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’.

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.

Apple and Berry Crumble

Apple and Berry Crumble
Winter in Australia is generally sunny and warm, but it can also be miserably cold and wet. In any weather, you feel like something warm and comforting. This recipe is the best for winter cozy nights at home or whenever you feel like a delicious, yet healthy treat. The ingredients are so basic that you can whip it up in no time. The recipe is by my favourite blogger ‘Deliciously Ella’.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbs coconut oil
2 tsp cinnamon
6 red apples, peeled, cored and cut in cubes
1 cup strawberries or blueberies

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C. Combine the oats and the almond meal in a mixing bowl. Place the maple syrup, coconut oil and one tsp of cinnamon in a saucepan and heat until the coconut oil has melted and everything has mixed together. Pour this mixture over the oats and almond mixture and stir well until all the dry ingredients are coated. Place the apple into a saucepan, add some boiling water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add one tsp of cinnamon, put the lid on and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Once the apple cubes are soft transfer them into a baking dish, add strawberries or blueberries and layer the oats and almond mixture above it. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is browned. Enjoy!

You can also check out my Apple, Strawberry and Macadamia Crumble.

Chocolate Banana and Strawberry Bites

chocolate b&s bites
These chocolate banana and strawberry bites are the best way to utilise some left-over chocolate and can be made in no time. This is a great idea anytime you need to whip up a quick dessert – when you host an unexpected guest or when you simply feel like a little treat. All you need is one banana, one punnet of strawberries and some chocolate (I used dark). Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover the banana pieces and strawberries with chocolate and sprinkle with some nuts (optional). Set them on a tray covered with baking paper and refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

Apple and Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies

breakfast cookies
After I baked apple and cinnamon tea cake a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try another recipe from Teresa Cutter with similar ingredients but a different taste. These breakfast cookies turned out delicious and are perfect as a morning or afternoon snack (just remember to have one at a time).

Ingredients (makes 12):
1 cup apple puree or mashed ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1 tbs honey
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried apple, chopped

Method:
Preheat oven to 160C. Combine apple puree, vanilla, ground cinnamon, oil and honey. Add oats, coconut, raisins and dried apple. Mix together with hands, squeezing the mixture together until it starts to bind. Form into 12 cookies and roll them in oats for decoration. Place onto a lined baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Cool, then serve.