With Easter fast approaching, I remembered that I used to spend Easter brunches with my friends “E. and D.” back in the Midwest until I moved to the East Coast.
Isn’t it always the same feeling? When punctual yearly Holidays come right around the corner and remind you of joyous past times spent with friends and family.
A gesture, a smell, a sight and the memories rush back.
A group of friends you hear heartily laughing as you walk by. The warm smell of baking a cake early on Sunday morning for breakfast. Or the brisk breeze coming through the window left ajar as you set the Easter table for a brunch with friends.
It works every time for me.
I have been obsessed with the unusual marriage of dried sour cherries and tarragon since last summer when a friend served them in a colorful salad on a hot bright evening thus creating a new combination of flavors for me, which left me thinking…
Why haven’t I thought of that before? And most importantly, how can I turn this strange marriage into a sweet treat?
I tried many variations from tarts, loaves, cakes. Nothing was satisfying.
And then I forgot.
So when my Midwestern Easter brunch friend “E.” recently told me he has been missing and craving my baked goods, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to experiment again with that subtle and peculiar blend.
“E.” taught me everything there is to know about celiac disease – maladie cœliaque ou intolérance au gluten, en français – as well as gluten-free diets, traps to watch for, pitfalls to avoid etc. when he was diagnosed with it.
At the time, I used to joke that my house would most likely be a treacherous and dangerous landmine for him because, let’s be frank – French cooking or baking is all about white flour.
So it’s only fitting that my Easter post would feature a gluten-free recipe.
Nutritiously delicious, these teacakes are everything I’ve been wanting for Easter: different, moist, unusual, simple and, yes, addictive!
I eat them as snacks. As desserts. As breakfast.
In the street too – they fit nicely in my pocket.
Round or square, they’re just that cute.
The teacakes even made it to Wellesley, MA on a beautiful spring weekend to admire the blooming colorful trees and cherry blossoms.
A long day spent outside rewarded with more teacakes once back home.
And I certainly took it upon myself to try as many batches as possible to find that perfect magic formula.
Yes, only the best for my friend!
Adding milk in the recipe when needed so they are not too dry. Dropping chocolate chunks for extra texture. I tried it all!
In the end, with tea or coffee, dunked in milk or plain – the eating combinations are endless.
And with every Easter spent in the U.S. comes my favorite hunt of the year – like the Hunt for Red October with a tiny sprinkle of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I make it my Easter mission to find a chocolate hen.
For those who are already familiar with my Easter menagerie post, it will come as no surprise that my dedication to the chocolate hen hunt is intense and, well… obsessive!
This is when random acts of kindness can turn your whole world around. When a friend drops off an unexpected present at my door one night.
A beautiful, plump, deliciously appetizing chocolate hen.
And the best part? It’s home-made!
Une beauté !
I now know what will be proudly displayed on my table Sunday.
And there might just be more teacakes too, who knows?
Both will make Easter than much more special as they represent friendship, old and new.
Happy Easter! Joyeuses Pâques !
Coconut, Chocolate, and Dried Cherry Teacakes with Tarragon
5 Tbsp (60 g) of cane sugar
2/3 cup (75 g) of hazelnut meal/flour
3 Tbsp (21 g) of coconut flour
1/3 cup (52 g) of sweet white rice flour
a pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp packed of finely chopped tarragon
1/8 teaspoon (0.7 g) of baking powder
1/3 cup (78 ml) of whole milk
1/2 stick (56 g) of melted butter
6 Tbsp (45 g) of dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp (40 g) of semi-sweet chocolate chips or use coarsely chopped chocolate (60 to 70%)
2 Tbsp of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon packed of finely chopped tarragon
Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Make sure to read until the end – the oven temperature will need to get lowered during the baking process.
Butter a mini-muffin pan. This recipe will make 12 teacakes the size of mini-muffins.
If you are using square tins like on the pictures, the cooking time will differ a little – see below.
In a big bowl, sift the sugar, flours, salt, and baking powder together. Add the tarragon and mix well.
Melt the butter and let it cool at room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and the milk. Fold in the flour bowl until you get a coarse sandy paste.
Pour the butter slowly over the sandy dough and mix well until completely absorbed. You should end up with a smooth, sticky batter.
Fold in the dried cherries and chocolate. Mix well.
Using 2 big spoons, fill the mini-muffin pan. I find it easier to use 2 spoons because the dough is sticky. Flatten the surface of each cakes with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the oven at 400 °F (200 °C) for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 300 °F (150 °C) and bake for an additional 20 minutes if you are using a mini-muffin pan.
If you are using thinner tins (square or round) to bake the teacakes in, only bake them for an additional 15 minutes instead of 20.
Remove from the oven and unmold right away. Let the teacakes cool on a cooling rack or a cutting board.
These teacakes stay moist for at least 2 days as long as you keep them in an air tight container in the fridge. They are best eaten at room temperature.
Optional: mix the shredded coconut, powdered sugar and tarragon in a bowl and sprinkle on top of the teacakes before serving for stronger coconut/tarragon flavors.