Terebinth Berries – The New Coffee?
So a trip to our local Kurdish shop has yielded several delights, the first being goat meat, the second being chicken and the third is an ingredient completely new to me – Terebinth berries. This tiny cross between a coffee bean and a peppercorn that smells like pistachio coffee when you roast it is something quite special.
Having seen it – we had to try it. Frantic searching on the internet to discover what to do with them yielded only one recipe and a hand full of discussions. It was clear it was a localised thing in Turkey, Kurdistan etc and there are I’m sure a plethora of people without internet access and possibly the ability to write who could share a number of recipes for these delicious little berries.
I’ll be honest and say I’m still not 100% sure what I think they taste like because it depends on whether they are roasted or not. If one roasts them you get a coffee/pistachio aroma and in their ‘straight out of the packet’ state they smell quite berry like.
So the challenge was to create a cake which included the terebinth berries, this was a challenge I was happy to accept but I had reservations, my creativity had taken a backseat for a few weeks meaning inspiration was having to work twice as hard to create something. Taking inspiration from the coffee I knew that making an espresso shot of infused liquor was where I needed to start, I reduced it down again with some honey having infused boiling water until it had gone cold. It smelt of roasted pistachios – the one hiccup was not skinning them properly – I think it would have made a much cleaner flavour.
I already decided I wanted to make a vanilla sponge, even before the terebinth berries were bought and I am glad I stuck to it, the vanilla sponge had just the right amount of vanilla as to not be overpowering, I am very pleased with how it turned out, I hope it inspires you to try terebinth berries, the coffee sounds amazing and its caffeine free so why not give it a try?
- Vanilla Cake
- 312.5 g all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 354.88 g granulated sugar
- 170.25 g neutral flavoured oil – I use rapeseed
- 339 g non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk, not from a can)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- Terebinth Buttercream
- 400g Icing Sugar
- 200g Plant Based Butter Or Non Waterbased Margarine
- 1tbsp terebinth berry syrup (see note)
- Preheat the oven to 170c and grease two 8 inch cake pans. I also like to place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan for easy removal.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk well to combine.
- To the bowl with the dry ingredients, pour in the oil, non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and coconut extract. Mix with a large spoon until just combined, but be careful not to over mix the batter or your cake won’t be soft and fluffy.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove them and place on a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
- For the buttercream: whisk your butter until soft before adding 1/3 of the icing sugar and the berry syrup. Mix in bursts until all the icing has been used, you can do this by hand or in a stand mixer!
- Ice the bottom layer first and place on your presentation plate.
- Add the top layer and a dollop of buttercream on top and smooth it over with a palette knife.
- Next add more buttercream to the top and keep working it until the sides are covered.
- Place in the fridge until required.
I made my berry syrup using 2 tbsp roasted berries (medium heat frying pan with the lid on, let them cool before grinding them as much as you can) with 2 to 3 tbsp boiling water and leave to sit for an hour or so. Strain and transfer to a saucepan on the hob with a touch of honey or liquid sweetener and reduce again so the syrup is quite thick.
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