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.
Prep 45mis (+1 hour 30mins chilling time)Makes about 500g
Also known as mille feuilles (meaning a ‘thousand layers’) in French, you’ll find that most commercial-made puff pastries use margarine and other vegetable fats, and because they have a higher melting point than butter they make the pastry rise more spectacularly. However, the flavour of a home-made version using good-quality unsalted butter you’ll find far outweighs this.
200g unsalted butter, in one piece, softened slightly so it is firm but pliable
Plain our, to dust
225g (1½ cups) plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
25g chilled unsalted butter, diced
100ml-120ml chilled water
To make the dough, combine the our and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the 25g diced butter to the our. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle 100ml of the iced water over the our mixture. Use a round-ended knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers – if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water; if it doesn’t add a teaspoon of the remaining iced water at a time water and cut through again until it does. The pastry should be soft but not sticky, and will be ragged in texture.
Bring the pastry together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured, cool bench top. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 20 seconds or until it comes together but isn’t completely smooth.
Shape the dough into a rectangle, about 10cm x 15cm, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest and rm slightly.
Place the 200g piece butter between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to pound and then roll to form a square, 15cm x 15cm and about 1cm thick. Check that the butter is the same pliable consistency as the dough – if it looks oily, it is too soft and needs chilling for a little while for it to reach the same consistency.
Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench top to a rectangle about 20cm x 32cm, always rolling away from you, turning after each roll, and keeping the edges as straight as possible. Place the butter over the top half of the pastry, leaving a border of about 2.5cm. Fold the pastry edges up and over the butter, then fold the uncovered pastry over the butter to fully enclose.
Use the rolling pin to gently tap the pastry widthways to form neat ridges. Roll out the pastry to a neat rectangle, about 16cm x 36cm, always rolling away from you and giving a half turn after each roll. Take care to keep the sides and ends straight, using a large palette knife to straighten them if necessary.
Fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third of the pastry down to fold it like a business letter. Turn the pastry anti-clockwise 90 degrees so that the folded edge is to your left. Use the rolling pin to gently tap the pastry widthways to form neat ridges again.
Roll the pastry out again a neat rectangle, about 13cm x 36cm, always rolling away from you, giving a half turn after each roll and taking care to keep the edges straight. With the folded edge to your left, repeat the folding process (step 8) but do not tap to create the ridges. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Repeat this process (steps 7-9; rolling, folding and turning, then rolling and folding again) two more times making sure the folded edge is to your left every time you fold and chilling between each process. This will give a total of six rolls and folds.
Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 days before using as directed.
To freeze, roll the puff pastry into a at sheet about 8mm thick. Cut into smaller portions or freeze whole on a tray lined with baking paper. Once frozen, wrap well in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.Thaw in the fridge.
Visiting the local bakery is part of everyday life in Bosnia and the bakeries always have a good variety of kifle (rolls) to choose from. Salted or cheese-filled are popular but you can find Frankfurt stuffed versions, or perhaps a chocolate, or jam-filled sweeter bun which are also popular. Traditionally shaped, these cheese kifle are dotted with butter before baking giving them a lovely tender, rich crumb that makes them completely irresistible.
500g (3⅓ cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust
2½ teaspoons dried yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
250ml (1 cup) lukewarm milk
80ml (⅓ cup) sunflower or vegetable oil, plus extra to brush
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tsp milk, to glaze
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, to sprinkle
100g chilled butter, diced
125g cottage cheese
30g feta, finely crumbled
salt, to taste
Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Use a fork to whisk together the milk, oil and egg until evenly combined. With the motor running, add to the flour mixture and knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic and has come away form the sides of the bowl.
Brush a large bowl with extra oil to grease. Transfer the dough to the bowl turning it to coat lightly with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
To make the cheese filling, combine the cottage cheese and feta in a bowl and stir well to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge until required.
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
When the dough has doubled in size knock it back by punching it in the center with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough into a disc until about 4mm thick and about 23cm in diameter. Use a large sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the circle into 8 wedges. Lift one of the wedges off the bench top with your hands and gently stretch it into a long triangle. Place back on the bench top and spread about ½ tsp of the filling across the wide end. Fold the edges of the wide end inwards and then, starting from the wide end, roll up the dough triangle. Place on a large, heavy oven tray. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make 40 rolls in total and placing about 2cm apart on the tray.
Brush the rolls with the egg glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Dot the rolls with the diced chilled butter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Stand on the tray for a few minutes to cool slightly before serving warm or at room temperature.
These rolls are best eaten the day they are made (fresh from the oven is even better) however they do freeze well – seal in a freezer bag an freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature.
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.
The simplicity of these roasted winter root vegetables allows their true flavours to shine – especially when finished with fresh herbs, lemon and ricotta salata.
1 bunch baby beetroot, scrubbed, trimmed and halved if large
1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and halved
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
3 small parsnips, scrubbed, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
40g ricotta salata (see Baker's Tips) or sheep's milk feta, crumbled or coarsely grated
1½ tablespoons oregano leaves
1½ tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest finely grated
lemon wedges or cheeks, to serve
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced)
Toss the beetroot, carrots, fennel and parsnip with the oil to coat. Spread over the base of a roasting dish and bake for 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through baking, or until the beetroot is tender when pierced with a skewer.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with a little more oil. Combine the ricotta salata, oregano, parsley and lemon zest and scatter over the vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.
Ricotta salata is an Italian ricotta cheese that has been pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It has a wonderfully salty flavour and firm texture which is perfect for crumbling, slicing or grating.
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.