Bringing real baking into your home with deliciously simple recipes.
Prep 40min (+1hr 45min-2hr 15min proving and 1 hour cooling time) Bake 55-60 minMakes about 50 slices
These crackers are based on one of my favourite bread recipes. Baked in small loaf tins then sliced and double baked they make the perfect cracker for a cheese plate. They are perfect to serve alongside a creamy ripe brie, a soft goat’s cheese, or a more robust blue vein cheese.
Ingredients300g (2 cups) strong bread or pizza flour
150g (1 cup) plain wholemeal or wholemeal spelt flour
7g sachet (2 teaspoons) instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon fine salt
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 orange, zest finely grated
90g (60ml / ¼ cup) honey
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
150g dried figs, coarsely chopped
125g seedless raisins
150g walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Melted butter, to grease
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Combine the flours, yeast, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Heat the water and honey a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until lukewarm and combined. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench top and knead for 8-10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it. Add the figs, raisins and walnuts and knead until evenly distributed through the dough.
- Brush a large bowl with melted butter. Add the dough, turning it to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1-1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, brush two 7.5cm x 22cm or 9cm x 19cm loaf tins (or one of each) with butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top and knead for 2-3 minutes or until reduced to its original size. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a log about the length of each tin. Place a dough log into each of the tins. Brush the tops of the loaves with a little water and sprinkle with some more poppy seeds. Cover with a light tea towel and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Bake the loaves in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the top. Stand in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Reduce oven to 150°C (130°C fan-forced).
- Once cool, cut the loaves into very thin slices and place in a single layer on the lined trays. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, turn the slices over and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until crisp around the edges (they will become crisper as they cool). Cool on the trays.
- These crackers will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 month. They may soften over time because of the figs. If they do, refresh them in an oven preheated to 150°C (130°C fan-forced) in a single layer on a lined tray for 10-15 minutes.
Prep 20minBake 35-40 minMakes 8 serves
Rhubarb and pear make wonderful partners and when teamed with a coconut and macadamia nut crumble topping in this dessert it brings sunshine to the table. The coconut sugar lends a lovely rich caramel flavour but can be replaced by brown sugar if you wish.
1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths (you should have about 500g trimmed and chopped rhubarb)
750g (about 4) firm ripe pears (such as Josephine, Williams or Packhams)
2 tablespoons coconut or brown sugar
Coconut or Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
50g (½ cup) rolled oats
30g (½ cup) flaked coconut
55g (⅓ cup) macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
50g coconut or brown sugar
2 tablespoons LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
60ml (¼ cup ) sunflower or light olive oil
½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160°C fan-forced).
- To make the Crumble Topping, place oats, flaked coconut, macadamias, sugar, LSA and cinnamon in a bowl, mix to combine. Combine the oil and vanilla, drizzle over the oat mixture and toss to combine evenly. Set aside.
- Peel, quarter and core the pears and then cut each quarter lengthwise into three slices. Place the pear slices, rhubarb and sugar in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Transfer to a 1.5 litre (6 cup) ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the Crumble Topping.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the crumble is crisp and golden and the fruit is tender when tested with a skewer.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with the coconut yoghurt.
- Store any leftover crumble in the ovenproof dish covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve cold or reheat in an oven preheated to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
- This crumble can also be baked in eight 185ml (¾ cup) ramekins or ovenproof dishes at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 25-30 minutes.
Prep 30min (+5min standing time)Bake 1hr 5min-1hr 15minMakes 10-12 serves
This is one of my favourite cakes – ever! Not only is it super easy to whip up and can be made with a whole variety of different fruits (you can replace the pears with the same quantity of plums, firm ripe nectarines or peaches for example), but it is also incredibly versatile when it comes to serving it. It not only makes for the perfect morning or afternoon tea cake but it is also wonderful served warm with lashings of cream or ice cream for dessert. I’ve also been known to eat the leftovers for breakfast (which I would also highly recommend!)
Melted butter, to grease
185g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour
165g (⅔ cup, firmly packed) brown or raw caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra
125g salted butter, at room temperature
85g (⅓ cup) sour cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons natural vanilla extract or essence
2 (about 200g each) firm but ripe Williams pears, cored and each cut into 12 wedges
Icing sugar, to dust
Cream or ice cream, to serve (optional)
50g (⅓ cup) plain flour
55g (¼ cup, firmly packed) brown or raw caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60g salted butter, chilled, diced
50g (½ cup) flaked almonds
- Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F (150°C/300°F fan-forced). Grease a 21cm (8 1⁄4in), base measurement, springform tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
- To make the Crumble Topping, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to quickly rub in the butter just until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs (it will be quite moist). Stir in the almonds. Cover and put in the fridge while making the cake.
- To make the cake, place the flour, sugar, butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use
an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is well combined, very pale in colour and silky smooth in texture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Toss the pear wedges with the extra 1 tablespoon sugar. Arrange the pears evenly over the top of the cake and then press gently into the batter. Sprinkle with the prepared Crumble Topping to cover.
- Bake in preheated oven for 65-75 minutes (the baking time will depend on how juicy the pears are) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand the cake in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring, still on the base of the tin, to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature on its own or accompanied by cream or ice cream, if desired.
Prep 40min (+ 3hr proving, 20min standing and cooling time)Bake 45min12-14 serves
Laced with swirls of rich dark chocolate and drenched in a marmalade glaze, you’ll find this impressive loaf hard to resist – I dare you to stop at just one slice!
525g (3½ cups) strong (baker’s) flour
2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
180ml (⅔ cup) lukewarm milk
2 eggs, plus 1 extra
150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
150g dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
50g unsalted butter, chopped
110g (½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
300g jar blood orange marmalade (see Baker's Tips)
2 tablespoons boiling water
- To make the dough, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Combine the milk and eggs in a jug. With the motor running, add milk mixture to the flour mixture and knead on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until mixture is evenly combined and a stiff dough forms.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and gradually add the butter, about 20g at a time, beating well after each addition on low speed until dough is smooth and very elastic (this will take about 5 minutes). Scrape down side of bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in volume.
- For the Chocolate Filling, combine all ingredients in a large heatproof jug and microwave on high, in 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst, for 1 minute 30 seconds or until chocolate has melted. Stir vigorously until well combined, glossy and smooth. Set aside at room temperature to cool.
- Grease a 2.5L capacity (24cm top, 22cm base measurement) fluted ring pan with extra butter. Knock back the dough by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth and elastic and dough has returned to its original size.
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll dough into a 30cm x 35cm rectangle. Spread dough evenly with the chocolate filling. Starting from the longer end, roll up the dough into a tight roll. (At this point, if the dough is too soft and your kitchen too warm, you can place the log, slightly bent to fit, on a large baking tray lined with baking paper and chill for 20 minutes to firm slightly. This will make cutting and shaping the babka easier). Trim ends of roll. Starting about 2cm from the top end, cut in half, leaving the top end intact. Turn each half so that the cut edges are facing upwards. Twist the two halves together, keeping the cut edges facing upwards. Place in prepared tin, wrapping around the centre tube. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1½ hours or until well risen.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Bake the babka for 45 minutes or until deep golden and babka sounds hollow when tapped on the top. Stand in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
- For the marmalade glaze, place marmalade in a large heatproof jug and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well, then microwave for a further 15 seconds or until bubbling. Immediately stir through boiling water until well combined. Stand for 3 minutes, stir again, then drizzle over the cooled babka. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Cut babka into wedges to serve.
- This loaf is best eaten the day it is made but it will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and is perfect to slice, toast and served warm (especially for an indulgent breakfast!)
Photography: Nigel Lough
Styling: David Morgan
This recipe first appeared in delicious. Australia's April 2023 edition.
Prep 25min (+1hr 30min proving time)Bake 30minMakes 8 large buns
These over-the-top, chocolate-studded hot cross buns aren't traditional but they still will be super popular. Baked as a round pull-apart loaf of sorts, the buns are generously sized and will hit the spot with any chocolate lover!
375g strong bread or pizza flour
30g (¼ cup) Dutch cocoa powder
75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet (2 teaspoons) instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine salt
30g salted butter, diced
1 egg, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
Extra butter, to grease and serve
85g (½ cup) sultanas
75g good-quality dark chocolate (45-54 per cent cocoa), chopped
75g (1⁄2 cup) plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
75ml room temperature water
55g (1⁄4 cup) caster sugar
1½ tablespoons water
- Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the caster sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt and mix to combine. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter has just melted and the milk is lukewarm. Remove from heat and whisk in the egg and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 8-10 minutes, adding as little flour as possible as you knead, or until smooth and elastic and it springs back when you press your finger into it. Brush a large bowl with melted butter to grease. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper. Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead briefly until reduced to its original size. Knead in the sultanas and chocolate until evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a neat ball and place into the prepared tin, allowing room between each for the buns to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
- Meanwhile, to make the Flour Paste, combine the flour, sugar and water in a bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. Spoon into a small, good-quality snap-lock bag and seal.
- When the buns are ready, snip a small hole (about 3mm in diameter) in the corner of the flour paste bag and pipe crosses on the tops of the buns.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the buns are cooked through and sound hollow when tapped on the top.
- About 5 minutes before the buns are baked make the Glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, without stirring, or until thickened slightly. Transfer the hot cross buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the hot glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature, spread with butter.
- These hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are made – even better if eaten warm form the oven – but they do freeze well. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap (together or as individual buns) and seal in an airtight container or freezer bag. Label, date and freeze for up to 3 monhts. Thaw at room temperature or split while still frozen and toast.
Prep 30min (+cooling and standing time)Bake 40-45minMakes 10-12 serves
With an underlying hint of orange and the warm nuttiness of roasted walnuts, this divine cake completely delivers when it comes to a rich, decadent and utterly satisfying chocolate cake.
Gluten-free chocolate cakes have been widely adapted as the Passover dessert of choice, and with the absence of dairy, this one is also appropriate to serve following a meat-based main course.
75g (⅔ cup) Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
165ml (⅔ cup) boiling water
200g walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
4 x 59g eggs, at room temperature
220g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
200ml light olive oil, plus extra to grease
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
180g good-quality dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
150ml tinned full-fat coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm springform tin with extra oil and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
- Place the cocoa in a medium heat-proof bowl and gradually stir in the boiling water until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Process the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 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 paler in colour. Add the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the walnut mixture and orange zest to the chocolate mixture and whisk on low speed until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until wet crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake. Cool the cake in the tin sitting on a wire rack (this will take about 2 hours).
- To make the Coconut Ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it just comes to a simmer (do not boil). Pour over the chocolate and set aside for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, well combined and glossy. Set aside at room temperature, 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 cooled cake and use the back of a spoon to spread. Set aside for 30 minutes or until the ganache sets. Serve in wedges.
- This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature (in a cool spot) for up to 5 days.
Prep 20min (+1hr 30min cooling time)Bake 60-65minMakes about 20
This is the way the best classic chocolate brownies should be - fudgy but not too dense, rich but not too sweet. These ones are also studded with maple-encrusted roasted pecans to for an added welcome surprise!
Melted butter, to grease
250g good-quality dark chocolate (45-54 per cent cocoa), chopped
185g salted butter, cubed
3 eggs, at room temperature
220g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
110g (¾ cup) plain flour
30g (¼ cup) Dutch cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
Cocoa powder or icing sugar, to dust (optional)
60ml (¼ cup) maple syrup
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- To make the Maple-Roasted Pecans, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line an oven tray with sides with non-stick baking paper. Place the pecans, maple syrup and salt in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Spread the pecans in one layer on the oven tray and pour over any maple syrup left in the bowl. Cook in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, stirring often, until toasted and the maple syrup has thickened to a sticky consistency. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely on the tray. Once cool, coarsely chop the pecans.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease a 16cm x 26cm shallow slice tin and line the base and long sides with one piece of baking paper.
- Place the dark chocolate and butter 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 butter melt and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from saucepan and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Use an electric mixture with a whisk attachment to whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and pale. Add the cooled chocolate and whisk until just combined.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add to chocolate mixture and whisk on low speed until just combined. Add the chopped pecans to the chocolate mixture, breaking them up if they have started to stick together, and use a spatula to fold until evenly combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the centre. Remove from the oven and cool in tin on a wire rack (this will take about 1½ hours).
- Remove brownie from the tin using the baking paper to lift it out. Cut into portions and dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar, if desired, to serve.
- These brownies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature (in a cool spot), for up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature.
Prep 2hrBake 40-45minMakes 12-15 serves
Created by Make Me a Baker student Janine Cowen for her Graduation, this classic dessert has been elevated by the addition of a divine hazelnut praline crème mousseline filling and roasted rosewater strawberries.
"I picked the recipe because it is something I have always wanted to taste and try to bake, but I've never had the confidence to tackle such a complex recipe or even the know-how to make choux pastry. Reading all of the elements was overwhelming at first, but being able to calmly break it down and methodically follow the steps to produce the final dessert was so satisfying. It has opened up a whole world of challenging multi-element recipes for me to try," says Janine
Janine also suggests, when in season, roasting quartered fresh figs with a little brown sugar to replace the strawberries.
1 quantity Basic Choux Pastry
1 egg yolk, whisked with a dash of water, to brush
30g flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to dust
Crème Pâtissière (original recipe from Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning, Murdoch Books)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
250ml (1 cup) full-cream milk
250g (1 cup) pure (thin/pouring) cream
4 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
225g unsalted butter, softened
Praline Paste (Janine used a recipe from Serious Eats by Kristina Razon)
Toffeed Hazelnuts (based on a recipe from The Pastry School cookbook by Julie Jones)
20 whole hazelnuts
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
400g ripe but firm larger strawberries, hulled and halved
2 teaspoons caster sugar
4 drops rosewater essence
Small pinch fine salt
To make the Crème Pâtissière, combine the vanilla seeds, milk and cream in a medium saucepan and bring just to a simmer over a medium heat. Remove from heat. Use a balloon whisk or electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale. Sift together the flour and cornflour, then whisk into the yolk mixture until smooth and well combined. Gradually whisk in the milk mixture until smooth and well combined. Return to the saucepan. Stir constantly with a balloon whisk over a medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer, stirring constantly with the whisk, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pass the crème pâtissière through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover the surface of the crème pâtissière with plastic wrap or a round of baking paper and refrigerate for 2 hours or until well chilled before using.
To make the Toffeed Hazelnuts, gently insert a toothpick into the base of each hazelnut (being careful not to split them). Cover a benchtop under a cupboard or shelf with foil to catch the dripping caramel. Place a strip of double-sided sticky tape or Blu Tack on the bottom edge of a cupboard or shelf (this will hold the hazelnuts by the toothpicks). Fill your kitchen sink or a large bowl with about 3cm of water. Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and use a wooden spoon to stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil, occasionally brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the mixture turns a deep caramel. Remove immediately from the heat and place the saucepan base in the water until the bubble subside to stop it from cooking. Remove the saucepan from the water and set aside for 1-2 minutes near the lined bench or until the caramel thickens enough to coat the hazelnuts. One at a time and holding the toothpick, carefully dip the hazelnuts into the caramel and then stick the toothpick to the cupboard or shelf using the sticky tape or Blue Tack so that the caramel drips onto the foil and a tail forms. It may take a few hazelnuts before the caramel has thickened enough for a good tail to form. Let the caramel set (it will take about 10-15 minutes) before gently removing the toothpicks from the hazelnuts. Place in an airtight container separated by baking paper.
To make the Roasted Strawberries, preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle with the caster sugar, rosewater essence and salt. Toss gently to coat evenly and then spread the strawberries, cut side down, evenly on the lined tray. Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until starting to soften but still holding their shape. Place in an airtight container in the fridge until required (see Baker’s Tips).
To make the choux pastry ring, draw a 12cm diameter circle on a piece of non-stick baking paper. Turn the paper upside down, line a baking tray with it, and use a little of the choux pastry to stick the baking paper to the tray. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Spoon the choux pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a 13mm (6B) French star piping nozzle. Using the marked paper as a guide, pipe a ring of choux pastry onto the lined tray. Pipe another ring of pastry around the outside of the first one, so that they just touch. Finally pipe a third circle of pastry over the gap between the two bottom pastry rings. Bruch the rings gently with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the pastry is puffed, golden and dry.
Immediately transfer the pastry ring to a wire rack and use a skewer to piece the ring on top about 8 times (this will allow the excess steam trapped inside to escape while it cools). See Baker’s Tips.
Meanwhile, to make the Crème Mousseline, use an electric mixer with a paddle beater to beat the butter until very pale and creamy, scraping down the side of the bowl when necessary. Add the Praline Paste and beat on medium speed until well combined. Gradually add the Crème Pâtissière, about ¼ cup at a time, and beat on medium speed after each addition until well combined, scraping the bowl when necessary. Replace the paddle beater with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until the mousseline is light and airy. Transfer about three quarters of the Crème Mousseline to a piping bag fitted with a 15mm French star piping nozzle (see Baker’s Tips).
Use a large sharp serrated knife to carefully cut the pastry ring in half horizontally. Remove any uncooked dough with your fingertips. Set the top aside. Pipe rosettes of the Crème Mousseline into the base of the pastry ring about 2cm apart. Then pipe another, slightly smaller, rosette on top of each Place a strawberry half, cut side down, between each of the Crème Mousseline rosettes, placing them so they overlap the edge of the pastry ring base and peek out once the lid is placed on top. Gently place the pastry ring lid on top and then dust with icing sugar.
Place the remaining Crème Mousseline in a piping bag fitted with a 5mm French star piping nozzle and pipe eight small rosette at even intervals on the top of the pastry ring. Choose the best eight Toffeed Hazelnuts and carefully place one on top of each of the piped rosettes to decorate. Serve immediately.
- The Crème Pâtissière can be made up to 3 days before using. Place in an airtight container or a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.
- The Roasted Strawberries can be made up to 3 days before using. Place in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The pastry ring can be made up to a day ahead. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature. To refresh before filling, place on a lined oven tray in an oven preheated to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before using.
- In warmer weather, the Crème Mousseline may become a little soft. If so, before piping place it into the fridge until it firms enough to be a good piping consistency before continuing with the recipe.
Prep 20minBake 15-25 minMakes about 12 large cookies
This great basic cookie recipe (requiring only a bowl and a wooden spoon to mix) can be customised depending on your flavour and texture preferences… Choose from the suggested ingredients to add your twist and to personalise the cookies – the variation options are only limited by your imagination (and a little baking science)!
125g salted butter, melted
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
110g (½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
185g-225g plain flour (see Baker's Tips)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Ingredients for flavour (choose at least 1)
1-2 teaspoons vanilla essence or extract or vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 orange, lemon or lime, zest finely grated
Sea salt flakes, to taste
Ingredients for texture (choose at least 1)
100g chocolate (dark, milk, white or a combination) – 150g if not using nuts also
100g toasted nuts (macadamias, pecans, salted peanuts, peeled hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or pistachios), coarsely chopped
150g Smarties or M&M's
100g soft caramels, chopped
1 cup shredded or flaked coconut
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Combine the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined. Add the egg (and vanilla and/or citrus zest if using) and beat with the wooden spoon until the mixture becomes pale, creamy and thickens slightly (this will take 1-2 minutes).
- Sift together the flour (see Baker’s Tips) and bicarbonate of soda (and cinnamon if using). Add to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Add the chocolate, nuts, Smarties, M&M's and/or caramels and stir to combine evenly.
- Roll 2 level tablespoonfuls (see Baker's Tips) of the cookie dough into balls and place on the lined oven tray about 10cm apart (see Baker's Tips).
- Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Lift the baking tray on one side and let it fall back onto the oven rack 3 times (see Baker’s Tips). Sprinkle with coconut or finely chopped nuts if using. Bake for 5 minutes longer then lift the baking tray on one side and let it fall back onto the oven rack 3 times again. Bake for a further 5-15 minutes (see Baker’s Tips).
- Cool the cookies on the trays for 5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
- Using less flour (185g) will mean that your cookies will spread more and be thinner than if you use more flour (225g).
- To bake smaller cookies, roll 1 tablespoon measure of dough into balls and place on the oven trays at least 7cm apart. Bake as per recipe.
- You can use a small ice-cream scoop to scoop your cookie dough and place it straight onto the oven trays but you will find the cookies will be more evenly shaped if rolled before baking.
- Chilling the balls of dough for 30 minutes before baking will give your cookies more contrast in texture between the centre and the outer edge.
- Banging the trays on the oven racks during baking will give the cookies a ‘crinkled’ appearance once baked and will also be thinner than those that aren’t.
- You can determine the texture of these cookies by adjusting the baking time. 15 minutes will give you a cookie with a soft, chewy centre and crisp outer; 20 minutes will give you a slightly soft centre and crisp outer; while 25 minutes will mean the cookies are crisp all the way through.
- These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Prep 1hr (+20min resting, 2hr chilling and 30min cooling time)Bake 12-15min (per batch)Makes 24
Made by Make Me a Baker student Theresa Ling these Portuguese Custard Tarts will be some of the best you will try. The main trick with these tarts is to bake them at a very high heat (often as hot as your oven will go) for a short period of time to make sure the pastry is lovely and crisp while not over cooking the luscious creamy custard filling, creating a wonderful contrast between the two.
If you've never made portuguese custard tarts before or haven't got the results you wanted from a previous attempt CLICK HERE for my top tips when making them
at home before you start.
Icing sugar and ground cinnamon (optional), to sprinkle
Rough Puff Pastry
225g (1½ cups) plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
225g unsalted butter, softened
Custard2 tablespoons plain flour
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
160ml (⅔ cup) water
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
6 egg yolks, lightly whisked
To make the Rough Puff Pastry, place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and mix with a paddle beater on low speed until well combined and a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a clean bench top and knead until smooth. Shape into a square about 1cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the pastry out on a well floured surface to a 35cm square, keeping the edges as neat as possible. Use your fingers to dot small pieces of 75g of the softened butter over the left two-thirds of the pastry, leaving about a 1cm border, and then spread it with your fingers so it covers the pastry roughly. Fold over the unbuttered right hand third of pastry, brush away any excess flour, then fold over the left hand third to cover. Starting from the top, use the rolling pin to tap the pastry widthways to release any air pockets and then press the open edges with your fingertips to seal and enclose the butter. Turn the pastry a quarter turn anticlockwise and then fold in the right hand third of pastry then fold over the left hand third to cover. Again, tap it gently widthways with the rolling pin.
- Reroll the pastry to a 35cm square and, with the folded edge closest to you repeat step 2 one more time, dotting and spreading the left hand two thirds with 75g of the remaining softened butter, folding, turning anti-clockwise and folding again.
- Reroll the pastry to a 35cm x 40cm rectangle. With a short edge closest to you, dot and spread the 75g of remaining softened butter over the whole surface, leaving a 1cm border. Starting from the short edge, roll into a tight log. Use a sharp knife to trim the ends and then cut the log in half. Wrap the logs separately in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before using (see Baker’s Tips).
- Place two pizza stones in the oven, one in the top third and one in the bottom third. Place an oven rack in between them. Preheat oven to 300°C (280°C fan-forced) for at least 1 hour.
- To make the Custard, place the flour in a medium bowl and use a balloon whisk to gradually stir in 60ml (¼ cup) of the milk until smooth and well combined. Place the remaining milk in a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer over a medium heat. Use the balloon whisk to gradually stir the hot milk into the flour mixture and stir until smooth and well combined. Combine the sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and simmer until it reaches 100°C on a thermometer. Remove the cinnamon sticks from the sugar syrup and gradually stir into the milk mixture. Add the vanilla and stir until cooled slightly. Stir in the egg yolks until evenly combined. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool, stirring occasionally, this will take about 30 minutes (see Baker’s Tips).
- Cut one of the pastry logs into twelve 1.5cm lengths (each portion will be about 25g) and place each portion, with a cut side facing up, into an ungreased 50ml capacity (3cm base measurement and 6.5cm top measurement) round-based tartlet tin (see Baker’s Tips). Using your thumb, gently press into the centre of a pastry portion towards the base until about 5mm thick, and then, using your thumbs and working around the tart case, gently ease the pastry up the sides thinning it to about 5mm thick and so it extends about 2mm above the tart tin and forms a thicker lip at the top. Repeat with the remaining pastry portions.
- Place the tart tins on a heavy oven tray. Divide half the cooled custard among the pastry cases, filling each to no more than 5mm from the top edge of the pastry. Bake the tarts between the pizza stones in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and baked through, and the custard is just set and partially charred on the top.
- Remove the tarts from the oven and set aside to cool slightly for 2-3 minutes before removing from the tins. Repeat with the remaining pastry log and custard mixture to make 12 more tarts.
- Sprinkle the tarts with icing sugar and/or cinnamon if desired and serve warm or at room temperature (see Baker’s Tips).
- The pastry can be made up to 3 days ahead of using. Keep wrapped in the fridge.
- The custard can be made up to 3 days ahead of baking. Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge. Stir well before pouring into the tart cases.
- Once cut into portions and before pressing into the tins, you may have to let the pastry stand at room temperature until it softens slightly and becomes pliable enough to be able to be pressed into the tins easily and without force.
- These tarts are best eaten warm or at room temperature the day they are made. However, they will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. To refresh, place the chilled tarts back in the tart tins on an oven tray and place in an oven preheated to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the custard is just warmed through (there is no need to use the pizza stones when reheating). Stand the tarts in the tins for at least 5 minutes before removing and serving warm or at room temperature.
Prep 30min (+2hr cooling and overnight chilling time)Bake 45-50minMakes 8-10 serves
Created by Make Me a Baker student Jenny Wong for her graduation, this gorgeous cake is 'tea time' in a cake bringing together orange-scented chiffon cake and the subtle floral notes of French Earl Grey tea. And to make it complete, it's served with an Earl Grey tea-infused whipped cream and, of course a cup of freshly brewed French Earl Grey tea.
You will need a 21cm (base measurement) specialty angel food cake tin (basically a deep ring tin with a removable base and small 'feet' around the top rim) to make this recipe and they are available from specialty kitchenware stores. The key to achieving the classic feather-like texture of a chiffon cake is to make sure you leave it suspended in the inverted tin until cooled completely so that it doesn’t compress as it cools.
- 6 x T2 French Earl Grey tea bags
- 160ml ( ⅔ cup) boiling water
- 185g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour
- 30g (¼ cup) cornflour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 x 59g eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 200g caster sugar, plus 110g (½ cup) extra
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
- 100ml vegetable oil
- Icing sugar, to dust
- Dried edible flowers, to decorate (optional) (see Baker's Tips)
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
- 125ml (½ cup) full-cream milk
- 4 x T2 French Earl Grey tea bags
- 300ml thickened cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
- To make the Earl Grey Whipped Cream, place the milk and tea bags in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove form the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a container or bowl, cover and place in the fridge to chill (preferably overnight).
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Place an ungreased 21cm (base measurement) angel food cake tin on an oven tray.
- Place the tea bags in a jug, pour the boiling water over and set aside to infuse until the water is warm.
- Sift the flour, cornflour, cream of tartar and salt onto a piece of baking paper twice.
- Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg yolks and 200g caster sugar on high speed until thick and pale. Whisk in the orange zest and vanilla.
- Squeeze the tea bags to extract as much flavour as possible into the warm tea-infused water and measure 125ml ( ½ cup) - it should be dark in colour and very fragrant.
- Combine the warm tea and oil. Add the oil mixture to the egg mixture and whisk on low speed until well combined, scraping the side and the base of the bowl if necessary. With the motor running on low speed, add the flour mixture all at once and whisk gently until just combined. Transfer the mixture to a separate large bowl and set aside. Clean and dry the whisk and mixing bowl.
- Use the electric mixer with the whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 110g caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Add about a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold through until well combined. Add the remaining egg white mixture and fold until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the ungreased tin and gently smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the lower third of the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until well risen, golden, and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Immediately turn the cake upside down on a wire rack and set aside, still in the tin so it is suspended, for 2 hours or until it is completely cool – don’t be tempted to remove it while still warm (see Baker's Tips).
- To finish the Earl Grey Whipped Cream, squeeze the tea bags to extract as much flavour as possible and then measure 60ml (1/4 cup) of the milk – it should be a pale Masala Chai colour and very fragrant. Use a balloon whisk the cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add the orange zest and vanilla and then whisk in the chilled Earl Grey-infused milk until soft peaks form again. Cover and chill until serving.
- Carefully run a small palette knife around the side of the tin to release the cake. Invert the cake onto a serving plate or cake stand, and gently shake the tin to release the cake. Then use the palette knife to release the cake from the base of the tin and remove (see Baker's Tips). Serve dusted liberally with icing sugar and edible flowers (if using), and accompanied by the Earl Grey Whipped Cream.
- The key to the classic light-as-air texture of a chiffon cake is to suspend the baked cake in an inverted tin until it cools completely so that the crumb texture doesn’t compress as it cools. That is why it is so important that the tin isn't greased or lined so that the cake sticks to the tin and that it doesn't fall out of the tin during cooling. However, because of this, once cooled you will need to carefully release it by running a small palette knife between the cake and the tin. You won’t get a perfect looking crust, but this will be overlooked as the result will be a beautifully airy crumb texture that can’t be achieved without using this technique.
- This cake is best cut with a sharp knife using a sawing action.
- This cake will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature but is best eaten on the day it is made.
- Jenny used sun-dried organic edible flowers from Percaya Farm
Prep 30min (+2hr chilling and decorating time)Bake 20-25minMakes about 25 cookies
Use this recipe as the base for cookies decorated with either royal icing (like these gorgeous Iced Heart Cookies) or fondant. The sweetness of the icing complements the spicy gingerbread base perfectly and lays down a canvas for you to create something extra special for customers, friends and family.
125g salted butter, softened
90g (½ cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
235g (160ml/⅔ cup) golden syrup
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
375g (2½ cups) plain flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Use an electric mixer with a paddle beater attachment to beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and vanilla and beat to combine evenly. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined evenly and a soft dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a disc about 2cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll easily.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with baking paper.
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one portion of the dough (leave the remaining portion in the fridge) on a lightly floured benchtop to 6mm thick. Use cutter/s of your choice, approximately 7.5cm across at the widest part, to cut out shapes and then use a palette knife to carefully transfer the shapes to the prepared oven trays, leaving a little room between each for
spreading. Reroll any dough scraps to make more shapes. Discard any offcuts from the second rolling. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread dough portion.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through baking, or until the cookies are just starting to colour and are cooked through. Stand the cookies on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
- Undecorated biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.