Friday, 17 December 2021

raspberry and passion fruit trifle

This trifle is one of my Christmas favourites, as a kid in the 80's in the UK, trifle + The Wizard of Oz = Christmas. This one has had a few tweaks over the years; there's no sponge, for no explicable reason, I find damp sponge in tiramisu heaven, but in a trifle it's unbearable, same for the fruit, it's added at serving time, absolutely no fruit suspended in this jelly. The custard has morphed into a light, billowy bavarois, my favourite layer. It can be made a day or 2 ahead, add the whipped cream, meringues and a tumble of berries just before you serve. This trifle feeds a crowd, 16 generous portions, you'll need a large serving bowl, mine is 25cm wide, by 20 cm deep.

It's fabulously adaptable, the flavours of the jelly and bavarois layers are easy to tinker, substitute the raspberries in the jelly for any seasonal berry, peaches are delicious; swap the passionfruit juice in the bavarois for orange juice, pureed strawberries, or extra milk with vanilla. Adding flavours to the meringue is simple too, toss in a handful of chopped chocolate or nuts, pistachios would be oh so Christmassy! When cherries are at their peak I'll make a black forest version, cherry jelly, chocolate bavarois, dark chocolate studded meringues, and a crumbled flake. Whatever the flavour, portion it carefully, trifle for Boxing Day breakfast is another cherished tradition.

The layers
(serves 16)

raspberry jelly, recipe below
passion fruit bavarois, recipe below
600ml whipped cream
3 additional punnets raspberries to serve

• follow the instructions for the jelly and bavarois layers, and the meringues below
• when you ready to serve, top the bavarois with roughly half the whipped cream, a handful of raspberries, and 6-8 meringues. Serve immediately with the additional meringues, berries and cream on the side

raspberry jelly

350g caster sugar
juice of a lemon (max 50ml)
500g raspberries
4 titanium strength gelatine leaves

• tip the sugar, lemon juice and 650ml water into a saucepan, stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil. Add the raspberries and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool in the pan, then pop it into the fridge for a couple of hours, even overnight, to develop the flavours.
• place a muslin lined sieve over a large bowl, carefully tip the raspberry liquid into the sieve, and leave to strain. Do not press the fruit, just leave it to gravity and you should have a nice clear syrup.
• soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, meanwhile pop about 1/3 of the raspberry liquid into a small pan and bring to a simmer, squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves, take the pan off the heat, add the gelatine and stir to dissolve. Combine the raspberry gelatine liquid with the rest of the raspberry syrup and pour into your serving dish, cover and place in the fridge for approximately 6 hours to set. 

passionfruit bavarois

190ml milk
6 jumbo egg yolks
225g caster sugar
150 ml passion fruit juice (approximately 12 passion fruit)
2 1/2 titanium gelatine leaves
375ml thick cream, whipped to soft peaks

• pop the milk in a medium pan and bring to a simmer, meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, add the passion fruit juice, then slowly stream in the hot milk, whisking as you go. Return to the pan, over a low heat, stir continually until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, take off the heat
• soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out the excess water, then add to the custard and stir to dissolve. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl, and pop into the fridge for a hour, give it a quick whisk every 10 minutes to prevent it setting around the edges
• after an hour the custard will have almost set, take it out of the fridge, whisk to smooth it out, then using your whisk, fold in the whipped cream
• carefully pour the bavarois over your jelly layer, it should level itself, you can help it along with a palette knife or the back of a spoon if necessary
• cover and return to the fridge to set, approximately 4 hours


3 egg whites
165g caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar

• pre-heat oven to 100ºC, line a baking sheet with baking paper
 put the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer, lightly whisk together to break up the sugar
 place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl does not touch the water, whisk the egg whites until the sugar has dissolved, they have increased in volume and feel hot
 put the bowl on the stand mixer, add the cream of tartar and whisk until the egg whites are marshmallowy and are cool
 drop small spoonfuls of meringue onto the lined tray, bake for approximately an hour, until the meringues feel crisp and dry
 store in an airtight container, the meringues will keep for 2 weeks

Monday, 25 October 2021

eggnog cream, my festive mvp

Eggnog cream, or more specifically eggnog creme diplomat, is a super Christmassy side kick for all your festive favourites. Top a pavlova with a billowy mound, fill choux buns, doughnuts, sandwich between sponges, open a box of mice pies and add a spoonful. I tested the recipe with little 3 layer ginger sponge, it's giving me all the yuletide feels. Yes it's an accompaniment, not even a side dish, but it elevates the Christmassiness of whatever it graces, and it's my sweet festive MVP.  

A creme diplomat is simply pastry cream lightened with softly whipped cream, adding a few splashes of brandy, and a grating of nutmeg gives you eggnog cream, and it's glorious. The pastry cream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, when you're ready, give it a quick beat, add the whipped cream, grate nutmeg over top, and Bob's your tipsy Christmas uncle!

eggnog creme diplomat

170ml milk
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
15g cornflour
1 tsp Queen vanilla paste
15g butter
30 ml brandy
30 ml bourbon
grated fresh nutmeg
150ml thickened cream

• in a small pan, over medium heat, bring the milk to just below boiling point, you'll see little lines form on the surface
• meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla; set the bowl on a damp cloth to stop it dancing around, gradually add the hot milk, whisking enthusiastically
• tip the custard back into the pan, and with the heat on low, whisk continuously.  The custard will thicken quickly, once it starts to bubble, whisk for a further minute then take off the heat.  Add the butter, whisking until smooth, then add the brandy, bourbon, and finally vanilla, again whisking to combine
• push the custard through a sieve into a small bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard, place in the fridge to cool
• while the custard is cooling, whip the cream to soft peaks
• remove the cold custard from the fridge and give it a good whisk to smooth it out, use the whisk to fold through the whipped cream until just combined, grate the fresh nutmeg over the top and stir through
• use immediately, or store covered in the fridge until required. Will keep for up to 3 days. 

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

coconut tart with Bonne Maman Mango-Peach Conserve

I'm a jam on toast girl, but I'm also here for jam sandwiched sponges, scones with jam and cream, and definitely jam baked in a pie. Bonne Maman mango and peach conserve is lovely in this tart, the perfect sweet yet slightly sour foil for the moist coconut frangipane and crisp, buttery pastry. It has me thinking about stone fruit, one of my favourite things about summer in Sydney. 

The tart is delicious warm from the oven with ice cream or custard, but on a balmy summer evening I'll serve it with coconut cream, whipped chilled from the fridge, fresh mango and peaches, and the tart hit of raspberries. 

I think I need to stop for a while with the bakewell inspired recipes, very happy to finish with this beauty.

coconut tart 

150g caster sugar
60g desiccated coconut
70g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
pinch salt
150g butter, soft at room temperature
3 large eggs, 150g shelled
1/2 tsp coconut extract
125g Bonne Maman Mango-Peach Conserve
tart shell, recipe below

• preheat oven to 170ºC, 150ºC fan
• add the caster sugar, desiccated coconut, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, eggs and coconut extract and blitz until smooth, 20-30 seconds
• spread the jam over the base of the tart shell, pour the batter over the jam and level with the back of a spoon
• bake for 45 minutes until puffed and golden, and the centre of the tart feels firm when pressed gently, remove from the oven and leave on a rack to cool
• serve warm or at room temperature with whipped coconut cream, whipped cream, ice cream or enjoy as is
• store in an airtight container for up to 4 days

tart shell

190g plain flour
100g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
40g icing sugar
1 large egg yolk, reserve the white to use as a wash
1-2 tbsp cold water

• have your tart pan handy, I use a 20cm by 4.5cm loose bottom tin
• tip the four and butter into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, pulse until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs, add the icing sugar and give it a quick pulse to combine
• use a fork to whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of iced water, add to the food processor, pulse in long bursts until the mixture starts to clump, you may need to add the second tablespoon of water, perhaps more if your flour is particularly absorbent
• tip the clumpy mix onto your bench and use your hands to bring it together into a ball, flatten the ball into a disc, about 1cm thick, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
• remove the pastry from the fridge, let it sit on the bench for 10 minutes, then roll on a lightly floured bench to 3-4mm thick, turning as you go. Carefully place the pastry over the tin, ease into base and up the sides, be sure to gently press the into the join where the base meets the sides. Roll a rolling pin over the tart tin to trim the excess pastry, a slight bulge may appear in the pastry at the edge of the tin, gently press to flatten, then return the tart shell to the fridge for half an hour. Keep the pastry off cuts, just in case, for repairs
• towards the end of the chilling time, preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) and place a baking tray in the centre of the oven
• take a sheet of baking paper slightly larger than the tin, screw it into a ball and open it a few times to soften it, line the pastry case with the paper, and fill with pastry weights right up to the rim (I use a mix of dried lentils and beans). Place the tin in the oven on the hot tray and bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and weights, use the reserved pasty to mend any holes or cracks that have appeared, gently prick the base all over with the tines of a fork, and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the base no longer looks wet. Whisk the reserved egg white and a teaspoon of water with a fork, use a pastry brush to paint the inside of the tart shell with the egg white wash. Return the tart shell to the oven for a final 10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack, when completely cold it is ready to fill

Sunday, 17 October 2021

mango and passionfruit tiramisu

Tiramisu has so many things I love, the cloud of light, creamy mascarpone, alcohol soaked sponges, and that rich chocolate cocoa powder hit, but I find the coffee just too bitter. This fruit version is coffee and cocoa free, so sweeter than the original, and a fabulous make ahead dessert for a summer soirée. I had a big bag of "scruffy mangoes" so went a bit nuts with the mango roses, pretty, but completely unnecessary, just cut the extra mango into slices and have an extra half an hour to yourself. Square and rectangular dishes are traditional for tiramisu, and work really well with the savoiardi biscuits, but once they've been dunked the sponge fingers break really easily so any shaped dish will do, I'm always looking to use this beautiful glass dish, love seeing the layers. This is the latest in my series of recipes developed for Harris Farm Markets. Feels like summer already!

mango and passion fruit tiramisu
serves 8

3 mangoes, plus 1 for decoration
10g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
50 ml triple sec
250g mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla paste
150ml thickened cream
100ml passion fruit juice, plus 2 passionfruit for decoration
100ml triple sec
200g savoiardi biscuits

• peel and slice the flesh of 3 mangoes, keep the fourth for decorating the finished tiramisu, place in a bowl, sprinkle the 10g caster sugar over the sliced mango, add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Set aside
• find a heatproof bowl that fits snuggly over a saucepan, add an inch or so of water to the pan and bring to a simmer. Put the egg, yolks, sugar and alcohol in the heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Turn the heat down so the water in the pan is just barely bubbling, then place the bowl over the pan and whisk, whisk, whisk! Keep whisking until the egg/sugar combo is thick and creamy and the sugar has dissolved, the mixture will feel hot and smooth to the touch. Set aside to cool.
• in a clean bowl, whip the mascarpone and vanilla until smooth, add the cream and continue whipping to soft peaks, then using a whisk, gently fold through the cooled egg/sugar mixture. 
• combine the passion fruit juice and triple sec in a flat bottomed dish large enough to fit a savoiardi biscuit, dip the biscuits, one at a time, in the liquid and form a layer of on the base of your serving dish. Spread half the sliced mango over the biscuits, and top with half of the mascarpone mixture.  Repeat with the remaining biscuits, mango, and mascarpone. Cover the dish with cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, the layers need to get to know each other, over night is even better.
• when you are ready to serve, slice the remaining mango, use it and the additional passion fruit to decorate the tiramisu, and serve immediately.
• cover leftovers and store in the fridge for up to 3 days

Friday, 15 October 2021

cocoa, espresso and hazelnut whirls

These could be my favourite biscuits, big claim I know! Melt in the mouth buttery shortbread, with the fabulous flavour combination of hazelnut, coffee and cocoa. Winner winner...

On the subject of winning, there's a giveaway on my instagram account, click here to find out how to win a beautiful KARMME mini clutch. Perfect for nights out, party season is fast approaching! In the meantime, bake these, they're wonderful.

cocoa, espresso and hazelnut whirls
(makes 12 sandwich cookies)

100g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
25g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
95g plain flour
4g cocoa powder, approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons
1g espresso powder, a good pinch
15g cornflour
25g roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

• preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)
• in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the vanilla and mix until combined
• sift together the remaining ingredients, then sift again over the butter and sugar, then beat on the slowest speed until smooth and streak free
• use a piping bag fitted with a star tip to pipe 24 swirls onto a lined baking tray, sprinkle half of the cookies with the chopped hazelnuts
• bake for 14 minutes, then cool on a rack 
• when completely cool, use a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip to pipe a small mound of ganache on the flat side of the nutty cookies, gently sandwich together with the remaining cookies 
• store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days, if it's particularly warm, pop the container in the fridge, the cookies will soften more quickly if refrigerated

white chocolate and hazelnut ganache

90g white chocolate
40g thickened cream
40g hazelnut butter
5g nutella

• put the white chocolate and cream in a microwave proof bowl, microwave on 60% power for 30 seconds, stir, return to the microwave for 10 second blasts if necessary, until the chocolate has melted
• add the hazelnut butter and nutella, stir until smooth, chill in the fridge until firm enough to pipe

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

cherry and almond loaf

Since I revisited the bakewell tart last month, I've been preoccupied with all things frangipane. This recipe is in essence, a bakewell in loaf form. It's studded with fat black cherries, from a can, don't judge they're perfect, and draped in sour cream and almond icing. It's giving me Christmas vibes. This style of icing is always going to be sweet, if it's not your thing, leave it off, but sprinkle the batter with the raw sliced almonds before you pop it in to bake, and once it's cooled, a dusting of icing sugar if you feel so inclined. This cake is super moist, it will travel well for a picnic, but is perfect at home with a cup of tea or coffee.

My loaf pan is long and narrow, 25cm x 7.5cm x 7.5cm, but any small to medium sized loaf pan will work, although you may need to adjust the cooking time. If your tin is larger, start to check if it's ready after 50 minutes, insert a skewer (or piece of uncooked spaghetti) into the centre of the cake, it will come out clean if the cake is baked. If the skewer is coated in wet cake mix, give it another 10 minutes and check again. If there are just a few damp crumbs sticking to your skewer, check in 5 minute increments until it's cooked. A smaller tin will take longer to cook your cake, but don't go too small, it shouldn't be more than 3/4 full with batter. I whipped this up in minutes in my magimix food processor, I've been using it so much recently it's living on the bench, I'm campaigning for a butler's pantry...

cherry and almond loaf

180g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
70g plain flour, plus an extra tablespoon to dust the cherries
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
180g butter, soft at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing
3 jumbo eggs, 165g shelled
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 x 425g can stoneless black cherries
25g sliced almonds
almond and sour cream icing, recipe below

• preheat oven to 170ºC, 150ºC fan
• drain the cherries in a sieve, then pat dry with kitchen paper, set aside
• tip the sliced almonds onto a lined baking tray, place in the oven for 10 minutes until fragrant and golden
• grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper, set aside
• add the caster sugar, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, eggs and almond extract and blitz until smooth, 20-30 seconds
• toss the cherries in the extra flour to lightly coat
• remove the blade from the processor, and use a spatula to fold half of the cherries through the batter
• pour into the loaf pan, and gently press the remaining cherries into the batter
• bake for 60-65 minutes until puffed and golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, remove from the oven and leave on a rack to cool
• when completely cool, drizzle the icing over the loaf, and sprinkle with the flaked almonds 
• store in an airtight container for up to 3 days

sour cream and almond icing

100g icing mixture
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp warm water
couple of drops of almond extract

• mix the sour cream, warm water and almond extract together until smooth
• sift the icing mixture into a small bowl, make a well in the centre and add 3/4 the sour cream and almond mixture, stir, gently at first, until combined and lump free. The icing will be quite thick, so it can hug your cake, add the extra liquid if required then use right away, before it starts to set.

Friday, 10 September 2021

passion fruit and coconut delicious pudding

If you're familiar with the classic lemon delicious pudding, you know where I'm going with this, a raft of fluffy sponge floating in a tangy sauce that's a kind of custard/curd hybrid.  The winter flush of passion fruit are still fabulous, even as we head into an unseasonably balmy weekend, and this pudding is literally sunshine in a bowl.

A neat trick for juicing your passion fruit, scoop the flesh into a food processor, give it a quick blitz, then push it through a sieve. The pudding is baked in a water bath so it's super tender, leftovers are still good reheated, the sponge will absorb the sauce, becoming more mousse like over time. If coconut is not your jam, just sub it for extra milk.

passion fruit delicious pudding
serves 8

80g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
320g caster sugar
100ml passion fruit juice, from approximately 6-8 passion fruit
35ml freshly squeezed lime juice
4 jumbo eggs, separated (150g whites, 70g yolks)
70g self-raising flour
270ml can light coconut milk
230ml milk
icing sugar, for dusting
cream and/or ice cream to serve

• preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)
• fill a kettle with water, set aside
• grease a 1.5 litre baking dish, place it inside a larger baking dish or roasting tray, set aside
• in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, a hand held mixer will work well too, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined and the colour has lightened
• add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each, scraping the bowl with a spatula as you go
• add the flour, mix until just combined, then with the mixer on low, slowly add the milk and coconut milk, finally stir through the passion fruit juice and lime, put the kettle on to boil
• in a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, tip them onto the batter and gently fold through using a whisk or large metal spoon
• pour the batter into the baking dish, add the boiling water to the roasting pan, you want it to come half way up the side of your baking dish, carefully transfer to the oven, bake for 40-45 minutes until puffed and golden
• leave to cool for 5 minutes, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with your choice of pouring cream, whipped cream (yes please!) or ice cream
• leftovers are good for 3 days, store covered in the fridge, and reheat to serve

This recipe is one of a series I'm developing with Harris Farm Markets a fabulous family owned and run fruit, vegetable and grocery business here in Australia, their stores are a treasure trove of beautiful produce!