Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie

After our captivating adventure to Young (the Cherry Capital of Australia), I’ve been consumed by the idea of baking a cherry pie at home. I used a recipe from the book called New York Cult Recipes and the result was exactly what I’d hoped for in a cherry pie. The oozing cherries had just enough sourness and the crust was crisp and buttery. This brought back some nice memories of summer and our road trip.

Ingredients:

Pastry
250g cold unsalted butter, diced
500g plain flour
50g icing sugar
1 tsp fine salt
100ml cold water
3 tsp lemon juice
300g dried beans (for baking)

Filling
2 1/4 tbsp cornflour
2 1/4 tbsp lemon juice
900g sour cherries, pitted
200g granny smith apple, cored and diced, not peeled
175g caster sugar

Glaze
1 egg yolk
a little water
raw sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Method:

The Pastry
Using a food processor or grater, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly consistency. Incorporate the water and lemon juice and combine by hand just until you have a smooth dough. Divide into two balls of the same size, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

The Filling
Meanwhile, combine the cornflour with the lemon juice. Place this mixture and the cherries, apple pieces and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook together for about 15 minutes, stirring. Allow to cool completely.

Shaping and Blind Baking
Preheat the oven to 180C. If the pastry dough is too hard when it comes out of the refrigerator, let it soften. Butter and flour a 26cm pie dish. On a floured surface, roll out the balls of dough into two rounds large enough to hang over the edge of the dish by about 5cm. Place one of the rounds in the dish, then roll the overhang onto itself. Prick the pastry base with a fork, cover with baking paper and dried beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until dry and light golden. Fill the pastry shell with the cold filling. It is essential for the filling to be cold before attempting the lattice, otherwise the heat will make the strips of dough too soft to handle.

The Lattice
On a floured surface, cut the second round of dough into medium size strips. Lay the strips across the pie, evenly spaced. Peel back ‘odd’ strips and lay down the first of the perpendicular strips so it’s under the ‘odd’ strips and over the ‘even’ strips. Repeat the process, peeling back the ‘even’ strips this time for the second perpendicular strip to go under, and keep going in the same way with the last perpendicular strips, continuing the alternation. Pinch the edges to seal them.

Cooking and Serving
Brush the pastry with the mixture of egg yolk and water and sprinkle with the sugar (optional). Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Allow the pie to cool for at least 4 hours before cutting.

Classic Lamingtons

Lamingtons

Happy Australia Day! Despite the recent Christmas break, I’ve been looking forward to a relaxing long weekend at home and this holiday has come at the right time. To feel the essence of this day, I decided to try and make a traditional Australian dessert – Lamingtons. It’s believed that the recipe originates in Queensland and it was named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, although it might have been named for his wife, Lady Lamington. It’s an iconic dessert and would be a perfect complement to any backyard barbecue. I hope you have a great holiday!

Ingredients (serves 12):
125g butter, softened, plus 1 tbs extra, melted for icing
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (255g) self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
2 cups (320g) icing sugar
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa
1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water
1 cup (70g) shredded coconut

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Grease a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan. Line with baking paper, leaving a 2cm overhang on all sides. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in half of flour and half of milk until combined. Stir in remaining flour and milk. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 30-35 mins, until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 mins. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, sift icing sugar and cocoa into a medium bowl. Add extra melted butter and boiling water. Stir until well combined and smooth.
Cut cake into 12 pieces. Place coconut on a tray. Pierce a cake square with a bamboo skewer, being careful not to pierce all the way through. Dip cake into icing, then toss in coconut, to cover evenly. Place on a wire rack over a baking tray. Repeat with remaining cake. Stand for 1 hr, until set. Serve.

Ice Cream Sandwich

ice cream sandwich

In summer, there is no better treat than ice cream. When it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen, this one-minute dessert is the best solution, plus you get to try out a variety of flavours. All you need is a few ice cream tubs in your freezer and a pack of cookies. I used Arnott’s cookies and filled them with my favourite ice-cream flavours: Sara Lee ‘Strawberry & Cream’, Sara Lee ‘Salted Caramel’ and Bulla Creamy Classics ‘Mint Choc Chip’.

Bruschetta Alla Contadina

Bruschetta Alla Contadina

I like watching cooking shows and taking notes of recipes that people are so kind to share. I sourced this recipe from a show called Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia which I have already made for a couple of dinner parties this summer. It’s a great entrée, especially for an Italian-themed menu.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cloves garlic
2 brown onions
150g button mushrooms
Olive oil
Bread, thick cut 4 slices
200g full cream ricotta
100g rocket
1 wedge of parmesan cheese
1 pear
Vincotto or Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Method:
Crush 1 garlic clove. Finely chop onion and mushroom. Put a table spoon of olive oil into a hot pan and add the garlic. When garlic is slightly brown, add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms until browned. Remove and let cool in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to hot pan and add onion, cook until golden brown. Place in a separate bowl to cool. Toast the bread.
Once bread is toasted drizzle olive oil over the bread. Rub 1/2 garlic clove over the toast for flavour. Spread a tablespoon of ricotta over toast. Spread onion and mushroom over the top. Sprinkle the rocket over the mushroom and onions. Shave parmesan over the top as desired. Shave the pear and place over the top for decoration. Drizzle Vincotto for added flavour. Salt and pepper as desired.

My Mom’s Best Crêpes

crepes 1

To me, the idea of making crêpes seems intimidating. Since I can remember, the standard set by my mom has always been extremely high. Accepting the fact that my mom’s crêpes cannot be replicated to the same standard, I decided to give it my first go. I like that certain foods can transport you to a different time and place… being thousand miles away from my family, sometimes I just want to feel a little closer.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tbs sugar
salt to taste
1 cup flour

Method:
Melt the butter in a pot, add milk and bring to a warm temperature (do not boil), remove from the heat. Separately, beat the eggs, sugar and salt with a mixer in a bowl until it becomes fluffy. Add half of the milk mixture and half of the flour and continue beating. Add second half of the mixture and flour and beat until everything is mixed. Leave the batter to rest for 20 minutes. On a medium heat, bake crêpes on a crêpe pan flipping over once. Serve with maple syrup, honey or fruits of your choice.

crepes 2

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Vanilla Panna Cotta adj

Summer desserts are generally light, bright and easy to make. This panna cotta has become my go-to dessert at recent dinner parties. You can make it in advance and serve with seasonal fruits or berries.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups pure cream
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 x 5g gelatine sheets
fruits, berries to serve

Method:
Bring milk, cream, sugar and vanilla to the boil. Remove from heat. Add gelatine and stir until dissolved. Strain liquid, then pour into 6 x 125 ml moulds. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with fruits or berries of your choice.

Baked Blueberry and Banana Oatmeal

Baked oats
Breakfast is my favourite meal and whenever I find a new breakfast recipe, I jump on it straight away. I could never have thought that oats can be so versatile. Unit recently, I had only one way to make oats, but the more I get into cooking, the more options I find. This recipe by ‘Deliciously Ella’ is one of my favourites and is perfect for chilly winter mornings. See below her video on how to make it: