Apricot And Wattleseeds Tea Cakes
I know I am not the only one in this case and it might come as no surprise to you if I say that my husband rarely reads my blog. It’s not that he does not care but I talk about the post the moment I make the cake, dessert, pastry, etc…so by the time I take the said dessert out of the oven or off the stove, he already knows what I am going to write and talk about. You can imagine that the last post about the "faisselle" my father loves so much brought back a lot of memories and we spent a couple of evenings reminiscing about our childhood favorite summers.
It made me realize that I was a deeply nostalgic person, but not a sad nostalgic always wishing it were still the good old days. No, I am a content nostalgic. Memories appease me, wrap me up like a soft blanket and give me a sense of direction. It is hard to find the calm when words and events hurt you or saddened you and instead I try to find a way to let them in, to let them show me a missing key to that big puzzle that is life. August is a tough month for me, remembering my grandmother and my brother, missing granpa’s 98th birthday and as he said himself "statistics start to look less and less optimistic at that age"…now that just about cracked me up! But I have found comfort in continuity as I was observing C’s twins playing in the creek, fishing, riding their bikes through the neighborhood, perpetrating the same pranks and tricks we used to do with my cousins at the same age.
Some people need to touch things to feel connected, to visit places again…I can’t do any of that. I did not bring "things" to the US, just two suitcases, I can’t go home for a long weekend escapade. But I can remember and talk and with this grew my ever growing love for interactions with people. I am not one of those intruding neighbors always poking my head through the fence or stopping whomever and whatever on the street just to have a conversation. No, I am not saying I am shy either…I just think my brain is always turned on to the "outside/out there" mode. This may not be news for you, but after so many years, I feel actually quite wise (hmm, hmm!) that I have discovered one of my inner mechanisms: memories ground me in being and taking in the present.
When I wrote this post, one new(er) terrific blogger, Christy, emailed me with concerns and questions about moving far away from "home". We emailed back and forth and I tried to reassure her that it is looks more daunting that it actually is. With a good head on your shoulder, a sense of curiosity, an open mind and a good smile, (ok that is the condensed version of the expat "must haves"), it all goes pretty smoothly. She insisted on sending me something as a thank you for answering her questions and since she lives in Australia I thought about light stuff that would not cost her an arm and a leg to ship: the famous Tim Tam cookies, (check her generosity) and ground wattleseed.
Wattle – what? Ha! I blame my Aussie neighbor Liz down the street for that one since she was listing its origins, properties and many different uses. Wattleseed refers to the edible seeds from Australia Acacia (loose term because they are over 100 varieties), and ground acacia flour known as wattleseeds is not only use in baked goods, but also as a replacement for coffee or chocolate, nuts. Moreover it is completely gluten free, has a low glycemic index but a high nutritious content. I just wished they’d sell it by the bucket here because from the moment I took some tiny granules to my nose I was hooked. Nutty and toasty like hazelnuts with a texture similar to ground flax seeds. Guess after the tomatoes and ever growing wild lemongrass I will be growing acacia next!!
It did not take me long, once I tried tasted a tiny little bit, to figure out how I wanted to use them. That nutty aromas is perfect with juicy apricots and the flour aspect of wattleseeds made me think of tea cakes and substituting some of the all purpose flour with it. Next thought was about the kind of tea cakes I wanted. In my family, Sunday lunches often turned into tea times with my aunt Agnes famous yogurt cake. You can guess that tea breaks inevitably turned into light dinners before my grandparents would send everybody in their respective abodes…lucky us we lived next door! See…memories…So yogurt cake it was, with apricots, wattleseeds and the usual yogurt cake suspects (say that 3 times fast). The result was just the softest, nuttiest, apricot-est mini bites we had Sunday afternoon while the twins were playing fetch with Bailey who was too hot to be bothered!
Apricot And Wattleseeds Tea Cakes:
Makes about 12 (can be made in any dish/mold you have like regular muffin tins)
2 large eggs
6 oz (on standard US container) (about 180 gr) whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (115gr) ground wattleseeds
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 Tb lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350° F, spray a muffin pan or 12 molds of your preference with cooking spray and set aside while you prepare the cake batter.
Cut the apricot in half and slice each half in thin slices, you will use about one half for each tea cake. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the eggs and sugar until pale. Add the yogurt, oil, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Whip to combine and add the flour, wattleseeds and baking powder. Whip on medium speed for 30 seconds to make sure all the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth. Scrape the bottom of your bowl if necessary and give the batter another 10 seconds whirl. Do not overwork the batter or your cake will turn out gummy. Divide the batter into the prepared tins, arrange the apricot slices on top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester (skewer or tip of your knife) inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.
Kitt August 5, 2008 um 8:06 am
Interesting and intriguing! I’ve never heard of wattleseed before. I’ll keep an eye out for it now.
Lovely reflection on nostalgia.
Christy August 5, 2008 um 8:10 am
I’m glad you’re loving the gifts!! And so happy that you’ve found a good way to use the wattleseeds! You used quite a bit on the cakes so tell me if you need more and I’ll send a few more packets over to you.
Manggy August 5, 2008 um 8:41 am
I know exactly what you mean, Helen… I am quite content in my memories too 🙂 Sigh, I’ll keep your expat checklist in mind, I might need it soon!
Beautiful golden gateaux au yaourt! With a *very* exotic ingredient, yet! 😀
[email protected] August 5, 2008 um 9:03 am
ooo gorgeous, these sounds fantastic altogher. and I agree with you about the memories, you don’t need to be there touching them to let them in and enjoy them!!!
Andreea August 5, 2008 um 9:03 am
wateleseed what? 🙂
and as an expat myself i can only relate.
Rosa's Yummy Yums August 5, 2008 um 10:59 am
Thanks for the interesting post! Now, I know what wattleseeds are…
Those cakes look delicious! Fabulous!
Dharm August 5, 2008 um 11:16 am
Helene, I LOVE memories and I think it is wonderful to rehash them frequently. Your post brought back fond memories too. When i studied in Melbourne, I lived in an apartment which had a small sundry shop behind located on – wait for it – Wattletree Road!!
Cannelle Et Vanille August 5, 2008 um 11:41 am
Helen- I also share your nostalgia, the good kind nostalgia. The positive one that makes you appreciate where you come from and love where you are now. Great story and lovely recipe as always.
Snooky doodle August 5, 2008 um 1:29 pm
these look yummy. didn t know what wattleseeds are , thanks for the info. nice pics
Parisbreakfasts August 5, 2008 um 1:46 pm
Perfecto! ! !
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cerise!!!
I mean it too!
Lovely story by the way 🙂
Anonymous August 5, 2008 um 1:54 pm
Beautiful story, Helen. 🙂
I keep on hearing about wattleseed, but I’ve never found nor tasted it! I’m so curious… If only I could get my hands on it!
Rachel August 5, 2008 um 1:54 pm
Some of your posts do reflect on your character of ..nostalgia..
I’ve never seen wattle seeds and the tea cakes that you made look delectable.
cindy* August 5, 2008 um 3:15 pm
helen, the colors in these photos are so bright and summery…pretty!
Mallory Elise August 5, 2008 um 3:28 pm
that’s so cute, it’s like a little baking culture exchange. i had never heard of wattle seeds, but i think Bea used them in something. I would send you something from here but….well, spokane isn’t known for much…ingredient wise. There are onions and potatoes near by! oh brother.
Cookie baker Lynn August 5, 2008 um 3:50 pm
What fun to be blessed with wattleseeds! I hope to see more fun, intriguing recipes using them.
Jen Yu August 5, 2008 um 4:12 pm
Ooof! Wattleseed sounds amazing 🙂 I love nutty things (you included!) – there is such a variety and spectrum of flavors!
Absolutely agree with you that memories keep us grounded. At least, you and me. You know what I mean… xxoo
That Girl August 5, 2008 um 5:41 pm
I’m content to stroll down memory lane, but my husband wants to build a house on the corner of "nostalgia" and "unrealistic expectations."
Vera August 5, 2008 um 6:44 pm
Helen, the cakes are so lovely! Beautiful photos!
Camille August 5, 2008 um 6:56 pm
I’m hooked just because of your discription of the wattleseeds and will have to investigate aquiring them.
The tea cakes look perfect for an afternoon outdoor tea.
Manger La Ville August 5, 2008 um 8:51 pm
You sound so Proustian, about memories grounding you in the present. I adore Proust, and he takes little bits of daily life, seemingly insignificant and creates a weaving tapestry of memories. I truly enjoyed this post, and I can’t wait to make it. Do you think they carry waddleseed at most health food stores?
Anonymous August 5, 2008 um 9:31 pm
Talk about pretty little tea cakes! Awesome stuff. Great presentation as usual.
LizNoVeggieGirl August 5, 2008 um 9:34 pm
"Memories appease me, wrap me up like a soft blanket and give me a sense of direction." That is SO beautifully worded!! I feel the same way.
Gorgeous tea cakes!!
Anonymous August 5, 2008 um 9:35 pm
Dear Helen, I can really relate to the good nostalgia part, I am the same. Really loved your post, as always, and the cakes look wonderful!
Anonymous August 5, 2008 um 10:04 pm
Tu racontes si bien tes souvenirs, no doubt you have a good nostalgia!
These little tea cakes are so cute ! Gorgeous pictures ! A delight !
Anonymous August 5, 2008 um 10:10 pm
I really like the sound of wattleseeds. Nuttiness and a floury texture but without the huge amount of saturated fat from actual nuts. I’ll have to see if I can track some down in the UK.
The teacakes look wondderful!
Clumbsy Cookie August 5, 2008 um 10:15 pm
Helen I simply love the way your nostaly seams to shape your life in such a positiv way. Lucky you, those australian cookies look great. I don’t remember ever tasting wattleseeds, so I’ll have to take your word for it.
Fit Chick August 5, 2008 um 11:50 pm
The tea cakes sounded so good I just had to find Wattleseeds and I did!!! They are on their way and I will be making the tea cakes next week, hope they tast as good as your look! Thanks for such interesting recipes and memories, Robin
Anonymous August 6, 2008 um 12:42 am
Hi Helen, my husband doesn’t read my blogs either and neither does he partake of most of my baking ventures. He simply does not like cakes!
Pea and Pear August 6, 2008 um 1:40 am
It is lovely to have memories. I am a very nostaligic person too and I love the fact you can access them like their own photo album. They are exactly like a soft blanket.
Glad to hear you are enjoying some australian delicacies!!
Anonymous August 6, 2008 um 2:30 am
I have to say this might be my favorite post yet! from the gorgeous photographs to the lovely thought about memories…i try to live in the moment so when i think of the past it usually happy thoughts.
Anonymous August 6, 2008 um 2:32 am
Well I have learned something new today! I had never heard of the Wattle. How interesting. And how nice of you to have created a special litle dessert to accentuate your gift!
Olga August 6, 2008 um 3:10 am
please tell me it’s not your handwriting: no one can be that perfect 🙂
Helene August 6, 2008 um 3:53 am
Manger la ville: I haven’t seen it here in the south but I would try Amazon or ebay.
Olga: no (!)…it’s good old Microsoft word!!
Susan from Food Blogga August 6, 2008 um 4:03 am
There is something impossibly appealing about the name "wattleseeds," just as there is something impossibly appealing about those tea cakes.
Shaheen August 6, 2008 um 7:32 am
I love your blue dishes! They are just too cute
Archana Doshi August 6, 2008 um 8:48 am
Interesting and intriguing! I’ve never heard of wattleseed before. I doubt we get it here in India, will keep an eye for it. Lovely photographs
Deeba PAB August 6, 2008 um 11:06 am
Whoa…wattle-what-a-pretty-good-thing-to-have-for-tea! Beautiful Helen…fruit in bakes finds the baker in me do a merry gig. Sadly I shall have to wait for next summer as apricots have upped & gone away. Stunning little cakes…with great pictures too! BTW, my DH checks my blog the first thing in the morning…funny how men are!! Ciao Deeba
glamah16 August 6, 2008 um 3:51 pm
I love going down memeory lane( both good and bad).It inspiresme to move forward. I have to ask my Aussie friend now for some Wattleseed when she goes back home!
Patricia Scarpin August 6, 2008 um 5:41 pm
The first time I heard about wattleseeds was in Haalo’s blog – she had baked some pretty madeleines with them.
These cakes are so adorable, Helen!
I sometimes feel nostalgic, too – there’s even a word in Portuguese to describe that, "saudade", and that word doesn’t exist in any other language. I think about the good things I had when I was little, especially having my mom around, and they make me happy. But I don’t have bitter feelings – missing those things make me want to be a better person and to create new memories for the future.
Anonymous August 6, 2008 um 6:04 pm
The cake looks awesome Helen! I don’t know what wattleseeds are, but need to look up info on them. I need to give this one a try.
Deborah August 6, 2008 um 6:34 pm
The only time – except now – that I’ve heard of wattleseed was on Top Chef. I’m intrigued, though, and may have my sister pick some up on her next trip down under!
Poonam August 6, 2008 um 8:00 pm
The cakes are lovely!
Anonymous August 6, 2008 um 8:31 pm
Mm, lovely – I had wattleseed ice cream and fell in love with it – but have not been able to find wattleseeds anywhere here in the states!
My Sweet & Saucy August 6, 2008 um 9:34 pm
Never heard of Wattleseeds before, but looks like a fun and interesting dessert! Love the table set-up!
KayKat August 7, 2008 um 12:12 am
Ok, Helen. Be that way. Make me drool all over my keyboard.
Now I need to go look up wattleseeds, I have no idea what those are.
Ok, is that your new pooch or are you fostering him. He’s *so* damn cute!
Helene August 7, 2008 um 2:44 am
Fit-Chick: thank you for the link. Amazon also lists them through igourmet.
Helene August 7, 2008 um 4:54 am
Forgot: KayKat, Bailey became ours after the neighbors' kids decided they’d rather play and be boys rather than train. He’s been a lovely handfull!
Zoe Francois August 7, 2008 um 5:48 am
These are delightful and I can’t wait to get my hands on some wattleseeds. How exciting to come across something new I’ve never tried!
Breadpitt August 7, 2008 um 2:49 pm
the pastry on your blog were giving me a very comfortable view somehow , especially the berry pavlova, lovely.awaiting to see more of your post
LyB August 8, 2008 um 2:07 am
I had never heard of wattleseeds. I even tried translating the word but there doesn’t seem to be a word for it in French ("graines d’acacia" didn’t turn up anything)! Those cakes look delicious. An African friend of mine who had lived in France made yogurt cake for me once and I’ve been hooked ever since. Simple is best. 🙂
Anonymous August 8, 2008 um 7:49 am
Absolutely stunning photo, gorgeous sounding teacakes and a lovely post too 🙂 Perfect Helen.
Anonymous August 8, 2008 um 7:49 am
Absolutely stunning photo, gorgeous sounding teacakes and a lovely post too 🙂 Perfect Helen.
Unknown August 8, 2008 um 3:38 pm
I love your writing in this post – I just wrote about memory in my post too, as it seems like we are always on the same wavelength:) I think sometimes I become more a sad nostalgic, but then I take a look at my life now and realize things are pretty good and there’s no point pining away for the past. Onward to bigger and better pastries:)
steph- whisk/spoon August 8, 2008 um 9:57 pm
these look great! i love using wattleseed in baked stuff. i’ll have to bring stash home with me when we move back to the states! and of course a stash of tim tams, too!
Y August 9, 2008 um 2:26 am
I too view nostalgia in a positive light. It’s not about dwelling in the past, per se, rather, I see it as celebrating what has gone on before.
Anonymous August 9, 2008 um 2:51 pm
I am from Australia and I love wattleseed teacakes, yours look scrummy.
Fifi Flowers August 10, 2008 um 8:34 am
I adore apricots! These look delish! You are a busy girl! BREATHE!
~Ling~ August 11, 2008 um 2:32 am
Oh! Such pretty little tea time set you have there. It looks so appetising! Will definitely be dropping by more often for those wonderful recipe. (^^,)
Anonymous August 12, 2008 um 1:59 pm
I loved reading your reflections on nostalgia. I did the opposite move: from the States to France, and I can see how memories from growing up in France would be comforting in a sort of faraway way over in the States. As for me, it’s weird things that send me back to my hometown: sometimes the evening light hits just right in Paris, and I feel like I’m back in New York again. Thanks for the moment of content nostalgia!
Anonymous August 12, 2008 um 3:46 pm
I’d say memories ground me, too, Helen. And I enjoyed listening to you, getting the impression that as busy as I know you are, that your mind is never at a stand still, always working on something. I don’t need to tell you I love your sweet creations, but I will say I truly enjoyed this post and your thoughts about life. The wattlecakes (couldn’t resist) are gorgeous.
Anonymous August 20, 2008 um 1:02 pm
I am totally intrigued with the wattleseeds! I am a nester so when I go anywhere even to work, I bring a bag of a few belongings. If I moved from afar to the states, all my belongings would have to come with me.
Ellemay September 1, 2008 um 2:37 pm
And there are soo many more types of Tim Tams available as well.
I’ve never used wattleseed before, so I must try it soon
If you ever feel really adventurous one day try and get someone to send you some Vegemite.
Best eaten with grilled cheese on toast.