Sunday 30 September 2012

SPRING into action with our yummy desserts, you may be familiar with these recipes but we have added a little food dept twist! Enjoy!

Strawberry tart with black pepper pastry
Serves 8

• 1 cup (250ml) milk
• 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
• 3 egg yolks
¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
• 2 tablespoons plain flour
½ cup (125ml) double thick cream, whipped
• 500g strawberries, hulled, halved
• 1 tablespoon vino cotto
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Black pepper pastry
• 1 ⅔ cups (250g) plain flour, sifted
¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
• 175g chilled unsalted butter, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
• 1 egg, lightly beaten

1. For the pastry, whiz flour, sugar, butter and pepper in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add egg and pulse until pastry comes together in a ball. Enclose pastry in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, place milk and vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan over low heat and bring to just below boiling point.
3. Combine yolks, caster sugar and flour in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then strain into a clean saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until a very thick custard. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with baking paper and chill for 30 minutes.

4. Fold through the cream and chill until ready to serve.
5. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick, then use it to
line a greased 35cm x 11cm rectangular tart pan. Prick the base with a fork and chill for a further 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and weights and return the pastry to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until pastry is golden and dry.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.
7. Place the strawberries, vino cotto and brown sugar in a bowl and toss gently to combine. Spread the custard in the cooled pastry case, top with the strawberries and serve immediately.

food dept fact: Vino cotto, an Italian condiment made from cooked grape must or figs,
adds a sour element to sweet dishes, while delicate orange blossom water enhances citrus flavours. Look for both at gourmet food shops.

Blood orange margarita ice blocks with lime salt
Makes 10

You will need ice-block moulds and paddlepop sticks for this recipe. Be creative and make use different shaped moulds for some kitsch fun.

¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
• 2 cups (500ml) blood orange
• mineral water (such as Schweppes Agrum Blood Orange)
• 2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
¼ cup (60ml) tequila
• Finely grated zest of 1 lime, plus
¼ cup
• (60ml) lime juice and wedges to serve
• 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes

1. Combine sugar and
¼ cup (60ml) water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring for 2-3 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and simmer for 1-2 minutes until slightly syrupy. Transfer the syrup to a large heatproof bowl and allow to cool.
2. Place the blood orange mineral water in a large bowl and lightly whisk to
remove the bubbles. Stir into the cooled sugar syrup with the Cointreau, tequila and lime juice. Transfer mixture to a jug.
3. Carefully pour mixture into the ice block moulds, leaving 1cm at the top to allow for the ice block to expand as it freezes. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
4. To serve, combine the salt flakes and lime zest in a small bowl. Run the moulds
under water to release the ice blocks, then serve with the lime salt and lime wedges.

Grapefruit posset
Makes 4
Here's our twist on the old English dessert lemon posset, the grapefruit adds a slightly tart taste which cuts through the thick cream. With only 4 ingredients, it couldn't be easier.

• 1 ruby grapefruit, plus wedges to garnish
• 450ml double thick cream
cup (150g) caster sugar
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• Shortbread, to serve

1. Finely grate the grapefruit zest, then halve and juice (you’ll need 100ml). Heat
the cream, sugar and grapefruit zest in a saucepan over low heat for 2-3 minutes,
stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly
for 1-2 minutes.

2. Gently stir the grapefruit and lemon juice into the cream mixture, then divide
among four ½ cup (125ml) serving glasses. Chill for 4 hours or overnight until set.
3. Garnish the possets with grapefruit wedges and serve with shortbread.

Lemon curd, mascarpone & almond layer cake 
Serves 8
We know you all love this recipe, as so many have baked and sent us pics of this gorgeous sunny cake. The trick with layer cakes is to put the cooled cakes in the freezer for 40 minutes and then cut each in half. It makes it much easier to handle and you won't have too many crumbs. 

• 1 cup (150g) plain flour
• 1 tbs cornflour
cup (80g) almond meal
• 8 eggs, separated
• ¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
• 200ml thickened cream
¼tsp vanilla extract
• 250g mascarpone
• 1 cup lemon curd (recipe follows) or use good-quality store-bought lemon curd
Lemon syrup
• 400g caster sugar
• 2 lemons, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two round 20cm cake pans with baking paper.
2. Sift the flours and almond meal into a bowl, then sift again. In a separate bowl, beat yolks and 80g sugar with electric beaters until thick and pale. Set aside.
3. In a clean bowl, whisk eggwhites until soft peaks form. Whisk in remaining 85g sugar, then continue to whisk until glossy peaks form. Fold eggwhite mixture into yolk mixture. Working in 3 batches, fold in flour mixture until just combined.

4. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until pale golden and the
tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. For the syrup, heat sugar and 400ml water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring
until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium, then add lemon. Cover the surface with baking paper and simmer for 30 minutes or until the syrup has thickened and lemon is translucent. Set aside.
6. Lightly whip cream and vanilla with electric beaters, then add the mascarpone
and beat on low speed until combined.
7. To assemble, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 layer on a plate and brush liberally with lemon syrup. Spread with one-third of the curd and top with one-third of the cream. Repeat layers 2 more times, then top with a final layer of cake. Drizzle top with remaining syrup and decorate with the candied lemon slices. 


Lemon curd
Makes 1 cup
 These little jars of golden lemon curd make beautiful thank you gifts or look for decorative jars and sell them at your next local fete.

½ cup (110g) castor sugar
• Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
• 3 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
• 100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1. Place sugar, zest and juice in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add eggs, stirring to combine.
Return the pan to low heat and add the butter, a piece at a time, whisking constantly for 8-10 minutes until thickened.
2. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover surface with baking paper and chill lemon curd until ready to serve or pour into sterilized jars. Use as required.

Ricotta Doughnuts with Orange Blossom Glaze and White Chocolate Sauce
Makes 24 doughnuts

Before you start this recipe, head to a kitchenware shop and grab a kitchen thermometer. This the yummy the food dept. recipe requires patience and great restraint. These doughnuts are irrestistably delicious, bouncy morsels of soft dough, a citrus kick and wonderful then oozy white chocolate dipping sauce..... We dare you to stop at one.

• 1
½ cups (225g) plain flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 2 tbs caster sugar
• 1 cup (240g) ricotta
• 2 eggs
3/4 cup (185ml) milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 200g white chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125ml) thickened cream
• Sunflower oil, to deep-fry

Orange blossom & honey glaze
½ cup (180g) runny honey
• 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Finely pared zest of 1 orange.

1. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat the ricotta in an electric mixer for 1 minute or until almost smooth. Add eggs and beat for 1 minute until well combined. Add milk and vanilla, then beat for a further 1 minute. Beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Set aside.
3. To make the white chocolate dipping sauce, place chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water), stirring until melted. Set aside.
4. For the glaze, combine honey, orange blossom water, orange zest and
¼cup (60ml) water in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring, for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Set aside.
5. Half fill a wok or large saucepan with oil and bring to 160°C over medium heat (oil
should be hot enough for batter to sizzle and rise to the surface). In batches, drop heaped teaspoons batter into the oil and fry, turning, for 4-5 minutes until golden.
Drain on paper towel.

6. Toss the warm doughnuts with the glaze and serve with the dipping sauce. 

Pistachio ice cream with praline
Makes 1 litre

cup (100g) pistachio kernels
• 2 tablespoons glucose syrup

• 8 egg yolks
• ¾
cup (185g) caster sugar
• 600ml thickened cream
• 400ml milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pistachio praline
cup (100g) pistachio kernels
• 1 cup (220g) caster sugar

1. Pulse pistachios in a food processor until fine. Mix glucose and
¼ cup (60ml) boiling
water in a bowl. Add to the pistachio and whiz for 3-4 minutes until a fine paste.
2. Beat yolks, sugar and pistachio paste in a bowl with electric beaters until thick and pale.
3. In a saucepan over low heat, bring cream, milk and vanilla to just below boiling point, then whisk into egg mixture. Strain into a clean saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring,
for 3-4 minutes until thickened and smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover surface with baking paper and chill until cool.
4. Churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, then freeze for 4 hours or overnight. 

5. For the praline, grease and line a baking tray. Place pistachios on tray. Stir sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water in a pan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 3-4 minutes until a golden caramel. Pour over nuts and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour or until firm. Break into shards.
Serve the pistachio ice cream sprinkled with the praline shards.

food dept fact: Glucose syrup is available from the supermarket baking aisle. To hand-churn ice cream, pour the cooled custard into a shallow container and freeze for 2 hours or until frozen at the edges. Beat with electric beaters, then return to the container and refreeze. Repeat 3 times.

Recipes: Sally Courtney.


  1. I love the layer cake, it looks so delicious and impressive indeed! The posset is always a favourite too, great idea using grapefruit- yummo!

  2. What delicious recipes! And the photos are just gorgeous. We are just begging our autumn season but I'll be bookmarking for the spring.

  3. I think the Magarita ice blocks could be a bit of a summer sensation!! all the recipes look divine the layer cake will have to try

  4. Yay for Spring!
    Ah you guys know how to make me excited about a season I tell you! I have my eye on those blood orange pops.

  5. Your photos kill me - I could look at them for ages or should I say I have been looking at them for ages whilst drooling over each and every dessert. For me - I think f the blood orange pops are the winner...

  6. Gorgeous interpretation of spring through delicious recipes :)

  7. can't wait for blood orange season to try the margarita ice blocks. wonderful! x

  8. The photograph of your LEMON MASCARPONE and ALMOND LAYER CAKE is stunning and brought sunshine to a dreary Canadian winter day. I can taste it from here! Cannot WAIT to see my fist slice on a plate!