Japan inspired some delicious recipes. In Kyoto I bought a packet of cherry blossoms in salt at a market. Pointing at some pictures they explained to me that you need to soak them before use. I experimented with them in biscuits and crostata, which is a pie decorated with crossed stripes on top. The cherry blossoms add a slightly salty taste and possibly, in the realm of imagination, the perfumes of spring. For the crostata, I am also suggesting a superb Italian version with Fabbri amarena in syrup. Here they are.
You need: 30 g of cherry blossoms, 250 g of white self-raising flour, 100 g of golden caster sugar, two tbsp. of olive oil, one tbsp. of mascarpone, one egg and one egg white whipped stiff. Pink and white icing to decorate or flower cake decorations.
Beat the egg with the sugar, add the flour and the egg white whipped stiff. Soak the cherry blossoms in water, squeeze them and add them to the mixture as well as the olive oil and mascarpone. Knead the dough and let it rest for half an hour covered with a tea towel. Roll it out and cut the biscuits. I used a biscuit cutter with the shape of a flower. Bake the biscuits on a greased oven tray at 180° C for 15-20 minutes. Decorate the biscuits with pink or white icing, or stick edible sugar flowers in the centre with liquid glucose.
For the dough you need: 250 g of self-raising white flour, 50 g of sugar, 50 g of melted butter, two eggs (for the amarena version add two tbsp. of amarena syrup).
For the filling you need: 30 g of cherry blossoms, 50 g of dark chocolate bits, 250 g of ricotta, 200 g of mascarpone, one tbsp. of cornflour, one egg., one tbsp. of Demerara sugar (for the amarena version you need: 500 g of ricotta, 100 g of amarena in syrup, one egg, the cornflour and some icing sugar plus chocolate powder to dust).
Prepare the dough mixing all the ingredients, knead it and chill it for half an hour. Prepare the filling mixing all the ingredients using a blender until you have a smooth mixture. Roll out two thirds of the dough and line a greased pie oven tin. Pour the ricotta and mascarpone mixture in it and sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top. Roll out the rest of the dough and cut some stripes using a rolling cutter for cakes then decorate the top of the crostata. Bake for half an hour-forty-five minutes at 180° C. let it cool and decorate with sugared flowers or simply dust it with icing sugar.