7 February 2012

Flaming Hearts - 'Flammende Herzen'

I baked these flaming hearts with Valentine’s Day in mind. They keep fresh for quite a few days, so it doesn’t matter that this is a bit early (although I doubt they will survive until the 14th). Flammende Herzen very much remind me of my childhood. They are a real 1980s thing and my mother sometimes bought these for us in the bakery to eat in the afternoons. Needless to say that they are quite tasty. I think you can still find them in quite a few bakeries, but they have lost some of their popularity to muffins and to other more fashionable cakes. 

Flaming hearts are traditionally filled with either jam or a chocolate filling. For the latter, the use of German nougat is most common. As discussed already in my Spitzbuben (Rascals) recipe I posted before Christmas, this praline paste is not commonly sold in the UK, but it can be substituted with a range of alternatives. In this case just a regular chocolate spread, like Nutella, would also work OK (although a filling that firms up seems preferable and will probably look better). As I used my last pack of German nougat for this batch of Flammende Herzen, I will soon experiment with homemade praline paste, made like a ganache with cream and melted chocolate and some pure hazelnut butter. Taste-wise, I think, this would come pretty close.

This recipe makes about 20 large double biscuits.

For the biscuits:

250 g very soft butter
120 g icing sugar
4 egg yolks
300 g plain flour
Seeds from one vanilla pod or some vanilla extract

For the filling:

Either jam, mixed with a bit of water and slightly warmed up
Or chocolate spread
Or nougat or a praline paste replacement (see above)

To decorate: melted chocolate or chocolate cake covering

Whisk the butter with the sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add the flour in a few additions and combine well, but don’t overmix the batter or whisk too hard. Fill the batter in a piping bag and pipe evenly sized biscuits onto a baking sheet covered in baking paper. Put in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let them firm up a bit. Bake in the preheated oven at about 170 degrees until the edges turn slightly golden (about 10-15 minutes).

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Don't try to remove the biscuits too quickly, as they are quite brittle when warm. When the biscuits are cold, sandwich them together with your choice of filling. Melt the chocolate or cake covering and dip one side of the biscuits in the chocolate. Leave to dry and then store in a tin.

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