Hawthorn blossom pastry dessert – The English hedgerow meets the Lebanese kitchen.

This recipe is inspired by a trip to Yalla Yalla, a great Lebanese restaurant just off Oxford St. in London.  We popped in for supper after running a foraging and fishing evening for Slow food week and had a great range of dishes, all packed with flavour and completely delicious.  The stand out dish of the night was dessert, a type of tart that neither of us had had before called Knefe.  The orange blossom flavours got us thinking and Rose thought we should use some of the amazing Hawthorn blossom that is covering the hedgerows around North Yorkshire to make our own version.

We served the Knefe with Hawthorn blossom ice cream, which is equally good served with a lump of chocolate cake!

knefe tart with hawthorn blossom ice cream

Hawthorn and orange knefe dessert -serves 10

  • 2 large handfuls of well scented hawthorn blossom
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 150ml water
  • 100ml sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 100g cold butter cut in to chunks
  • 200g plain flour
  • 400g block of mozzarella cheese coarsely grated
  • 110g white breadcrumbs
  • 90g ground almonds

Start by making the syrup. To do this gently heat the water, sugar and honey in a pan, when the sugar has dissolved add the hawthorn blossom and orange zest. Stir to make sure all the petals are well coated in syrup and heat just to simmering point, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes and then strain the syrup into a jug.

For the dessert it’s self you will need a greased 25cm tart tin or pie dish. The pastry is very simple just ‘rub in’ the flour and butter, either with your fingers in a bowl or whizz it up in a food processor. Add a tablespoon or two of water to the mix and it will start to come together. At this point you can line the tart tin, just take little bits of the pastry and press it in to the tin with your fingers. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees C. Now remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper and return the tart case to the oven for another 5 minutes. When the case has cooled spread the grated mozzarella evenly in to it. Mix together the breadcrumbs and ground almonds and add to the flan case on top of the cheese. Lightly press down and smooth over the top of the flan. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C. While the flan is still warm pour over the hawthorn and orange syrup covering the flan completely. Serve warm with Hawthorn blossom or rose ice cream.

Hawthorn Blossom Ice cream -makes 1litre

  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • ½ litre of well scented Hawthorn blossom
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 220g sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Put the milk and cream in a pan with the hawthorn blossom and heat gently for 10 minutes. Meanwhile put the egg yolks, salt and sugar in to a large bowl and mix until pale. Bring the milk mixture nearly to the boil then strain through a sieve on to the egg and sugar. Quickly whisk then set aside to cool. When cool churn in an ice cream maker or put in the freezer and mix with a fork every hour until it turns to ice cream.

One day foraging course 8th and 9th June 2013

Another sunny weekend spent teaching about wild edible plants to some lovely people.  Thank you all for coming – happy foraging!

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