The Persian Fusion

The Persian Fusion

My Authentic and Fusion Persian Recipes. Happy Cooking!

Persian Jewelled Rice with Lamb (Gheymeh Nesar)

Persian Jewelled Rice with Lamb (Gheymeh Nesar)

It’s amazing how the Persian cuisine has been catching on in the western world in the past few years. There are now tens or maybe even more lovely Persian jewelled rice recipes in English out there. I was surprised though when I checked for the […]

Pretty Pear and Ginger Cake with Salted Toffee Sauce

Pretty Pear and Ginger Cake with Salted Toffee Sauce

I was in baking mood this morning, or probably baking was an excuse to dodge chores I couldn’t bring myself to tackle. Yes, not today, I kept telling myself. But you know what such days are like. The ingredients I needed to bake what I […]

Coffee and Mascarpone No-Bake Cake

Coffee and Mascarpone No-Bake Cake

My coffee and Mascarpone no-bake cake recipe, which I sort of put together by combining elements from recipes for the Portuguese bolo de bolacha (a layered coffee flavoured custard and biscuit cake) and the all famous tiramisu, makes a really stunning cake you’d want to make in summer when you can’t be bothered with turning the oven on. I think there’s no easier way to impress a coffee-lover with a sweet tooth than with this lovely cake.

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Layer the biscuits (dunked in coffee) with a mixture of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese.

I had the luscious bolo de bolacha during a holiday in Portugal last year. The first forkful and I had fallen in love! I googled the recipe and was surprised to find out how easy it was to make. The recipe called for Maria biscuits, a vanilla-flavoured biscuit very similar to Rich Tea Biscuits. I’ve used both types of biscuits in my recipe and can’t really tell the difference so whichever you can find is fine.

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Finish off the cake with a layer of cocoa powder. Garnishing with strawberries is optional.

Portuguese sweets and desserts are fabulous. I find it very hard to pick a favourite from the large selection of pastries and desserts I had there. Pastel de nata (custard cups) was definitely at the top of my list. They are the most scrumptious little pastries to have with the fabulously delicious Portuguese coffee.

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To get a clean cut wipe the knife blade after making each cut or use a wire cutter.

Pastel de nata is a speciality of  Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon where literally thousands of them are hand-made and sold every single day. Only pastel de nata from the said monastery can be called Pastéis de Belém. The monastery cafe, which is really huge, serves a few other types of pastries but it’s the amazing custard cups it’s famous for.

coffee-and-mascarpone-icebox-cake-recipeCoffee and Mascarpone no-bake cake can be made in any shape. Here I made it in a square dish and cut it into squares to serve.

So here’s the recipe. I hope you’ll like it and make it as often as I do. The amounts given below make a large round cake enough to serve 12 people. Cut the amounts in half and use a smaller tin (round or square) for a smaller cake.

Also feel free

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 -2 packets of Maria or Rich Tea biscuits
  • 600ml double (or heavy) cream (chilled)
  • 300g mascarpone cheese
  • Seeds from one vanilla pod (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Baileys or milk
  • 250ml very strong cold coffee
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Strawberries to garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Whip the cream with a hand mixer in a medium-sized bowl until it holds soft peaks. Beat the mascarpone cheese into the whipped cream until well mixed and the mixture holds stiff peaks. Add the icing sugar, vanilla seeds (or extract) and the Baileys (or milk) and beat just to mix.You can add a little more Baileys or milk if the mixture is too stiff to spread.
  2. Line a 23 cm springform cake tin with two layers of cling film. The size of the tin doesn’t really matter. A smaller tin will make a thicker cake. You can even use a square Pyrex or similar dish if you don’t have a springform cake tin. You don’t need to use cling film if you are using a glass dish.
  3. Pour the coffee in a shallow dish. Soak a biscuit in the coffee for about two to three seconds and place it in the bottom of the tin. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits until the bottom of the tin is covered with biscuits.
  4. Spread a thin layer of the cream mixture (about two mm thick) over the biscuits. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits and cream. I usually do four layers of biscuits (including the bottom). Spread the rest of the cream mixture over the last layer of the biscuits.
  5. Dust the top of the cake generously with cocoa powder and garnish with strawberry halves if desired. Chill the cake for at least four hours. Cut into wedges using a sharp knife with a thin blade or a wire cake cutter if you have one. Enjoy!

My Favourite

Persian-Inspired Cheese, Herbs & Walnut Pinwheel Canapés

Persian-Inspired Cheese, Herbs & Walnut Pinwheel Canapés

Looking for a Persian/Persian-inspired canapé recipe for the holiday season parties? These cute little Persian-inspired canapés filled with a mixture of feta cheese, gorgeous-smelling herbs, radishes and walnuts are perfect finger food for any kind of party. I love to serve them at drinks parties. At other times I skip the rolling and have the filling over crispbread or my favourite flatbread, lavash, for breakfast, brunch or as a snack.

My Azarbaijani (northwestern Iranian province) family loved having a basketful of fresh soft herbs such as purple and green Persian basil, mint, Persian chives and tarragon with radishes and spring onions (sabzi khordan) on the table at every meal. Well, who doesn’t in Iran? We always grew herbs in our garden and the smell of freshly picked herbs often evokes fond memories of my grandma and the gorgeous meals she so lovingly prepared and served to the family and friends. My pinwheels celebrate the tasty tiny morsels of bread, cheese and herbs that she rolled for me.

To make my pinwheels I first made the cheese filling and allowed the flavours to mix while I was preparing my slices of toast.

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White salty cheese, chopped herbs, walnuts and radishes for filling pinwheel canapes.

I used white toast this time but I’ve made these canapés with seeded bread and they tasted even better but the slices were a little harder to roll and cut.

Preparing slices if toast for making pinwheels.

I removed the crusts from the slices of toast and rolled them with a rolling pin to make them as thin as I could. Then I spread the cheese mixture on the slices and rolled them like tiny Swiss rolls. But they wouldn’t look very appetising just like that, would they?

A little chopped herbs and a few toasted black sesame seeds refined the look and made the little canapés even more tasty. To make the chopped herbs and sesame seeds stick to the rolls I moistened the tops with a little yoghurt, sprinkled the herbs and sesame seeds on the chopping board and rolled the rolls on them like in the following pictures.

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Cheese and herb stuffed toast rolled like a swiss roll.

The last stage was using a very sharp knife to cut the rolls into slices.

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Slicing the rolled bread with a sharp knife.

Follow the instruction below and you’ll see how easy it all was!

To serve 6-8 people you will need the following ingredients:

  • 100g feta or other salty white cheese, mashed with a fork
  • 100g cottage cheese
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • 20g fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 20g fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 20g fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 5-6 radishes, chopped
  • Generous pinch of Aleppo pepper or mild chilli flakes
  • 6-8 thin slices of white or seeded toast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon yoghurt to use as glue to keep the rolls together

To garnish

  • 1 tbsp toasted black sesame or nigella seeds to garnish
  • 2 sprigs of dill chopped roughly to garnish
  • 2 radishes

How to make the pinwheels:

  1. Mix the two cheeses, chopped herbs, the chopped walnuts and Aleppo pepper or chilli flakes in a bowl and mix well with a fork.
  2. Toast the slices of bread lightly (without colouring) and let cool. Remove the crusts off the slices of toast with a sharp knife. Using a rolling-pin roll the slices as thin as you can.
  3. Spread a piece of cling film on a chopping board. Put a slice of toast on the film and spread two-thirds of the slice from the side nearest you with about one and a half or two tablespoon of the cheese and herb mixture (depending on the size of the slices).  Moisten the remaining surface of the toast with a little yoghurt to help keep the roll together when rolled. Starting from the side nearest you start rolling with the help of the cling film, like you would roll a Swiss roll. Wrap the roll in the film and gently squeeze and neaten the shape. Repeat with the rest of the slices. Refrigerate the rolls for several hours to allow the flavours to develop.
  4. Remove the cling film from each roll and Moisten the top with a little yoghurt. Sprinkle a little chopped dill and sesame seeds on the chopping board and roll the prepared rolls on it so they cling to the bread. Using a very sharp knife carefully cut the rolls into 1cm thick slices. Top with thin slivers from the red part of a radish. Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with more radishes. Let come to room temperature and enjoy!

PS: You can prepare the rolls up to 24 hours before serving and keep refrigerated.