I love this tart – a no-fuss, slice-like affair of buttery shortbread layers filled with jam and nuts. Research has revealed no reason why this tart is Belgian, but it brings back vivid childhood memories of my mum, Jocelyn, making it in two enamel plates, throwing them in the oven and then, once cool, covering them with foil to take to a picnic or tennis day. I remember it so clearly when I make the tart now (with a few small alterations) in my own kitchen.
185g butter, softened slightly 150g caster sugar 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract 260g plain flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 165g mixed berry jam (see Baker’s Tips) 70g (½ cup) unsalted raw peanuts (or nuts of your choice)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced).
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and process to combine, scraping down the side of the bowl if necessary. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and use the pulse butter to process until just combined and a soft dough forms.
Press half of the mixture evenly over the base of an ungreased 23cm tart tin with removable base. Spread evenly with the jam, leaving a 2cm border. Press portions of the remaining dough between your hands to flatten and press over the jam to cover, patching where necessary. Sprinkle with the peanuts and press into the dough.
Place the tart tin on a baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Leave the tart to cool in the tin and then serve in wedges.
Mum used to make this tart with apricot jam instead of the mixed berry I have used in this recipe but any jam variety works well – fig, blackberry, raspberry - just pick your favourite.
This tart will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Combine the flour, almond meal and caster sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and use the pulse button to pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Remove the lid of the food processor and sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and then add the vanilla bean paste. Continue to process using the pulse button until the mixture is evenly combined and just starts to come together (but hasn’t as yet formed a ball). The pastry should be soft but not sticky.
Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured, cool bench top. Knead lightly with your fingertips for about 10 seconds or until it comes together but isn’t completely smooth. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap, and chill and use as directed.
Prep 30min (+pastry making time)Bake 1hr15minMakes 8-10 serves
Everyone loves a classic apple pie – it is the ultimate comfort food... Especially when teamed with some good vanilla ice cream!
2 quantities Sweet Vanilla Shortcrust Pastry (combine ¼ of one pastry quantity with the other, and then shape each into a separate disc before wrapping and chilling for 30 minutes) 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons milk 1 tablespoon demerara sugar Vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Apple Filling 2½ tablespoons caster sugar 1½ tablespoons plain flour 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 6 medium (about 140g each) pink lady or granny smith apples 1 orange, rind finely grated and juiced 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 25g (¼ cup) almond meal 20g salted butter, finely diced
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Unwrap the larger portion of pastry and place on a lightly floured, cool benchtop. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the pastry into a round, about 5mm thick and about 35cm in diameter.
Carefully drape the pastry loosely around the rolling pin, place it over an ungreased 20cm (top measurement) metal or ceramic pie dish (see Baker’s Tips) then unroll the pastry being careful not to stretch it. Gently lift the edges of the pastry and ease it into the pie dish to line the base and the sides and settle it into the corners without stretching it, allowing the excess pastry to overhang the edges. Place the lined pie dish on an oven tray and then place in the fridge to rest for while making the filling.
To make the apple filling, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Peel, core and quarter each apple. Cut each apple quarter into 4 wedges and place in a separate large bowl with the orange rind, 1 tablespoon of the orange juice and the vanilla bean paste. Use your hands or spatula to toss gently to evenly coat the apple slices. Add the sugar mixture and toss gently to combine evenly.
Sprinkle the almond meal over the base of the chilled pastry case, spoon the apple mixture over the top and dot with the diced butter. Whisk together the egg yolk and milk. Brush the edge of the pastry with the egg wash. Roll out the remaining smaller disc of pastry into a round, about 5mm thick and about 25cm in diameter. Use a 2cm fluted or plain round cutter to cut out a circle from the centre of the pastry. Carefully drape the pastry loosely around the rolling pin and roll over the top of the pie. Use your fingertips to press the pie pastry top and bottom together around the edge of the pie to seal. Use a small sharp knife to trim the excess pastry from around the edge. Use your fingertips to pinch the edge of the pastry to decorate. Brush the top of the pie with some of the remaining egg wash and then sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through and the apples are tender (see Baker’s Tips). Remove the pie from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving warm with ice cream.
For this recipe you will need a ceramic or metal pie dish measuring about 20cm across the top, 17cm across the base and 4.5cm deep.
To check if the apples are tender, insert a skewer into the centre of the pie.
Much more like a cake than a pie, this apple-dense traditional Norwegian dessert is comforting, homely and can warm the soul with just one mouthful – especially when served straight from the oven in generous scoops and topped with ice-cream or a large dollop of thick cream. Don’t overlook the fact that it is also pretty good served like any other cake, cooled and in wedges. The trick to this recipe is not to over-mix – only mix until the wet and dry ingredients are evenly combined.
Melted butter, to grease
110g (¾ cup) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
3 medium (about 150g each) apples (such as golden delicious, royal gala or pink lady), peeled, cored and cut into 2 cm pieces
80g slivered almonds, toasted
100g butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons milk
1½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
Vanilla ice-cream or thick cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm springform tin with melted butter and line the base with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, apple and almonds. Use a fork to whisk together the butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula to mix until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Stand the pie in the tin for 5–10 minutes before removing the sides of the tin. Serve warm in scoops or at room temperature in wedges with ice-cream or cream.
This pudding/cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperaturein a cool spot for up to 3 days.
Sometimes known as lemon chester pudding, lemon meringue pie is a wonderful combination of short, buttery pastry, a tart custard filling and a sweet, fluffy meringue topping. This recipe won’t disappoint!
Meringue Topping 4 egg whites A pinch of salt 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the pastry on a lightly floured bench top to a round about 3 mm thick. Line an ungreased 22 cm diameter (base measurement), 3 cm deep pie plate with the pastry. Use a small sharp knife to trim any excess pastry.
Place the pastry case on an oven tray and use a fork to prick the base about 12 times. Line the pastry case with baking paper or foil and fill with pastry weights, dried beans or raw rice, making sure they fill the case. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the pastry case from the oven and use the paper or the foil to lift the weights out of the case. Return the case to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry is just cooked through and looks dry. Set aside to cool.
To make the Lemon filling, place the cornflour in a medium saucepan. Use a balloon whisk to gradually stir in the combined lemon juice and water until smooth and well combined. Stir in the sugar, egg yolks and butter. Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the butter melts. Continue to stir over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture simmers and thickens. Pour immediately into the pastry shell and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until the filling is set.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 240°C (220°C fan-forced).
To make the meringue Meringue topping, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition until the mixture is very thick and glossy and all the sugar has dissolved. Use a spatula or large metal spoon to stir the meringue mixture gently to expel any excess air. Spread the meringue mixture over the top of the lemon filling, swirling as desired. Bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes or until browned on the edges (see Baker’s tips). Stand for 5 minutes before scooping with a large metal spoon or cutting into wedges with a sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water (see Baker’s tips).
This pie is best eaten the day it is made.
You can also use a blowtorch to caramelise the meringue topping instead of returning it to the oven in step 7.
Dipping the spoon or knife in hot water and drying before scooping or cutting will make it easier.