I love Easter. For me, it has all the comfort of a family Christmas without all the stress…what could be better? Recently, I’ve been embracing the holiday more and more and I think it’s a really good excuse to have a bit of fun at home. Here are some of the things I do to get in the mood and really make Easter weekend an occasion:
My favourite easter decoration has to be the classic egg- from the beautiful speckled ceramic to the bright and bold. I love to incorporate them into a spring flower arrangement or have them nested in bowls around the house. This decoration is all about subtlety, be careful not to over egg it. (I had to use that pun somewhere!)
One thing that can give your home that extra special touch is something that no designer can draw up or include on paper- the smell of good old home baking. We love to get creative with our baking at home during Easter so I thought I’d share some of our favourite bakes that make Easter Afternoon Tea even more delicious.
250g mixed dried fruits
grated zest and juice 1 medium orange
175g softened butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs , beaten
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 tbsp milk
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice for mixing
- Tip the fruit into a bowl, add the zest and juice and microwave on medium for 2 minutes (or leave to soak for 1 hour). Line 12 deep muffin tins with paper muffin cases.
- Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ 160C/gas 4. Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, spices and milk until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes) – use a wooden spoon or hand held mixer. Stir the fruit in well.
- Half fill the muffin cases with the mixture. Divide the marzipan into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls, then flatten with your thumb to the size of the muffin cases. Put one into each muffin case and spoon the rest of the mixture over it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen, golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool.
- Beat together the icing sugar and orange juice to make icing thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Drizzle over the muffins and top with a cluster of eggs. Leave to set. Best eaten within a day of making.
AMERICAN SUGAR COOKIES
132g unsalted butter, softened
225g superfine sugar, or granulated sugar, processed in blender or food processor for 30 seconds
½ tsp. Salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
½ tsp. Almond extract or emulsion, optional
375g plain flour
Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Add yolk, beat well. Add whole egg, vanilla and optional almond extract and beat until well-incorporated. Add flour; beat at low speed just until flour is mixed in; do not overmix. Divide dough in halves or thirds and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 190°C. Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined pans. Bake in preheated oven until cookies appear dry on the surface and are light golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes (very large cookies may take up to 12 or 13 minutes). Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.
Bring in the flowers and catkins and create some colourful arrangements. Have some fun with it!