Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Pasg Hapus…..whether it be in English, French or Welsh, I’m wishing all my readers a fabulous and very happy Easter with some of my top Easter recipes in one post, making it easier for you to plan, cook and bake your Easter Feast this year.
An Easter Cookbook
As we approach the end of Easter Week, I’d like to share some of my most popular and much-loved family recipes today. From traditional Hot Cross Buns and sumptuous cakes, to savoury snacks, roast dinners and of course eggs! I hope you will all find something to inspire you to make from the list today, whether it be a sweet and indulgent treat or a classic roast with all the trimmings. All that remains for me to say is Happy Easter, or Pasg Hapus as we say here in North Wales. Karen
This is a Victoria Sandwich Sponge with a few delicious additions. Fresh oranges and lemons, lemon curd, crystallised violets and mascarpone cheese make this basic sponge cake moist and special enough for the Easter Sunday tea-time table, or for Mum on Mothering Sunday. I used lemon curd for the icing, but orange curd would also work if you wanted a mellow flavour. The recipe for the crystallised violets is posted on my blog here: Crystallised Violets. If you don’t have any fresh violets, use some sugar paste flowers or cake decorations that work for you – the object is to make a posy of flowers on top of the cake.
This delightful diary-free cake hides a fun secret – cut into its light as a feather crumb, and you will see a myriad of rainbow flecks inside, like confetti, hence its rather jolly name of a Funfetti or a Confetti Cake! Chiffon Cake recipe adapted from Woman and Home. (You MUST use the correct type of “sprinkles”, the wax coated ones, and not the sugar paste ones – I used Rainbow Jimmies by Wilton from Amazon.co.uk)
Pretty little vanilla sponge cakes that have been baked in mini bundt moulds and are drizzled with white chocolate; these mini bundts are then decorated with mini chocolate eggs and seasonal sprinkles or hundreds and thousands. Just perfectly pretty (and delicious) for the Easter Sunday tea time table!
My recipe for Creme Egg Chocolate Drizzle Cake was commissioned by Great British Chefs, and if you fancy making this fabulous cake, then the recipe is here: Creme Egg Chocolate Drizzle Cake on Great British Chefs. But, I’ve not finished just yet with my chocolate baking, so do pop back after the weekend to see what other Easter treats I have up my sleeve……and if you fancy something chocolate for breakfast, then why not make a batch of my CHOCOLATE ORANGE CURD to spread on your toast, or even your Hot Cross Buns.
This recipe is a real show-stopper, it’s a gateau style cake that will grace any afternoon tea-table, posh picnic or when served as a weekend family treat, but it is extremely easy to make. The basic cake is made with a classic Victoria Sandwich recipe and then poached Bramley apples are added to the layers along with tangy lemon curd, before the cake is decorated with aromatic elderflower cordial drizzle icing and some sweet little edible wafer flowers (daisies)
It’s Easter Saturday in a day’s time, and not long from all enjoying those Easter Egg hunts and waking up to see what Easter bunny has left for us this year! Now, I don’t know about you, but I have been loving the advertisement on the TV lately, for those cute little Stork Easter Nest Cup Cakes, or Fairy Cakes as I call them; it’s a fabulous recipe that works on so many levels – they appear to be very easy to make, they look very “Easter-ish”, the cakes have that GREAT chocolate crispy thing on top – you know the ones you used to make when you were little – and, the cakes have mini chocolate eggs on top, so it is a win, win, win recipe all around. So, when I was contacted by Stork and asked to have a go at making them this weekend, I replied with some alacrity!
Hot on the heels of another Spring Recipe Post, for Apple Rose Tarts for Mother’s Day (Mothering Sunday) that I published a few days ago, I am very pleased to present with a chocolatey flourish, a brand new Easter baking recipe (or a non-baking recipe as it happens) for No-Bake Creme Egg & Malteser Chocolate Tiffin Bundt Cake. This is a trashy, over-the-top, indulgent cake that is very easy to make and even easier to eat…..it contains a suitably impressive amount of chocolate, biscuits, maltesers as well as the ubiquitous Cadbury’s creme eggs, which seem to abound in rude quantities on the run up to the Easter season, and as it is a no-bake cake, it’s the perfect cake to make with the kiddie-winkies in the Easter kitchen.
This year I have decided to go a little “off piste” with my buns, in a manner of speaking! I will be using my old family recipe, as it really is a winner, but, I will be baking these buns in a muffin tray this year, (as you can see from my photos) in the manner of a French Brioche.I decided that we are going to go dainty for Easter tea, with smaller buns that are also a pretty shape; I was going to bake them in some traditional brioche moulds, but as they are vintage moulds, they are considerably smaller than the modern-day silicone moulds, and greed overtook “dainty” on that score! Plus, using a large muffin tray is easier than individual moulds. However, I was DELIGHTED how well these buns baked, and they were just as delicious as my usual “trencherman” buns.
Easy No Knead Sourdough Hot Cross Buns – These no-knead sourdough hot cross buns take 24hrs to make, from start to finish, but it’s all passive time. I use a mix of Wholemeal Spelt and White Flour for a lovely nutty taste and texture. I’ve become an avid sourdough baker over the last few months, after I was sent some sourdough starter by my friend Elaine. My starter is called Sally and she proves to be very reliable on a regular basis, with fresh loaves, bread buns, crumpets and pancakes being a common sight on my kitchen table.
These delicious, buttery little Brioches à Tête are easy to make and are popped in the fridge overnight for a slow first rise, all ready to bake next morning for breakfast or brunch. Swerve them with butter, jam, preserves and a big pot of fresh coffee for a classic French treat. Once baked they freeze well.
A fabulous sourdough loaf that is packed with toasted nuts and has a lovely moist texture and nutty flavour. KAMUT® Khorasan is an ancient grain that is low in gluten, so it will not rise as much as normal strong bread flour, but when added to your usual sourdough mixture, it adds a wonderful taste and flavour.
Savoury Snacks & Pastry etc:
An easy recipe for Easter Saturday, perfect for the tea-time table or a picnic, or even as a filling for a baked spud as a simple Saturday supper, why not make a batch of this divine cheesy spread today – I bet most of you will have all the ingredients to hand in your fridge and pantry. Batch number THREE has already been made by me, and I plan to take it along tomorrow, for a seaside picnic with friends, avec baguette et vin of course.
Using ready-made puff pastry means that these delicious Le Rustique Camembert and Hazelnut Parcels are perfect for an easy mid-week family supper, or for a lazy Saturday lunch. Shallots and hazelnuts are gently fried in a little olive oil for a tasty twist that works so well with the cheese; the fruit and honey chutney is the final “pièce de résistance” for these flaky cheese pies, which cuts through the richness of the filling.
Tomorrow, the 19th April, is Good Friday; or, Hot Cross Bun day as I used to call it when I was little! Although many Christians observe a “no meat Friday” every week of the year, it’s probably true to say that most people regardless of their religion also adopt a meat-free meal on Good Friday, with fish being the most popular ingredient on the menu.Normally I would cook fish, and not just any fish, but a big family-sized fish pie, such as one of these recipes: Easy Cheesy Family Fish Pie Recipe for the 5:2 Diet (300 calories), Old-Fashioned Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash or Yorkshire Fish Pie with a Rosti Potato Topping. However, this Good Friday I have decided to make and share a new recipe for Wild Garlic and Blue Wensleydale Tart – a vegetarian tart made with seasonal wild garlic, fresh free-range eggs and a wedge of some gloriously creamy and mild Blue Wensleydale cheese, or Wensleydale Blue as it is also called.
Savoury Roasts, Main Meals & Accompaniments:
A fabulous French inspired recipe for slow roast lamb with a Dijon mustard crust, fresh herbs and garlic; this recipe makes its own red wine gravy that is infused with the herbs and garlic and is perfect for any special celebratory meal such as Easter or Mothering Sunday, as well as for a wonderful family Sunday lunch.
This recipe is so easy to make and takes advantage of two seasonal stars of Spring, Jersey Royal potatoes and Wild Garlic. It’s made a little more decadent by the addition of cheese which melts over the roast potatoes – and who doesn’t love cheesy potatoes.
A stunning and elegant way to serve a whole salmon, and this is also easy to prepare, as the salmon is poached with herbs and a little wine in a foil parcel in the oven. Serve with herb mayonnaise, orange buttered spring greens and minted new potatoes for a special family lunch or celebration meal. A whole salmon will feed four to five people with ease, with enough left for some tasty leftover dishes; or, serve as one meal for up to eight or nine people. Use organic wild Scottish salmon for the best taste and quality, as well as being rich in Omega 3 oils, which is essential for good health.
A delightful medley of early spring vegetables that are all dressed in chive butter – perfect as an accompaniment to fish, especially salmon and roast chicken, as well as tarts and quiches.
An elegant and delicious twist on the classic Salmon Coulibiac; this version is less rich and uses fresh seasonal watercress as a base for the rice filling, as well as spring onions. Can be served warm or cold and freezes beautifully.
Sweets and Desserts:
These little Topsy Turvy Blackcurrant Cheescake Trifles are easy to make, gluten-free, vegetarian and will appeal to all the family; use any seasonal fruit you have to hand, such as gooseberries, raspberries or strawberries, or a mixture of soft fruit.
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday and the start of the long Easter weekend, which is one of my Favourite times of the year; this recipe isn’t my own, which regular readers of Lavender and Lovage will know is rare, but, as things are a little upside down this year, I was glad of an easy to follow recipe, and one that will be tasty and bit of fun for our Easter tea time table.
A light and fluffy two chocolate mousse that is perfect as a light dessert for Easter or even Christmas and Mothering Sunday; this French inspired recipe uses white and milk chocolate and is decorated with seasonal chocolates on top of whipped cream.
A classic gooseberry fool but served in the style of a trifle with elderflower cordial, and with ready-made custard for speed and convenience; organic ready-made custard can be bought in most supermarkets, or you can make your own custard.
A delicious summery trifle that’s made with fresh raspberries, fresh peaches, Cream Sherry soaked cake, creamy custard & whipped cream, decorated with more fruit and amaretti biscuits. (The prep time includes the time it takes the custard to cool and set)
Bits & Bobs:
Violet on green, air heavy with scent……..peeping through after winter cold and heralding spring and beyond; lace and antique jugs with posies so gay, promises of sunshine and longer days. Old fashioned scent on hankies and scarves, cut glass bowls of candies and sweets……afternoon tea, your best china cups, sugar lumps and tongs with violet topped cakes…….grandmothers, aunties and mothers with crisply starched linen.
It’s the arrival of my violets that has let me back into my still room – a place where I preserve fruit and vegetables, and flowers too. I have made liqueurs, jams, chutneys, pickles, potted meats, bottled fruits, curds, syrups, jellies and aromatic gins and brandies in this quiet back room with its old porcelain sink in the corner and assorted wooden wine cases of jam jars sit waiting to be filled with glorious produce. I have a love affair with all things floral in the kitchen; I blame it on my mother, who would decorate birthday cakes with delicate crystallised primroses and delicate rose petals. Easter cakes were presented with tussy mussies of wild flowers in the middle whilst home-made chocolates were adorned with crystallised violets. Cakes and bakes each had a crown of preserved flowers along with floral icings and scented buttercream.
A delectable chocolate orange curd that can be made with Clementines, tangerines or normal oranges. Spread this on toast, croissants, brioche, pancakes or waffles. Also makes wonderful cake frosting.
This is a very old British tradition & method of colouring and dying eggs to be boiled and eaten on Good Friday & throughout the Easter weekend. There are commercial dyes available nowadays, but I still prefer the traditional natural methods of colouring my Easter Pace Eggs – onions skins (and also spinach & beetroot water)