Saturday, August 7, 2010

Peach Blossoms and Hosting an Italian Student

Recently our family was honoured to host an Italian student from Mantova visiting our town for 10 days. She was one of 15 students on the tour. My daughter's school exchanges with schools in Mantova. Last year our students were hosted in Mantova and were made to feel very welcome by the families who opened their homes and hearts to our Aussie kids.
So came our turn. We were excited and anxious. Waiting as the days passed slowly. Planning and thinking of what would be the best way to show an Italian student our Australian tropical wonders and delights in such a short period of time. I thought about the food! What would I cook that would show our cusine, our tastes, our different cultures that have merge into one?
The most simple but good often please!
Peach blossoms, peaches, jelly cakes - whatever you like to call them these little cakes were my host daughter's favourite.They are really easily made from simple ingredients and can be stored in the freezer.
You will require gem irons to make the traditional shape but if not the cake can be baked in a  cake pan then cut into squares.

For the cake batter you will need:-

125g butter
140g castor sugar
2 eggs
250g self raising flour
(or the 250g all purpose flour with the appropriate amount of baking powder added)
120ml milk

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Beat butter and sugar to a cream. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time then beat well. Sift flour and add alternately with the milk. Mix lightly into a soft dough.
If using gem irons, spray well with oil and spoon scant teaspoonfuls of the batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes
If using a cake pan, grease and line with baking paper a 23cm square cake pan. Fill with the batter smooth and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Your cakes should be lightly browned and risen. 

It's only at times like this when I stand back and take a good look at what I cook that I realise that probably 80% of my cooking is Italian based with the remaining being Asian or Indian while experimenting with other cusines. While my baking is 70% Australian/American consisting of cakes, muffins, biscuits and scones with a smattering of Italian canoli and bignoli and lots of experimenting!

To assemble your blossoms you will need:- 

1 85g packet raspberry jelly (or Jell-o)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
Whipped cream or prepared mock cream

Dissolve jelly crystals in the boiling water then add cold water. Allow to stand in the refrigerator until beginning to set or until the consistency of egg white. 

Sandwich two halves together with cream.
If your not using gem irons you will need to cut your cake into small squares about 2.5cm square. Hopefully you cake is about 5cm high. Cut each square through the middle then sandwich back together with cream. 

Dip your joined cakes into the partly set jelly then roll in coconut. Refrigerate or freeze to keep for longer.

What a pleasure it was to host our Italian student! We have learnt so much about a country and a people we thought we already knew and we have suprisingly learnt about us - our family. We are Australians with a strong Italian heritage but we are more. We have unknownly absorbed from the various cultures that make up our great, wide land. We are, our children are, what will be the future face of Australia - a people of many nations blended into one. Australia is still evolving- we are young and we have much to learn but my, what a future we have!

Our Italian student also watched, learnt and experienced much of what Australia has to offer. She has left Australia but not our hearts, returning to Italy with a new understanding of another culture - a very diverse culture. 
So, we thought we were going to share and teach about our world! How little did we know! That's why it's called an exchange - an exchange of ideas, thoughts and values. A glimpse into one an other's world.
What a gift!


  1. They look gorgeous! I'm sure she absolutely loved them and remembers her time with you and your family very fondly! :D

  2. These are just charming and so beautiful. How wonderful that you hosted that young girl from Padova. I'm sure you showed her all the best you and Australia can offer.

  3. how cute! fluffy yummy-ness! I am from the USA..what is a gem iron?..

  4. Ohhhh, I picked up a little gem iron on ebay and have been itching to use it. Must bookmark this recipe. They look absolutely delicious. I think the perfect sweet treat to introduce to international visitors!

  5. Thanks so much everyone for your kind comments!
    A gem iron is a cast iron baking tin divided into 12 rounded sections as in the second photo. These are available in good kitchenware shops in Australia or often in second hand shops. Also available online, I have noticed. Failing that, mini muffin tins could be used. Good luck and happy baking!

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  7. What a lovely post Marcelina, we Aussies indeed have a wonderful future to look forward to. I was quite interested to read that when you are not cooking Italian food, you do Asian/Indian. I smiled, because when I am not cooking Asian or Indian, I cook Italian! (which means at least once or twice a week):)

    These peach blossoms look beautiful and sound delicious. I want some gem irons now.

  8. This is my delicous Aussy encounter after the Lamingtons. I think they are both lovely :-)

    Sawadee from bangkok,

  9. these peach blossoms are new to me so thanks for the sharing !! and my son just come back from Adelaide !
    Pierre de Paris
    if you like creative french cuisine come and visit me you are very welcome !

  10. those look amazing!!! my girls would love them! thanks for sharing this great little cake with us!

  11. Marcellina - how great it must have been for your Italian exchange student to have stayed with you and eaten your food! I wish I had a chance to experience being an exchange student when I was younger... it is really a great way to open your eyes to other cultures.

  12. They sell cakes like these here, I think Drakes or Hostess, and are called jelly fingers or something like that. However, they're not peach, they're not filled with as much cream as yours, and there's no way they could taste as good as your beauties. I must try these!

    Also - what fun to host and exchange student from Italy!

  13. This is so pretty and delicious!! I love the color and the shape!

  14. My grandma would make these for us all the time, but she passed away before she could pass her know-ow on to me. I'm going to make these right now and see if I can get it right. Thnks a bunch :-)

  15. I grew up with these & every time I go back to my small home town in North Queensland, these are the first things I buy! I really need to get some gem irons so I can make them for my friends in Sydney. Thanks ��


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