Passionfruit Mallow Pie

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This deliciously retro dessert includes a frightening number of my most commonly avoided baking tasks – I’m still amazed that I even attempted it. It included the following:

  1. Pastry – Temperamental. Fiddly. Precision required. Avoid at all costs.
  2. Anything gelatine related – Yuck. Ew. Shudder. The texture alone. Easy to ruin. Avoid at all costs.
  3. Multi-layered cooking – Planning required. Reading ahead required. Multiple opportunities for disaster. Avoid at all costs.

And yet, the passionfruit sitting on my kitchen bench were begging to be made into this. I had also acquired a very fancy rolling pin some time ago that I had not yet used (so great is my fear of pastry). The rolling pin is adjustable depending on how thick you want your dough (see below). So I put my game face on.

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You will need: (note. 1 oz = approx. 28g)

 Pastry: 2 oz. self-raising flour, 2 oz. plain flour, 1 oz. custard powder, pinch salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 3 oz. butter (or substitute), 2 tablespoons milk or water.

 Filling: 2 oz. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, pulp 2 or 3 passionfruit, 2 dessertspoons cornflour, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 egg-yolk.

Marshmallow: 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup castor sugar, 1 teaspoon gelatine, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 egg-white, extra passionfruit pulp (about 3).

Do this:

Pastry: Sift dry ingredients into basin, rub in butter; mix to firm dough with milk or water.  Kneed lightly on floured board, roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Line in a 9 inch pie dish, trim, and pinch edges. Prick pastry with fork (oops). Bake in hot oven (about 200 c) for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool, prepare filling.

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Filling: Place in saucepan the butter, sugar, water and cornflour (which has been combined with lemon juice). Stir over low heat until mixture boils. (Mine boiled pretty darn quickly because I think I forgot the water . . . oops). Add passionfruit pulp, continue stirring, simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add beaten egg yolk. Cool slightly. Dollop onto and spread into pastry case. Meanwhile, prepare marshmallow topping.

Topping: Dissolve gelatine in hot water. Allow to cool. Add lemon juice. Beat egg-white with beaters stiffly. Gradually add dissolved gelatine, then sugar, beating continually until thick. Pile on top of filling in pastry case. Trickle extra passionfruit pulp on top. Allow to chill in the fridge.

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Verdict?

This dessert was delicious. The passionfruit and lemon gave it a nice tangy and the ever so subtle saltiness of the pastry meant that it wasn’t overly sweet. It also wasn’t too heavy. Not only that but it turned out pretty darn well. It’s given me the confidence to try pastry and layered cooking again.

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But I’m interested to know. What are you scared of when it comes to cooking?

Love Kath and Kate xx

 

 

 

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Baked Apricots

Well hello there 2016. I’m just emerging from a paradise of good food, good wine, good travel and really great company. The extended festive season was incredibly festive this time around and it’s sad to see it end.

Over the Christmas break we went over to Tasmania. My first and most definitely not my last time there. When we returned the apricot tree in Mum’s backyard was bursting with beautiful ripe fruit. The apricots were perfect to eat fresh when they still had a tinge of green to them, but I also couldn’t wait to cook with them.

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It takes 4 adults to encourage birds from out of the netting!

Looking to Nana’s books I found countless apricot recipes. However most wanted apricot nectar or dried apricots. While Nana had apricot trees in her orchard, availability was limited to season and the harvest from those trees. We take for granted now that we have much greater access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and are no longer reliant on tinned or preserved produce. And in saying that, we have also largely lost touch of seasonality of fruits and vegetables, with shops stocking produce from around the world all year. It really is a great thing to be able to go to your garden and pick a fresh apricot off the tree. So while I did not want a single fruit to go to waste, I also wanted to make sure these apricots were made into something simple and delicious. Like Nana would have wanted.

Baked Apricots

You will need:
– 1kg (2lb) ripe apricots
– 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or regular sugar if you prefer; see recipe below)
– 1/2 cup water
– Brandy or Cointreau (although I actually used sherry which worked well)

Do this:

Arrange apricots in an ovenproof dish (I halved mine before doing this and removed their stone). Sprinkle with vanilla sugar, water and brandy/liqueur. If the apricots are under ripe add a little extra water. Bake at 150c (300F) for approximately 1 hour. I served ours with some creamy vanilla yogurt and a crisp tuile, although they would be delicious with custard or ice cream.

For the Vanilla Sugar:

Cut a vanilla bean into short sections and bury in a cup of castor sugar in a screw top jar. Leave for a week or two, by which time the vanilla flavour will have permeated the sugar. An alternative to this is to warm castor sugar in a covered dish with a split and cut vanilla bean in gentle oven for 20 minutes.

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This is an incredibly simple dish and one that is great when you have people around. I prepared mine before guests arrived and then simply popped it into the oven just before we started eating dinner. The apricots were a wonderful end to a meal. They were fresh, tasty and not too heavy. Most importantly they got the tick of approval from my old man.

Love Kath and Kate x

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Heatwave Plum Pudding

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As Melbourne swelters through 41 degrees today, this post comes at a good time. Christmas lunch at Nana’s was always a roast. No matter how high the mercury reached all 16 of us would squish into her house with our piping hot meals, looking forward to pudding and custard for dessert. One year Nana was so concerned that the roast would go cold that she turned off the air conditioning. To everyone’s dismay the unit wouldn’t turn on again. That was a toasty Christmas.

These days our Christmas lunch is full of cold meats and salads. But what for pudding? I found the solution! Heatwave Plum Pudding. You’re guests will be puzzled, delighted, satisfied. This looks, smells and tastes like your traditional pud. But it’s a trick made for an Australian Christmas. Read on and you’ll found out how. . .

You will need: (don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients!)

  • 4 oz sultanas
  • 3 oz seeded raisins
  • 2 oz prunes
  • 1/2 cup sweet sherry (mine was medium and it worked really well – not too sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 dessertspoons gelatine
  • 1 oz currants
  • 2 oz mixed peel
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • curl of thin lemon rind
  • 3 oz cherries (I used pie filling cherries – yes I know gross. But they worked really well)
  • 1 oz preserved ginger
  • 1 oz blanched almonds
  • 1 dessertspoon lemon juice

(note: 1 oz is approximately 28g)

Do this:

Blanch the almonds (or don’t bother to put them in like me). Put the sultanas, currants, raisins and mixed peel in a saucepan and just cover with some hot water. Cook this for about 15 minutes until the fruit is plump. Drain well and cool a little.

Shred the almonds (if your using them). Slice the bananas, cherries, ginger and prunes. Mix well together in a bowl with the fruit that you cooked. Pour over half the sherry, cover with a plate and allow to steep for 30 minutes.

Put the half cup of hot water in a saucepan with the sugar, lemon rind and juice and bring to the boil.
Strain. Add the gelatine which has been softened in the cold water. Make up to half a pint with additional cold water. Add the remainder of the sherry and pour over fruit.

Place in a pudding basin to set. Chill very well. When turning out, run a little warm water over the basin until the sides of the pudding melt just a little. Then turn out onto a serving dish. Serve with ice cream!

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When I served this to my family they couldn’t believe it wasn’t a real pudding. Biting into it tastes like pudding, but it’s lovely, cold and refreshing. Not heavy like your traditional pud. Great for those who can’t eat gluten, wheat or dairy.

Keep cool!

Kath and Kate xxx

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Cinnamon Spice Biscuits

Some of my most vivid memories of my childhood are spending Christmas in Gunbower with my Nana and Pop. Each Christmas Eve Santa would drive around Gunbower’s streets in the town’s fire engine. All the children would run out to the street when they heard the fire engine coming and try to catch the lollies that Santa threw from the truck. Then scurry around mopping up those that had fallen to the ground.

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While children in the northern hemisphere put out milk for Santa, he always requested beer from my brother and I. But as tradition dictates there were always biscuits on the side (with the occasional rum ball) and a carrot for the reindeers (who only ever took a nibble).

This one comes from a little newspaper cutting in one of Nana’s books. Santa will love these biscuits. They are light, and somehow soft and crunchy at the same time. Cooking them fills the house with the scent of Christmas spices.

You will need:

  • 185g butter or substitute
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cinnamon Spice Sugar

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Do this:
Beat butter and sugar until soft and creamy, add egg, beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients; mix well. Cover bowl, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Take teaspoons of mixture, roll in balls then roll well in prepared Cinnamon Spice Sugar.  Place onto greased (or baking paper lined) oven trays; allow a little room for spreading (although mine didn’t spread too much). With back of fork, press out into an oval shape. Bake in moderate oven for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove and cool on wire rack.
Makes about 42 biscuits.

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Love Kath and Kate xx

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Chocolate Rum Slice

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Rum. It sometimes feels as though I can barely turn a page in Nana’s books without seeing this word printed or scrawled. I could probably dedicate a whole blog to the rum based recipes in Nana’s books (and could guarantee that they would all be as delicious as her famous rum balls). While this golden liquor is not my tipple of choice, mix it with some coconut, sugar and anything creamy and it’s a different story. The taste of rum (in baking) takes me back to my childhood, to sitting in my Nana’s kitchen after a morning on the farm with Pop.

As you may be aware by now, I am terrified of the slice. So many elements to go wrong. When flicking through Nana’s books recently to find something to take to a bbq with friends nothing could have been more appropriate than chocolate rum slice. I realised I would once again have to face my fears and tackle the dreaded slice. Here we go.

You will need:

Base
– 250g pkt plain sweet biscuits (I used the ever reliable Marie biscuit)
– 125g butter or substitute
– 1 tablespoon cocoa

Filling
– 220g white marshmallows
– 1/3 cup milk
– 125g dark chocolate
– 1 tablespoon rum (I used this amount purely as a suggestion – don’t be too shy)
– 3 teaspoons gelatine
– 1 tablespoon water
– 2 cups cream
– 1 cup cream, extra
– 30g dark chocolate, extra

Do this:
Combine finely crushed biscuits and sifted cocoa. Add melted butter, mix until well combined. I found that my mixture was still quite crumbly so I added a little more melted butter until I was happy with the consistency (this may be a little more dry and crumbly than you expect). Press on to base only of aluminium foil-lined 18cm x 27cm lamington tin. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
Filling: Put marshmallows, milk and chopped chocolate in top of double saucepan over hot water. Stir until marshmallows and chocolate are melted. Add rum, cool. Sprinkle gelatine on water, dissolve over hot water, then add to marshmallow mixture. Fold in whipped cream. Pour filling on to prepared base, refrigerate until set. Spread extra whipped cream over, sprinkle with extra grated chocolate.

To serve: Serve with good friends.

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This slice was very popular. I thought it would be too rich, but the marshmallow gives it a nice lightness. It looks like a cheesecake and even after eating it some could not be convinced otherwise. This one is a real winner!

Love Kath and Kate xx

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Got the Munchies?

Deliciously Ugly.

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This Picnic chocolate bar tag is most appropriate for these biscuits. No, you will not wow anyone with their appearance. But there is a reason why they have been dubbed ‘Munchies’ – they are delicious.
I made these late on a Sunday night when I really didn’t feel like cooking. I wanted something really easy. Every biscuit recipe seemed to require me to cream butter and sugar. Urgh, too much effort. So when I stumbled across these I was pretty happy. They are super simple and tasty.

Watch them fly off the kitchen bench.

You will need:
– 1 cup plain flour
– 1 cup sugar (I halved this amount and put in 1/2 cup which was perfect!)
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1 cup coconut
– 120g butter
– 1 tablespoon golden syrup
– 1 small teaspoon soda (small teaspoon? I’m assuming soda is baking soda?)
– 2 tablespoons boiling water

Do this:
Mix dry ingredients together. Melt butter, golden syrup and soda. Add to dry ingredients. Drop tablespoons of mixture onto a greased baking tray or tray with baking paper. Bake in moderate oven for approx. 15 minutes.

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These little gems remind me a lot of Anzac biscuits. Go forth and munch!

Love Kath and Kate xx

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Banana Slice

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A health blog that I read recently described the excitement of finding browning bananas in the grocery shop. Perfect for making smoothies the author explained. I fully comprehend this excitement. This weekend I discovered 10 browning bananas that had been thrown in the quick sale pile for a bargain $1.50. A little ‘eeek’ escaped my lips. However not at the prospect of protein smoothies. I was dreaming of banana baked goods. I snatched them up and cradled them home. I put one aside to cook with and the others were prepared for me to use later.

I have found the best way to save bananas is to peel them, slice them and then freeze them. But I’m always open to improving my method! So if anyone has suggestions please let me know.

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And what was to be the fate of the remaining banana? Banana Slice!
This recipe is a perfect example of many of the recipes in Nana’s books. The ingredients were not in order of use – very confusing for someone who doesn’t read ahead! There is also very little detail given. These days recipes tend to guide us through every minute step. The old recipes however, assume that you can cook. You need to trust yourself and  your instincts. Thankfully I did just this, well, mostly.

Ok, you will need: (don’t make my mistake – read ahead)
– 1 cup self raising flour
– 1/4 teaspoon bi-carb soda (cough cough, if you have any, cough cough – go out and buy some if you don’t!)
– 1/4 cup milk
– 1 beaten egg
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (definitely didn’t put this in – I’m 2 down already)
– 3/4 cup sugar (I initially forgot this, but realised when the batter had no sweetness. I also only added 1/2 cup which was a perfect amount!)
– 60g butter
– 1/3 cup of mashed banana
– 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg

For the icing:
– The recipe asks for lemon icing. So I combined 3/4 cup soft icing sugar, 3/4 cup pure icing sugar (both sifted), 15g of softened butter and just under 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. This just covered the slice. So, if you like to lick the bowl, like your icing thick, or are not the sort of person to test how far your petrol will get you, you could make more icing.

Nothing left over to lick off the spoon!

Nothing left over to lick off the spoon!

Please do this:
– Sift dry ingredients together. This includes the spices and sugar. I failed to do this until the end. Learn from my mistake.
– Melt butter, add to dry ingredients with the banana, egg and milk.
– Spread into a greased lamington tin. Say what? A lamington tin? I looked at my 20x30cm lamington tin and decided it was too big. Best go with it’s smaller 16x26cm cousin. This was a good move.
– Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for 25-30 minutes. Mine was ready in 20 minutes.
– When cool, top with lemon icing.

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The verdict:
– I was a little disappointed when the slice came out because it hadn’t risen as much as I had hoped (most likely due to the omitted ingredients – get your act together Kate!). But it really didn’t matter. The slice was still great. Not too sweet, still nice and light, and worked perfectly with the lemon icing.

Judging from the empty cake stand, this slice is a real winner! If you try with all the ingredients let me know!

Love,

Kath and Kate xx

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