This dairy-free, flourless number is the Jewish Passover dessert of choice.
75g(⅔ cup) cocoa powder, sifted 165ml(⅔ cup) boiling water 200gpecans, toasted 1 teaspoongluten-free baking powder 4eggs, at room temperature 220g(1 cup) raw caster sugar 200mllight olive oil, plus extra to grease 1½ teaspoonsnatural vanilla essence or extract
Dairy-free ganache 185gdairy-free dark chocolate, chopped 60gdairy-free spread
Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a 22cm springform tin with extra oil and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Place the cocoa in a medium bowl and gradually stir in the boiling water until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Process the pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir through the baking powder until evenly combined.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla on high speed for about 5 minutes or until thick and pale. Add the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the pecan mixture and stir until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until wet crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Cool the cake in the tin sitting on a wire rack.
To make the dairy-free ganache, combine the chocolate and dairy-free spread in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barley simmering water (make sure the waster doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl). Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl form the saucepan and set aside for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ganache thickens to a thick spreadable consistency.
Remove the cake from the tin and place on serving plate. Spoon the ganache over the cake and use the back of a spoon to spread. Set the cake aside for 30 minutes or until the ganache sets. Serve in wedges.
This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Preheat the oven to 140ºC (120°C fan-forced). Lightly grease a shallow 20 x 30cm (base measurement) slice tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
Put the honey and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until well combined and heated through. Set aside.
Put the rolled oats, millet, coconut, cinnamon, cranberries, currants and almonds in a large bowl and mix to combine evenly. Add the honey mixture and stir to combine well. Using damp hands, press the mixture firmly into the lined tin. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon to make the surface smooth and even.
Bake for 45–55 minutes or until the surface is dark golden brown all over. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into 24 bars with a sharp knife.
For a nut-free version, substitute the almonds with ⅓ cup sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
These muesli bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Alternatively they also freeze well for up to 3 months – wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw at room temperature.
For extra-crisp muesli bars, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Quinoa porridge is currently the darling of the café menu. This one is a no-fuss baked version teamed with tangy rhubarb and a vanilla and honey-spiked labna, so you can enjoy this beauty without even leaving home.
300g (1½ cups) white quinoa
500ml (2 cups) boiling water
55g (¼ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Toasted pistachio kernels, chopped, to serve
1½ vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
390g (1½ cup) greek-style natural yoghurt
¼ cup honey
550g trimmed rhubarb (about 2 bunches), cut into 6cm lengths
110g (½ cup) raw sugar
375ml (1½ cups) milk
To make the Vanilla labna, place the vanilla seeds (reserve the bean for the rhubarb), yoghurt and honey in a bowl and stir to combine evenly. Line a sieve with two layers of muslin cloth or a linen tea towel and place over a bowl. Spoon the yoghurt into the sieve, fold any overhanging cloth over to enclose the yoghurt. Refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours) to drain.
Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan-forced). To make the Oven-baked quinoa, combine the boiling water, brown sugar and cinnamon in a 1.5 litre capacity (6 cup) ovenproof dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, to make the Roasted rhubarb, rinse the rhubarb and shake off any excess water. Place in a bowl with the sugar and reserved vanilla bean and toss to combine. Transfer to an ovenproof dish just large enough to hold the rhubarb in a single layer and cover with foil.
After the quinoa has been baking for 30 minutes, stir in the milk, cover and return to the oven with the rhubarb. Bake for another 20 minutes, stirring the quinoa 2-3 more times during baking.
Remove the foil from the rhubarb and bake both for a further 5 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and porridge-like and the rhubarb is still holding its shape but tender when tested with a skewer.
Immediately spoon the quinoa porridge into bowls, top with the rhubarb and pan juices, and a spoonful of labna. Sprinkle with pistachios and serve immediately.
The rhubarb can be roasted up to 2 days before serving and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about 1 hour before serving to bring to room temperature
The vanilla and honey labna can be made up to 3 days before serving. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
The secret to a silky smooth baked custard is the balance of eggs to milk and cream and gentle baking. This velvety one is teamed with macerated prunes for a memorable dessert.
500ml (2 cups) milk
500ml (2 cups) pouring cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
5 eggs, at room temperature
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
250ml (1 cup) port
400g prunes, pitted and halved
To make the macerated prunes, heat the port in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot but not simmering. Pour over the prunes in a heatproof bowl, cover and set aside to macerate for 1 day.
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Brush a shallow 2 litre (8 cup) ovenproof dish with the melted butter to lightly grease and place in a large roasting pan or ovenproof dish.
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until almost simmering. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Strain the custard into a large jug and then pour into the greased dish. Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to reach half way up the sides of the dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (see Baker’s tips) or until set on top but the custard still wobbles slightly when the dish is shaken gently. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Place the custard in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until cooled completely.
Serve the custard in spoonfuls accompanied by the macerated prunes with some of the port.
The baking time will depend on the depth of your dish – the deeper the dish the longer the baking time will be. Always check your custard after 40 minutes though and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes if it’s not ready.
This custard will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Rice pudding is the ultimate in comfort food. Coconut milk gives this version a contemporary twist and when topped with vanilla-baked rhubarb, it is a winter pudding you will want to make time and time again.
melted butter, to grease 110g (½ cup) Arborio rice 375ml (1½ cup) milk 270ml can coconut milk 2 tablespoons caster sugar 10g (2 teaspoons) butter toasted flaked coconut or roasted coconut chips (see Baker’s Tips), to serve (optional)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways 75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar 1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed, washed and cut into 7 cm lengths (you will have about 550g trimmed weight)
To make the baked rhubarb, preheat oven to 200°C. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, place into a medium bowl with the sugar, and toss to evenly combine. Add the rhubarb and toss to coat in the vanilla sugar. Transfer the rhubarb and vanilla bean to an ovenproof dish just large enough to arrange the rhubarb in a single layer. Sprinkle with any remaining vanilla sugar left in the bowl. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, give the dish a shake and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender when tested with a skewer. Remove from the oven and set aside while baking the rice pudding.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C. Combine the rice, milk, coconut milk and caster sugar in a bowl. Stir with a fork until well combined. Transfer to a 1-litre (4 cup) ovenproof dish and dot with the butter. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes, whisking occasionally with a fork so the rice cooks evenly, or until the rice is just tender and the pudding is the consistency of a wet risotto.
Serve the warm rice pudding immediately, topped with the rhubarb. Drizzle with rhubarb syrup and sprinkle with the coconut, if desired.
Roasted coconut chips are available from the dried fruit and nuts section of selected supermarkets.
Drizzled with an oozing chocolate ganache, these cupcakes are wickedly rich (but light in texture) and have a surprise of intense raspberry tartness hidden right in the middle! Don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong – these cupcakes are meant to have a hole in the centre... Because the mixture is flourless, the raspberry jam sinks during baking creating a creator of sorts, giving them their name.
180g good-quality dark chocolate (45% or 70% cocoa), chopped (see Baker's Tips) 125g butter, cubed 60ml (1/4 cup) water 220g (1 cup) brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra 85g (3/4 cup) hazelnut meal 25g (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut 3 eggs, at room temperature, separated 85g (1/4 cup) raspberry jam
Chocolate ganache 180g good-quality dark chocolate (45% cocoa), finely chopped 60ml (1/4 cup) pure (pouring) cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) muffin tin with paper cases.
Combine the chocolate, butter and water in a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, add the sugar, hazelnut meal, coconut and egg yolks and stir well with a wooden spoon until well combined and any lumps have broken up. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Place the egg whites in a clean, dry medium bowl and use electric beaters with a whisk attachment to whisk until soft peaks form. Add the extra 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and whisk until thick and glossy. Add a large spoonful of egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in – this will ‘loosen’ the mixture. Add the remaining egg white mixture and fold in until just combined.
Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin holes. Place a teaspoon of raspberry jam in the centre of each cupcake and press down gently until the jam is in line with the top the cupcake mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top of the cupcakes feels set and crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the side of a cupcake. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and stand in the tray for at least 5 minutes before transferring to place a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the Chocolate Ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cream almost comes to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and set aside to stand for 3 minutes. Stir the chocolate and cream mixture until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Set aside, stirring occaiosnally until thickened to a thick pouring consistency (see Baker's Tips).
Drizzle a generous spoonful of ganache on the tops of the cupcakes around the hole in the centre, allowing it to dribble over the sides and down into the hole. Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the ganache sets before serving.
Using 70% cocoa chocolate in the cupcakes will give them a more intense chocolate flavour.
The ganache will take between 15 minutes and about 11/2 hours to reach the right consistency for drizzling depending on the weather. If it is a really hot day you can put the ganache in the fridge to help it thicken - just make sure you stir it often so lumps don't form.
These cupcakes will keep in an airtight container in a cool spot (but not in the fridge) for up to 3 days.
Wickedly rich, this gluten-free brownie can match it with the best of them. Fudgy, rich and studded with tart raspberries, you won't be able to stop at just one piece!
Coconut oil, to grease
150g gluten-free, good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
100g (½ cup) coconut oil
135g (¾ cup) coconut sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature, light whisked
60ml (¼ cup) coconut milk
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
30g (¼ cup) cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¾ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
50g (½ cup) almond meal
150g frozen raspberries
Pure icing sugar, to dust (optional)
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease a 16cm x 26cm shallow slice tin with coconut oil and line the base and long sides with one piece of baking paper.
Place the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until chocolate and coconut oil melt and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from the saucepan.
Add the sugar, eggs, coconut milk and vanilla to chocolate mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until well combined. Sift together the cocoa powder, coconut flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the almond meal and stir to combine. Add to chocolate mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined. Add the frozen raspberries and fold gently until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared tin and use the back of a metal spoon to spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the centre. Cool in tin and then chill for at least 1 hour (see Baker's Tips).
Remove brownie from the tin using the baking paper to carefully lift it out. Cut into portions and serve dusted with icing sugar, if desired.
These brownies are a little more fragile than normal fudge brownies and will be easier to cut if you chill them for at least an hour before removing from the tin to cut.
These brownies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve straight from the fridge or stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
These cakes are a play on the original (and wonderful) Middle Eastern Orange Cake from the one and only Elizabeth David. Making use of seasonal mandarins and with the addition of coconut and polenta, this version is also flourless and gluten-free.
2 large mandarins (about 110g)
Melted butter, to grease
100g (1 cup) almond meal
95g (½ cup) instant polenta
45g (½ cup) desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, at room temperature
165g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1½ teaspoons natural vanilla extract or essence
250g (2 cups) pure icing (confectioners') sugar
1½–2 tablespoons mandarin juice
Put the whole mandarins in a small saucepan, cover with water and set over high heat. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30–60 minutes, or until very soft when tested with a skewer. (You may need to place a small saucer over the mandarins to keep them submerged.) Remove the mandarins from the water and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) capacity silicone or metal muffin tin with melted butter to grease. Quarter the mandarins and remove and discard the centre core and any seeds. Purée the skin and flesh in a small food processor or blender until smooth.
Put the almond meal, polenta, coconut and baking powder in a medium bowl and mix well to combine.
Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk on high speed until very thick and pale and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted (about 3–4 minutes).
Add the mandarin purée to the egg mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold in until just combined. Add the polenta mixture and fold together until combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin holes (you can pour it from a jug or use a ladle).
Bake in the preheated oven for 15–18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes. Use a palette knife to ease the cakes out and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the Mandarin icing, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Gradually stir in the juice until the mixture is smooth and has a thick coating consistency, adding a little more juice if too thick. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
Spread the tops of the cooled cakes with the icing. Set aside for 20 minutes or until set.
These cakes will keep in an airtight container in a cool place (but not in the fridge) for up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 110°C. Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the egg whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl (preferably metal) and place over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir with a spatula or small whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to touch (about 55-60°C on a sugar thermometer). Be careful not to allow the egg whites to cook.
Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer (see Baker’s Tips). Whisk the egg white mixture with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until very thick and glossy and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Whisk in the vanilla and cornflour.
Fill a large piping bag fitted with a 4B (or #11/1.1cm round) piping nozzle with the meringue mixture. Holding the piping nozzle about 1cm above the tray, pipe small rosettes (or 'kisses') about 2.5cm in diameter and 2cm apart on the lined tray.
Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour or until the meringues are crisp, hard to touch and peel away from the tray easily, but are not coloured.
Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar and leave meringues to cool completely in the oven for 1-2 hours or overnight.
Striped Meringue Kisses: Use a paintbrush to lightly brush evenly spaced vertical lines of food colouring gel on the inside of the large piping bag before spooning the meringue mixture into the piping bag. continue as per the recipe.
Allowing the egg white mixture to come to room temperature before whisking will reduce the time it will take to whisk it to a meringue.
Use the convection setting on your oven to bake the meringues as fan-forced is often too intense and will cause meringues to crack. However, if the meringues do crack when using the convention setting, next time reduce the temperature by 5-10°C as this will often help prevent them from cracking.
These meringues will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
This pie is one of my all-time favourites and brings together some of Greece’s most popular ingredients – silverbeet, haloumi, Kalamata olives, rice and filo pastry. It takes a little while to prepare but don’t be put off, I promise it will be well worth the effort.
20g butter, plus extra melted for brushing
80ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
2 leeks, white section only, trimmed and thinly sliced
To make the poached chicken, put the chicken, carrot, celery, onion and peppercorns in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough water to cover the chicken by about 2cm. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and poach gently, covered, for 40 minutes or until just cooked though. Remove from heat and stand the chicken in the stock at room temperature for 1 hour to cool slightly. Transfer to the fridge and cool the chicken in the stock completely (this will take about 2 hours).
Strain the stock, discarding the solids. Return 1 litre (4 cups) stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil (see Baker’s Tips). Continue boiling the stock for a further 12-15 minutes or until reduced to 375ml (1½ cups). Set aside.
Remove the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Use your fingers to shred the chicken meat, cover and place in the fridge until required.
Put the butter, 1 tbsp oil and leek in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, covered and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the leek is just soft. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Add the 375ml (1½ cups) reduced stock and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the saucepan with a lid, and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the rice is almost tender. Transfer to a large bowl and place in the fridge to cool (this will take about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, put the silverbeet in a large saucepan, cover with a lid and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until wilted. Strain and cool slightly, then use your hands to squeeze out any excess moisture. Set aside.
To make the herbed yoghurt, combine the yoghurt, garlic and herbs in a small bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until required.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush a 20cm x 30cm (base measurement) shallow slice tin with some of the melted butter.
When the rice has cooled, add the chicken, silverbeet, cream, olives, haloumi, parsley and thyme and stir gently to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Lay the filo sheets in a stack, cover with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to stop them from drying out. Take 1 sheet of filo (keeping the remaining sheets covered with the tea towels) and brush generously with the remaining olive oil. Lay another sheet on top. Continue to layer with the remaining filo to make two stacks, each with 6 sheets. Place the filo stacks widthways and slightly overlapping, into the greased tin to line, allowing the ends to overhang the top.
Spoon the chicken and rice mixture into the tin. Fold the overhanging filo over the top to cover. Brush top with remaining oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until filo is golden and crisp. Remove from oven and stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a serving plate or board. Serve warm or at room temperature with the herbed yoghurt and lemon wedges.
Any leftover pie will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat, covered with foil, in a preheated 160°C oven for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the filling is heated through and the pastry is crisp.
This traditional English pudding is quintessential nursery food – nurturing, soul-warming and economical. Feel free to replace the mixed berry jam with raspberry, plum or strawberry to ensure the sweet but subtle middle layer suits your tastes.
500ml (2 cups) milk 55g (¼ cup) caster sugar 30g butter, diced Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 5 egg yolks 2½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract 150g (2½ cups, lightly packed) fresh white breadcrumbs 85g (¼ cup) mixed berry jam (see Baker’s Tips) 1 tablespoons icing sugar, to dust
3 egg whites Pinch of salt 110g (½ cup) caster sugar 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
Put the milk, sugar, butter and lemon zest in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until smooth. Gradually add the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly until well combined. Stir in the vanilla and breadcrumbs.
Pour the custard mixture into a shallow 1 litre (4 cup) ovenproof dish. Set aside for 15 minutes for the bread to soak up some of the custard.
Preheat oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-forced).
Place the ovenproof dish into a roasting pan or larger ovenproof dish. Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan or larger ovenproof dish to reach halfway up the sides of the dish with the custard mixture to create a water bath or bain-marie. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the custard has almost set but still wobbles slightly when touched on the top. Remove from the oven and remove the custard dish to a wire rack. Set aside for 20 minutes or until cooled slightly (stop here if pre-preparing your pudding, see Baker's Tips).
Increase the oven temperature to 190ºC (170ºC fan-forced).
To make the meringue, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, and whisk until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is thick and glossy. Whisk in the vanilla.
Carefully spread the jam over the top of the custard (see Baker's Tips). Spread the meringue mixture over the jam to cover, swirling as desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly golden (see Baker’s tips). Serve immediately.
If your jam is a little thick you can warm it in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring often, until runny, to make it easier to spread.
You can cover the bottom of the roasting pan or larger ovenproof dish with a folded tea towel to stop the dish with the custard sliding around when transferring it to and from the oven.
You can make this pudding up to the end of step 4 (note in method) up to 2 days before serving. Stand the puddings at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing with the recipe.
You can caramelise the meringue topping with a blowtorch instead of baking it a second time for a more ‘dramatic’ effect if you wish.