This pastry is rich, flavoursome and dead easy to make. It has a tender, melt-in-the-mouth texture, adding a beautiful richness to fruit-based pies. Avoid using with custard-based pies, as it will be too rich, and it's too fragile to use in free-form pies.
250g (1⅔ cups) plain flour 2 tablespoons caster sugar good pinch of salt 180g cold unsalted butter, cubed 125 ml (½ cup) sour cream 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sour cream and vanilla bean paste and use the pulse button to process briefly until the mixture just forms a ball.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured, cool benchtop and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest. Use as directed in this Rhubarb and Apple Pie.
This pastry will keep wrapped well in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for about 1 hour (depending on the weather) until softened slightly and pliable enough to roll easily.
I have been baking this gluten-free pudding for years. Not only is it completely heavenly, it is also very clever and can be baked as a cake when you want.
Melted butter, to grease
Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, to dust
200g (1⅓ cups) chopped good-quality dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa is good)
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons marsala wine or freshly brewed strong coffee
165g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature, separated
Icing (confectioners’) sugar, to dust
Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Brush a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity ovenproof dish (about 20cm diameter) with melted butter to grease. Lightly dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the marsala, 110g (½ cup) of the caster sugar and the egg yolks.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry large bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 55g (¼ cup) caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy. Add one-third of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold together. Fold through the remaining egg white mixture until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 55–60 minutes, or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the centre.
Remove the pudding from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve in scoops with cream or ice cream.
Chocolate Soufflé Cake: Bake the mixture in a 22cm (base measurement) springform cake tin that has been base-lined with baking paper, and then greased and dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder. Bake at the same temperature for 55–60 minutes. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Cut into wedges to serve.
This pudding is also delicious served at room temperature. Leave to cool in the dish before serving.
Any leftover pudding will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leave to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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.
Prep 30min (+35min pastry making time)Bake 1hr 15minMakes 8-10 serves
Classic apple pie (served with a overly-generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream, of course) is one of the perennial delights of winter and can only be improved by the addition of rhubarb and a deliciously rich vanilla sour cream pastry. This pie just may be a little hard to beat.
1 egg, whisked, for brushing 1 quantity vanilla sour cream pastry, shaped into a disc before wrapping and chilling as directed 2 teaspoons demerara sugar, to sprinkle pouring cream, vanilla ice-cream or custard, to serve
Apple and rhubarb filling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 1 orange, rind finely grated 110g (½ cup) demerara sugar 1½ tablespoons plain flour 1kg (about 6 medium) Granny Smith apples 750g trimmed rhubarb, cut into 4 cm lengths (see Baker’s Tips) 30g unsalted butter, finely diced
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
To make the apple and rhubarb filling, use your fingertips to rub the cinnamon, vanilla bean paste and orange rind through the sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the flour. Peel, core and cut the apples into thin (about 3 mm) slices and place in a separate large bowl, along with the rhubarb and the sugar mixture. Use your hands to toss gently to combine evenly.
Spoon the apple and rhubarb filling into an ungreased 23cm diameter (top measurement) ceramic or metal pie dish (see Baker’s Tips) and then dot with the diced butter. Brush the edge of the pie dish with the whisked egg.
Roll out the vanilla sour cream pastry to make a pie lid about 5 mm thick. Use a 2cm round cutter to cut out a circle form the centre of the pastry. Carefully drape the pastry loosely around the rolling pin and place on top of the pie. Use your thumb and index finger to press the pie pastry top onto the rim of the pie dish to seal. Use a small sharp knife to trim the excess pastry from around the edge. Brush the top of the pie with some of the remaining whisked egg and then sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 40-45 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 cream, ice cream or custard.
For this recipe you will need a ceramic pie dish measuring 23cm across the top, 17cm across the base and 7cm deep.
You will need about 1kg untrimmed rhubarb for this recipe.
To check if the apples are tender, insert a skewer into the centre of the pie.
Indulgent is the one word (and possibly the only) that comes to mind when describing this dessert. Custardy bread, pecans, bananas and a rich caramel sauce combine to make this one very decent over-the-top offering.
Melted butter, to grease
600g day-old sourdough or crusty loaf, cut into 1cm-thick slices, crusts partially removed
60g butter, softened
3 ripe medium bananas (about 200 g each), thinly sliced
100g pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
500ml (2 cups) milk
375ml (1½ cups) pouring cream
2 teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
Vanilla ice-cream, to serve
100g (½ cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
115g (⅓ cup) golden syrup
125ml (½ cup) pouring cream
Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Brush a deep 2 litre (8 cup) ovenproof dish with melted butter to grease.
Spread the bread slices with the butter. Top half of the slices with the banana and then cover with the remaining bread slices. Cut each ‘sandwich’ diagonally into half. Arrange the layered bread in the ovenproof dish, allowing it the stick up a little, and then sprinkle with the pecans.
Use a balloon whisk to whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla until well combined. Pour evenly over the bread in the dish and set aside for 30-60 minutes or until the bread has absorbed all the custard.
Meanwhile, to make the caramel sauce, combine the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until thickened slightly.
Sprinkle the pudding with the remaining pecans, pour over half the caramel sauce (reserve the remaining sauce) and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the top is golden and the custard is set.
Meanwhile, add the cream to the remaining caramel sauce and stir over medium heat until well combined and heated through.
Remove the pudding from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving with the warm Caramel sauce and ice cream.
This bread and butter pudding will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or cover with foil and warm gently in an oven preheated to 150°C (130°C fan-forced for 10-20 minutes (depending on the portion size).
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hailing from the 70s and reaching peak popularity in the 90s, sticky toffee pudding now sits alongside the likes of lemon delicious, rice pudding and chocolate fondants as a classic. Sweet, sticky and completely addictive, it is always a crowd pleaser.
200g fresh dates, pitted and chopped 250ml (1 cup) water 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 150g (¾ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar 2 eggs 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 18 x 28cm shallow cake tin with melted butter and line the base and two long sides with one piece of baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang the sides.
Place the dates and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until pulpy. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and then set aside for 20 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in the cooled date mixture and then the flour until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Meanwhile, to make the toffee sauce, put the butter, sugar and cream in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the pudding from the oven and pour a quarter of the hot toffee sauce over. Set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the warm pudding from the tin, cut into portions and serve drizzled with the remaining warm toffee sauce and accompanied by cream or ice-cream.
Any leftover pudding and sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat both separately in the microwave on medium in 1-minute bursts until warmed through.