a bit smaller then I had done or use a food processor to make sure they were small enough. 

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