No, I’m not Swedish (which is where Mazariner hail from). Nor am I Italian (where the cakes reportedly came from before they came from Sweden). But it doesn’t take a Swede or an Italian to recognize a good pastry. And these cakes, full of flaky, buttery goodness, are delightful.
I happened upon this recipe tucked inside an old recipe book I picked up from a thrift store. I have a relentless need to acquire any abandoned cookbook or recipe collection, especially when sold for 50 cents at a thrift store. An aged, folded piece of paper fell out for a recipe referred to as “Sigrun Cakes”. I was charmed by the Spencerian script, the ingredients measured out in metric units, and most of all by the cake filling that was referred to as “fluffing”.
A nifty bit of research online told me that these cakes were based on the traditional Mazarin cakes–a flaky, buttery pastry cup filled with a sweet almond filling (or “fluffing” as the case may be).
Figuring out the conversions from metic grams to good ol’ American cups and tablespoons took a little legwork, but I think Sigrun would be pleased with the outcome.
Begin by making a pastry crust. Cut together 1 1/2 cups flour with 12 tablespoons of butter. They make tools for this, or you can use knives, but I like to use my fingers because something about the feel of cutting butter into flour makes me very happy.
Add 2 tablespoons of cream and mix gently until incorporated. Gather the pastry into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate it until it firms up a bit.
While the pastry chills, I like to employ “The Wienie’s Way to Prepare a Counter Top for Rolling out Pastry”, otherwise known as covering the counter in plastic wrap. In my defense, the pastry is quite wet and gets rolled quite thin to 5/32″ (5/32 of an inch?? Yes, the recipe really says that. I said it was charming, right?)
You can also grease your muffin tin while the dough chills.
Roll out your pastry and cut it into circles. I used a screw band for a wide-mouth Mason jar and it was just the right size for a dozen muffin-sized tarts. If the dough becomes too warm and the circles start distorting, slide it onto a large cutting board or cookie sheet and pop it into the freezer for a few minutes.
Transfer the crusts one at a time to the muffin tin and press them into the bottom. Don’t worry if they crack. You can use the extra dough to patch them up. Here are what mine looked like. I won’t be winning any Star Baker awards for that pastry-work (Ooh! Is anyone else SO excited to be watching the new season of The Great British Baking Show?? Didn’t you love it when Paul said, “Annoyingly…..I like that”?? I digress…..)
Use a stand mixer to mix up the filling. I sprinkled in 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom because I do love a hit of cardamom in just about everything. Aren’t you glad you have an electric mixer and don’t have to stand there mixing for 30 minutes like the recipe says to?? And speaking of things to be thankful for, aren’t you glad that you can now purchase almond flour, and don’t have to crack, blanch, peel, and grind your own almonds?? I do like just a little modernity in my kitchen.
Spoon the filling into the pastry cups, cut some leftover dough into crosses (like the Swedish flag, y’know) and place them on top. Chill in the freezer again for about 5 minutes. I learned to bake by watching Martha Stewart in the 1990’s and she told me “Cold pastry, hot oven”. I never depart from this rule.
Once chilled, pop into a blazing hot oven for about 15 minutes, until firm and golden brown on top. The Sweetie Pie says these cakes taste like a shortbread muffin (yum) though I was thinking it might be more like an angel-food-cake-tart (also yum). Whichever, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Based on the Swedish Mazarin tarts, though a bit more savory and not quite as sweet.
Yield: 1 dozen tarts
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 12 Tbs chilled butter cut into pieces
- 2 Tbs cream
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 1⁄4 cup blanched almond flour
- 1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom
- Place the flour in a bowl and cut in the chilled butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers. Add the cream, 1 Tbs at a time, and mix well after each addition. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
- While the dough chills, grease 12 muffin tins and preheat the oven to 425F.
- Roll out the pastry dough on a prepared surface to a thickness of 1/8″. Use a wide-mouth screw band to cut 12 circles from the dough. Press the circles into the greased muffin tin, using the leftover dough to repair any cracks that form.
- In a stand mixer, mix together the sugar, egg whites, almond flour, and cardamom. Beat until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Place one large spoonful of filling into each pastry shell. Cut strips from the leftover pastry and use to make a cross on top of each tart.
- Chill the tarts, if needed, before baking.
- Bake at 425F for about 15 minutes, until firm and golden brown on top. Let cool before removing gently from the muffin tin.