While we're patiently waiting to welcome guests back to Bear Lodge (hopefully very soon!), our expert chefs have put together some honey-themed sweet treat recipes to get you through the rest of lockdown.
We'd love to see your finished bakes, so don't forget to tag us when you post your photos of your Russian honey cakes, seadas and English honey tarts on your social pages!
Russian Honey Cake
For the Burnt Honey:
¾ cup wildflower honey
3 tablespoons cold water
For the Cake Layers:
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into slices
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup wildflower honey
6 large cold eggs
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
For the Frosting:
• 4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
• ¾ cup sour cream
Pour honey into a deep saucepan over medium heat. Boil until a shade darker and caramel-like in aroma, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and whisk in cold water.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (such as Silpat®). Place a mixing bowl and a whisk in the refrigerator.
Place a large metal bowl over the lowest heat setting on the stovetop. Add butter, sugar, 1/4 cup of the burnt honey, and regular wildflower honey. Let sit until butter melts, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Whisk butter mixture and let sit until very warm to the touch. Whisk in eggs. Keep mixture over low heat until it gets very warm again; whisk in baking soda mixture. Remove from heat. Sift in flour in 2 or 3 additions, stirring well after each, until batter is easily spreadable.
Transfer about 1/2 cup batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an 8- or 9-inch circle using an offset spatula. Shake and tap the pan to knock out any air bubbles.
Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove liner from the pan and let cake layer continue cooling until firm enough to remove, 6 to 7 minutes. Invert cake onto a round of parchment paper.
Repeat until you have a total of 8 cake layers, letting each cool on an individual parchment round. Trim edges using a pizza wheel to ensure they are the same size; save scraps for crumb mixture.
Spread remaining batter onto the lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until edges are dry, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut into small pieces; toss with reserved cake scraps.
Return to the oven and continue to bake until browned, 7 to 10 minutes more. Let cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a resealable bag and beat into fairly fine crumbs using a rolling pin. Set aside.
Remove the bowl and whisk from the refrigerator. Pour in heavy cream. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add remaining burnt honey and sour cream; continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
Place a cake layer on a parchment paper round on top of a pizza pan or serving plate. Spread a cup of frosting evenly on top, almost to the edge. Repeat with cake layers and frosting, pressing the layers in smooth-side down. Place last cake layer smooth-side up. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Cover with crumbs; clean any excess crumbs around base.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours, to overnight. Transfer to a cake stand using 2 spatulas. Cut and serve.
Seadas (Sardinian Honey and Cheese Pastries)
4 cups (500 grams) of plain flour
1 cup (250 milliliters) cold water, or as needed
4 tablespoons (50 grams) of lard or butter
1 pinch salt
10 ounces (300 grams) of a young Pecorino cheese, cut into cubes
Zest of 2 lemons
Olive oil for frying
3/4 cup (250 grams) honey
Make a dough by combining the flour and salt with some cold water bit by bit until you have a silky, elastic consistency. Add the lard (or butter) and knead until well incorporated. Let the dough rest about 30 minutes, covered.
In the meantime, prepare the cheese by melting it in a small saucepan over gentle heat. If you find that the cheese is separating when it melts, add a tablespoon of flour to bring it back together. When melted, stir in the lemon zest then pour it out onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and gently spread out with a soft spatula to form an even layer of cheese, about a third of an inch thick. Let cool. Cut out 12 rounds with a cookie cutter about 3 inches wide.
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut out 24 rounds with a pastry cutter (you can follow the circumference of a small bowl or tupperware container, anything that is round and is roughly 4-5 inches wide).
Place one round of cheese in the centre of one round of dough, top with another round of dough and press the edges well with fingers or with the tines of a fork. If you go with fingers, you can also straighten the edges with a frilled pastry cutter for a traditional look.
Fill a wide pan with olive oil until it reaches a depth of one inch. When hot, fry the seadas until golden on both sides (some prefer not to flip them but to spoon the hot oil over the top). Remove from pan and place on kitchen paper until they are all ready (keep warm).
Gently warm the honey until liquid then pour over the seadas. This is best consumed freshly made and piping hot while the cheese is still oozing.
English honey tart
For the pastry:
100g butter, diced
75g icing sugar
200g plain flour
2 egg yolks, plus 1 egg white to glaze
For the filling:
150g English set honey
100g golden syrup
25g black treacle
100g white breadcrumbs, from slightly stale bread
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 medium orange
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
200ml double cream
Start by making the pastry; whiz the butter, icing sugar and flour together with a pinch of salt in a food processor until it forms a crumb-like texture. Lightly beat the egg yolks with 1 teaspoon of water. Add to the flour mixture and bring together without working too much, until the pastry starts to form a ball. Flatten into a disc, then wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out to 5mm thick on a floured surface, then press into a 20cm tart tin. Using the rolling pin, roll over the top to cut away the excess pastry. Gently prick the pastry base with a fork to stop it from rising. Line the case with crumpled baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Chill for at least 30 minutes or until firm and preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
Bake on a baking tray for about 20 minutes until the pastry has set, then remove the baking paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and dry. Brush with the egg white, lightly beaten, and bake for another 2-3 minutes to seal any imperfections in the pastry.
For the filling, gently heat together the honey, syrup and treacle in a pan. Mix in the breadcrumbs, citrus zests, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, followed by the eggs and cream. Pour into the tart case, then bake for 20-25 minutes until set – if you give it a gentle shake, there should be no movement in the mix. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving, as the filling is very hot. Serve with cream.