Most of us who grew up in Singapore may be familiar with sanzha, also known as haw flakes.
While hawthorn-flavoured ice-cream has been a thing since 2019, hawthorn pastries are a little harder to come by.
Trained at the prestigious French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, local home baker Iris Tay integrates Chinese ingredients and herbs such as Hawthorn, Goji berries, red dates, and Chinese tea leaves in her bakes under a homegrown brand, In A Nutshell Bakery.
Basically an Eastern twist on the classic Raspberry Crumble Bar, the Hawthorn Crumble (S$14 for a half slab) consists of homemade tangy hawthorn jam sandwiched between a low-sugar crumble base and crumble bits.
If you're more of a tart person, the Hawthorn Crumble Tart (S$18 for a box of six) offers the same hawthorn jam and crunchy crumble bits sitting in a low-sugar sable tart base.
Rounding off the hawthorn pastries are the Hawthorn Cream Cheese Buns (S$2.90 per bun).
The buns feature cream cheese filling with unsweetened bits of freshly boiled hawthorn fruits in low-sugar Taiwanese sweet dough.
Signature Herbal Buns
Hawthorn aside, the unique bakery also sells a number of products with herbal flavours.
For instance, the Signature Herbal Buns (S$4.90 for four) are made of walnuts, longans, and Goji berries as well as brown sugar.
Red date pastries
Red dates are arguably the most popular ingredient at In A Nutshell Bakery.
They have five red date pastries, namely:
- Red Date Walnut Buns
- Mini Red Date Walnut Loaf
- Red Date Cookies
- Red Date Walnut Cake
- Red Date Tarts
For some of the pastries, the red date flesh is obtained from red dates that are painstakingly boiled, skinned, and mashed.
The Red Date Walnut Bun (S$8.90 for four) consists of naturally sweetened mashed red date flesh and walnuts encased in a low-sugar Taiwanese sweet dough bun.
A popular item is the Red Date Walnut Cake (S$31.90), which is made with red dates, walnuts, and brown sugar.
Each cake serves 10 to 12.
If you're not ready for that kind of commitment, opt for the Mini Red Date Walnut Loaf (S$8.50), a mini version of the Red Date Walnut Cake.
Apparently just one-third of the calories of Pineapple Tarts, the Red Date Tarts (S$12 for 230g bottle) are filled with naturally sweetened handmade red date filling.
Cookie monsters may enjoy the Red Date Cookies (S$8.50 for 200g) that feature freshly chopped red dates in low-sugar Sable cookies.
Another interesting item (not red date-flavoured) is the Orh Nee (yam) Tarts, which have less than one per cent of added sugar, according to the bakery.
These cost S$12 for a box of six.
S$1 for a muffin for migrant workers
In A Nutshell Bakery has also kickstarted an initiative with ItsRainingRaincoats, a local community organisation that supports migrant workers, to provide muffins for these workers.
Since August 2020, customers can donate an additional S$1 that would translate to one muffin for a foreign worker's breakfast or tea break.
There is no limit to the number of workers you'd like to provide muffins for.
Any additional funds at the end of the month will contribute to the workers' necessities in the form of fans, electric kettles etc. depending on what they need at that point in time.
Top images by In A Nutshell Bakery.