Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts

Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts

These quick and easy sweet Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) are crumbly and sweet with a fantastic fresh herby flavour. They are topped with crunchy roasted pinenuts. I like to eat them just as they are as a snack. However, they are also a good accompaniment for ice cream.

This recipe is very loosely inspired by the Italian pinolate biscuits, which are often lemon flavoured and contain ground pinenuts in addition to a topping of whole ones.    When I was putting together a recipe for thyme-flavoured biscuits, I thought that a topping of pinenuts would make them look attractive and go well with the herby flavour.  The pinenuts become golden and toasted while the biscuits are cooking in the oven and this makes them crunchy and also enhances their flavour.

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Other sweet thyme recipes

Although thyme is mostly used in savoury dishes, it is also a good flavouring with sweeter ones. In addition to these biscuits, I also make a Thyme and Honey Ice Cream and a simple Thyme Loaf Cake.

In praise of thyme

Thyme is one of my favourite herbs. It is extremely versatile and I use it in both sweet and savoury dishes. The fresh  thyme that you buy in the supermarket will generally be common thyme which does make a good flavouring for these biscuits.  However, I used lemon thyme when making these biscuits, as I grow it in my garden and particularly like its lemony-herby flavour.    If you have space for a few pots and want to grow your own thyme, there are many different types, a number of which have distinctive citrus notes such as lemon, orange or lime.   Herbal Haven has a very large variety of thyme and other herbs which can be bought online.

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Other easy biscuit and cookie recipes

Biscuits and cookie recipes are a great place to start if you are new to home-baking.  They are quick and easy to make and taste so much better than shop-bought varieties.   You can have home-baked treats on the table in under an hour.

Shortbread is one of the easiest baking recipes. I have a number of shortbread recipes including Almond Shortbread with Rosewater, Shortbread with White Chocolate and Raspberries and Lavender Shortbread. I also have a very simple recipe for crisp and buttery Lemon Biscuits (Cookies). My recipe for Ginger Biscuits (Cookies) is oaty and mildly spiced. If you are looking for something savoury, I have an extremely moreish recipe for Cheese Biscuits (Cookies).

Recipe for Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts

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Thyme biscuits with pinenuts

Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These biscuits (cookies) are flavoured with fresh thyme and topped with crunchy, toasted pinenuts.  They are great eaten on their own or as an accompaniment to ice-cream.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 150 g  (6 oz) plain flour
  • 100 g (4 oz) butter (softened)
  • 50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or half a tablespoon of dried thyme
  • 50 g (2 oz) pinenuts

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas Mark 3
  2. Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Alternatively, process in a food processor. 
  3. Add the sugar and the chopped fresh thyme.
  4. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands until it forms a soft dough.
  5. Roll the dough out to approximately 1 cm thickness.
  6. Cut into circles or other shapes if you wish.
  7. Place the circles on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
  8. Press pinenuts into the top of each circle of dough.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Keywords: biscuits, thyme, pinenuts

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Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone

Thyme icecream
Thyme Ice-cream

Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone

My Thyme Ice-cream, flavoured with honey and mascarpone, is rich and sweet.  Although many of the ingredients that I use are local to where I now live in south-west England – fresh thyme from my garden, honey from the man down the road who keeps bees – the flavours take me back to many happy summers in Italy.

I think my Thyme Ice-cream makes an excellent dessert after a summer meal – cooling and  creamy  but with a herby twist!  The taste of thyme is quite subtle in this recipe and is balanced by the other flavours, so this a good introduction to herb ice-cream for those who may be a little unsure about it.   If I am serving this at a dinner party,  I will usually serve it paired with another ice-cream with a less unusual flavour and let people choose which one they want!

I love herb-flavoured ice-creams.  I think the cream or custard base provides the perfect vehicle for many herbs and allows their flavours to sing out.  Herbs are the stars of the show and not just a supporting act!    Many herbs, which may be considered mainly of use in savoury dishes, make excellent ice-cream.   In addition to thyme, I think basil, bay, sorrel all make excellent ice-creams.  There are also, of course, other herbs such as lavender and lemon verbena, which are used in many sweet dishes and make fantastic flavourings for ice-cream.

 

Thyme icecream
Thyme Ice-cream

Equipment

Whisk and bowl.  This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 12 of Method)

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Thyme icecream

Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Try a sweet twist on thyme with this creamy Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 200 ml double cream
  • A large bunch of fresh thyme
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 ml honey
  • 250 g mascarpone

Instructions

  1. Wash your thyme and crush it gently using the back of a spoon to release its flavour.  There is no need to remove the leaves from the woody stalks.
  2. Put the thyme into a saucepan with the cream.  At this stage, if you have time (as well as thyme..) you can leave the mixture overnight to allow the flavour to infuse.
  3. Next, heat the cream and thyme mixture gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  4. Strain the cream through a sieve to remove the thyme.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  6. Pour the thyme-flavoured cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks.
  7. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  8. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  9. Add the honey to the custard.
  10. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  11. Add the mascarpone to the chilled custard.
  12. When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Notes

There are many varieties of thyme and any are fine in this ice-cream.  I used lemon thyme as I particularly love its flavour.

Keywords: thyme, ice-cream, honey, mascarpone

Thyme Ice-cream

Thyme Ice-cream

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Strawberry Roulade

Strawberry Roulade

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Strawberry Roulade

This Strawberry Roulade is an easy dessert recipe that consists of a light rolled sponge filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream. In this recipe, I have used my Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam for the filling which gives it a subtle flavour of rose. In essence, it is a posh strawberry Swiss Roll.

It is a good dessert for a party as it looks impressive on the table, can be made in advance and is easy to slice into  individual portions.   It is a bit retro but, in my view, is none the worse for that. If you are looking for another good roulade recipe, you might also like my Rhubarb Roulade.

What you need to know about this Strawberry Roulade recipe
  • You need a Swiss Roll tin – a shallow, flat tin (approximately 38 cm x 26 cm or 10 x 15 inches) to make this recipe. It also makes it much easier if you have a food-processor with a whisk attachment or an electric whisk as hand-whisking the mixture can take a while.
  • This is a very quick recipe. The sponge is thin so it cooks in 15 minutes which is much more quickly than a cake.
  • It is vital that you roll up the roulade (step 8) while it is still warm. If you leave it to cool before doing this, it will be very hard to roll.
  • It is good for a party as, in addition to looking good on the table, it is easy to slice into  individual portions.   
  • I use my Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam to add a hint of rose flavour. If you want to add a note of rose to your roulade, you can add a few drops of rosewater to a good home-made or shop-bought strawberry jam.
  • In this recipe, I used whipped cream and strawberry jam to fill the roulade. However, you could use another type of jam – raspberry or black cherry are good options – or honey as a substitute. You could also use fresh fruit, or a mixture of jam and fruit if you prefer. Any fresh berry, such as raspberries or blueberries, are good. You could also use a fruit compote, a simple mixture of fresh fruit and sugar which has been cooked very quickly, as a substitute. I have a recipe for Rhubarb Roulade which uses rhubarb compote.
Other easy dessert recipes

If you are looking for an easy, make-ahead dessert, you might also like some of my other recipes.

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Strawberry Roulade
Other strawberry recipes

In addition to my Strawberry Pavlova and Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam, you might also like my Rose and Strawberry Cream Cake or my Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream.

Strawberry Roulade recipe

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Strawberry Roulade

Strawberry Roulade

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This easy Strawberry Roulade is filled with fresh strawberries and cream and enhanced with a hint of rose.  


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 85 g (3 oz) caster sugar plus 1 tablespoon
  • 85 g (3 oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Around 5 tablespoons of strawberry jam (such as my home-made Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam)
  • 200 ml (700 fluid oz) double cream, whipped to form soft peaks
  • A little icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line your Swiss roll tin with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
  3. Combine the eggs and sugar and whisk until thick and foamy.  This can take up to 5 minutes.  This is one recipe where you really need a food processor with a whisk attachment or an electric whisk rather than attempting to do it with a hand whisk.
  4. Fold the flour and baking powder into the foamy egg and sugar mixture.
  5. Pour the combined mixture into your Swiss roll tin.
  6.  Put the tin in the oven and bake the sponge for 15 minutes until firm and golden.
  7. Turn the cooked sponge onto another  sheet of baking parchment or grease-proof paper on which you have sprinkled around a tablespoon of caster sugar.
  8. While the sponge is still warm, roll it up so it looks like a Swiss roll with the paper inside.   You need to roll it up while it is warm – you can’t do this when it has cooled off as the cake will crack!   Allow to cool completely.
  9. You need to construct your roulade a couple of hours before you are ready to eat it – otherwise, the cream and jam will make it soggy.  You need to unroll the sponge and remove the paper.   Spread your jam over the sponge and top it with the whipped double cream.    Don’t spread filling too thick and don’t take it quite up to the edge of the sponge (leave a gap of a couple of centimetres).  This will avoid too much squidging out when you roll the cake up again!
  10. Roll the filled cake up into a Swiss roll shape again.
  11. Dust with sieved icing sugar.

Keywords: strawberry roulade, rose

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Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart

Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

This Shallot Tart is very quick and easy to make.   The flavours are a good balance with sweet, caramelised shallots, salty anchovies, pungent thyme and creamy mascarpone on a base of crispy, buttery puff pastry.     If you are a vegetarian, you could replace the anchovies with olives or capers which both have a strong, salty taste.

I love shallots, partly because they generally have a milder, sweeter flavour than most onions.   It is easy to remove the skins using boiling water, as described below, and I like that they can be eaten whole (or halved) rather than needing to be chopped or sliced like regular onions.

When I have been working all day and need to make a quick supper to feed my family, I often make a tart based on ready-made puff pastry.   If you use a brand that uses butter (check the label!) it will taste delicious and, although I usually make shortcrust pastry from scratch as it is very straightforward, in my view, ready-made is the way to go for puff pastry!

Generally, the toppings on these puff pastry tarts are determined by what I have to hand in my kitchen but they usually include something cheesy or creamy and also something oniony plus a few stronger flavours to pep things up!    My recipe for Asparagus and Herb Cheese Tart, another variation on the theme,  is also included in this blog.

Equipment

Oven tray

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart

Pastry and mascarpone – ready for tart

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Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart

Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy makes an easy and very tasty lunch or supper.  The combination of crisp buttery pastry, sweet shallots, fragrant thyme and salty anchovy is superb!


Scale

Ingredients

500 g pack of ready-made puff pastry (get one made with butter if you can)
A little plain flour
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tin of anchovies
400 g of shallots
150 g of mascarpone


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Lightly dust your oven tray with flour.
  3. Roll out the puff pasty into a large rectangle and place on your oven tray.
  4. Remove the skins from your shallots.  The easiest way of doing this is to put them in a small saucepan, cover with boiling water and leave for 3 minutes.  Then drain off the water and the skins will be easy to remove.
  5. Cut each peeled shallot in half.  Place shallots in a small frying pan with a little butter and cook very gently until golden and softened.  This should take around 10 minutes.
  6. Spread the mascarpone over the puff pastry.
  7. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and small pieces of anchovy.  Then add the cooked shallots.
  8. Place the tart in the oven and cook for 20 minutes until the pastry is crispy and golden.
  9. The tart can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.   I like it best hot.

Keywords: shallot tart, thyme, anchovy

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Shallots

 

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Pastry, thyme and anchovies – ready for tart

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy – ready for the oven

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Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

Elderflower Sorbet

Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet

Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

This Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet uses my home-made Muscat Syrup as a base.   I make the Muscat Syrup to accompany desserts, such as  Elderflower Pannacotta,  but often have some left over.

On the basis of “waste not, want not”, I thought I would try making the left over Muscat Syrup into a sorbet and the result was fantastic – a balance of tart and sweet with a lovely gooseberry flavour  enhanced by the fragrance of elderflowers.   Now I will sometimes make the syrup specifically to create the sorbet!

In order to make the Muscat Syrup into a sorbet, you need to dilute it with some water and add some lemon juice, otherwise it will be too sweet.   That is all you need to do to make the syrup into a sorbet – except freezing it, of course.

Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet
Gooseberries

Equipment

Ice-cream maker  – This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions below)

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Gooseberry Sorbet

Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This cooling Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet is sweet and refreshing on a hot summer’s day.


Scale

Ingredients

Ingredients:  For the Muscat Syrup

  • 250 g green gooseberries
  • 250 g  caster sugar
  • 4 tbs water
  • 4 elderflower blooms

Ingredients:  To make the Muscat Syrup into  Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

  • For 600 ml of Syrup, an additional 200 ml of water (that is, add one third quantity of water to syrup)
  • Juice of half a lemon

Instructions

Method – Muscat Syrup

  1. Put the gooseberries in a saucepan – there is no need to “top and tail” them.  Add the sugar and water and cook over a low heat until the gooseberries are soft.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and add the elderflower blooms.
  3. Allow the syrup to cool.  The flavour of the elderflower blooms will diffuse into the syrup.
  4. When cool, strain the syrup through a sieve into a jug or bowl.

Method – To make the Muscat Syrup into Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

  1. Dilute the syrup with water – one third water to two thirds syrup.
  2. Add juice of half a lemon.
  3. Transfer the sorbet mixture to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  4. When you are ready to make the sorbet, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Keywords: gooseberry and elderflower sorbet, gooseberry, elderflower, sorbet

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