dessert-heading

“And finally!” said Mrs Houdten. Olsen entered the dining room carrying a large tray with eight gold-rimmed white plates. He left it on the small table next to the piano. He brought two plates to the table and placed the first one in front of Mrs Houdten, the second one in front of my mother. A tiny biscuit castle rose from her plate. Inside was a square of muddy chocolate torte. Drops of pale custard and small bits of pistachio brittle surrounded the castle. Olsen returned to the table with two more plates. The geography teacher lifted his hand. “Not for me, I never eat dessert.” he said. Mrs Houdten grabbed her chest. “Never eat dessert?” she gasped. Her necklace broke, pearls were rolling over the soft carpet and the noisy wooden floor. “This night is ruined!” she cried. The men started picking up the pearls, the women started putting on their coats. In front of the house Mr and Mrs Blom got into their car. “Geography teacher!” said Mr Blom and slammed the door.

LEMON COOKIES WITH ROASTED ALMONDS

LEMON COOKIES WITH ROASTED ALMONDS

The lemon frosting turn these soft cookies into little cakes, ideal for the dessert course or to brighten up any other festive occasion. You can taste everything, the vanilla, the zucchini, the lemon and the almonds! Sweet, light and fresh! These do not keep as long as typical cookies and should be eaten within two days of baking.

(30 cookies)

 

120g soft butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

160g grated zucchini

finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

2 1/2 cup self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

 

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together in mixing bowl

Whisk in egg

Stir in zucchini and zest

Add flour, baking powder ad salt, mix until combined

Spoon teaspoons of batter onto lined baking tray, 6 cookies at a time,

not too close to each other

Bake in oven at 170˚C (fan) for 8 to 9 minutes

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes

Transfer to wire rack to cool completely

Top with Lemon Frosting and roasted almonds

 

 

LEMON FROSTING:

 

24 almonds

pinch of seasalt

2 cups icing sugar

3 tbsp lemon juice

water

 

Cut each almond into 4 of 5 pieces

Heat almond and salt in dry non-stick pan, stir until just starting to brown, let cool

Sift icing sugar into mixing bowl, stir in juice

Add drops of water if needed, consistency should be smooth but not too runny

Drizzle over cookies, arrange almonds on top

PISTACHIO FLAPJACKS

PISTACHIO FLAPJACKS FOR KIND PEOPLE

These simple, humble pancakes get the flavours of exotic far-away lands with the addition of vanilla, rose-water and pistachio. At breakfast, brunch, teatime or dinner, treat the ones who deserve it. Go all the way and serve with yoghurt, ice-cream or edible rose petals.

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp rose water

3 tbsp sugar

150g pistachio nuts, shelled

2 cups self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

2 to 6 tbsp grapeseed oil

honey

grated zest of 1 orange

 

Whisk first 5 ingredients together in mixing bowl

Finely chop 100g pistachio nuts and mix with flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl

Add to wet ingredients and stir until smooth

Chop rest of nuts and keep aside

Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons batter into pan

Fry over medium heat until flapjacks are golden on both sides

Repeat until all the batter has been used, add extra oil as needed

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with nuts

 

 

1890 Grape Salad

1890 GRAPE SALAD, BRAND NEW

Refreshing, simple and surprising! This dish traditionally gets smothered in sweetened cream cheese and served as part of main course or a buffet. By serving the grapes not only fresh but also pan-grilled, presenting the cream separately and adding cinnamon, Cognac, nuts and zest, this becomes a more contemporary, really inviting dessert.

330g seedless green grapes

330g seedless red grapes

330g seedless black grapes

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

2 tbs honey

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp Cognac

 

Combine grapes in large mixing bowl

Heat oil, honey, cinnamon and Cognac in pan

Add 250g mixed grapes

Stir over medium heat until skins just start to burst

Let cool

 

CREAM:

 

250g cream cheese at room temperature

6 tbsp Greek yoghurt

2 tbsp castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Combine ingredients in mixing bowl and stir until really smooth

 

TO SERVE:

 

100g pecan nuts, broken and lightly toasted

finely grated zest of 1 small lemon

 

Spoon fresh grapes into 6 to 8 bowls

Spoon Cream on top

Top with fried grapes

Sprinkle with nuts and zest

CINNAMON WINE COOKIES

CINNAMON WINE COOKIES

Not every guest is a fan of a rich dessert, but still like to end a meal with a special moment. That is when I serve these not-too-sweet perfumed cookies. Made with cinnamon and rosé (or red wine), they burst and crack during baking until they are completely irresistible. Serve them with the same wine used in the dough. This time I used Babylonstoren’s excellent Mourvèdre Rosé.

(24 cookies)

 

2 cups self raising flour

1 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup rosé

1/2 cup sugar

extra sugar for rolling cookies in

 

Combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in mixing bowl

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together oil, wine and sugar

Stir into flour mixture

Use hands and work into typical cookie dough

(On a very hot day, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes)

Roll into 24 balls

Spoon 1/2 cup sugar into small shallow bowl

Roll cookies in sugar

Arrange 8 cookies on lined baking tray

Bake in oven at 170˚C (fan) for 13 to 14 minutes

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes

Place on wire rack to cool completely

Repeat

CASHEW + CRANBERRY BISCOTTI

CASHEW + CRANBERRY BISCOTTI

There are many, many opinions on how to make biscotti, also many variations in texture, size, thickness, shape and length of the second bake. You have to try and test and adjust until you find the one that really works for you. This recipe works of me, sometimes they turn out neater or more even-sized than other times, but I have learned to relax and enjoy them just as they are! Often, for a more sturdy, robust biscuit, I add 1 heaped tbsp of white bread flour to the mix. Serve them with coffee, tea or wine. Dip, dunk or don’t.

1/2 cup castor sugar

1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups self raising flour

pinch of salt

1 cup raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

 

Whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, cashew nuts, cranberries and zest

Stir into egg mixture

Shape dough into ball

Cover bowl with lid or plate, refrigerate for 30 minutes

Divide dough in half, shape into two logs of 25cm each

Do not flatten logs, place on lined baking tray

Bake in oven at 160˚C (fan) for 25 minutes

(For an even bake, turn the tray around after 13 minutes)

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes

Lower oven temperature to 145˚C (fan)

Use a very sharp, finely serrated knife and carefully cut diagonally

into slices of about 1cm thick

(Use sawing action with very little pressure)

Arrange, cut sides up, on baking tray and bake for 10 more minutes

Let rest for 10 minutes

Place on wire rack to cool completely

 

Spotted-Truffels

DARK TRUFFLES WITH LEMON YOGHURT

TRUFFLES:

 

100g dark chocolate

80g milk chocolate

1/2 cup fresh cream

140g ginger biscuits

1/2 cup + 1tbsp desiccated coconut

grated zest of 3/4 (or whole) orange

2 tbsp raw oats

2 tbsp good cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Break chocolate into pieces and place with cream in small saucepan

Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted

Pour into mixing bowl

Place biscuits into a bag and beat with rolling pin

Stir crumbs into chocolate mixture

Stir in coconut

Add orange zest and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix

Mix in oats

Roll into 18 balls

Place balls on plate or tray lined with baking paper

Refrigerate for 20 minutes

Sift cocoa and 1 tsp cinnamon into bowl

Roll balls in cocoa mixture

Serve with small serving bowls of Lemon Yoghurt

 

LEMON YOGHURT:

 

500g thick natural yoghurt

2 (or 3) tbps lemon curd

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix yoghurt and curd together

Spoon into small serving bowls

Dust with cinnamon

Plum-Desert-Cakes

CINNAMON PLUM CAKE PUDDINGS

Six servings. I usually replace half the flour with ground almonds, but had none in the house. These look different every time, sometimes they spill over, sometimes they sink, sometimes they stay upright like determined little solders, but they never disappoint. They often get frozen, reheated and served with not-too-sweet custard.

150g really soft butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup selfraising flour

1 heaped tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

grated zest of 1 lemon

1/3 cup of milk

3 ripe plums

 

Cream butter and sugar together in mixing bowl

Add eggs and vanilla, beat until light and smooth

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt

Add to egg mixture and mix

Mix in cinnamon and lemon zest

Gently stir in milk

Spoon 1 tbsp of batter into bottoms of six ramekins

Cut each plum into 8 slices

Arrange 2 slices on top of batter in each ramekin

Top with rest of batter

Arrange 2 slices of plum on top of each cake

Bake in oven at 175˚C until golden brown, about 20 minutes

Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve

Much-love-paer-tart-Recipe

MUCH LOVED PEAR TART

250g store-bought shortcrust pastry, defrosted

6 ripe pears

4 eggs

2 cups thick cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt


Line bottom and sides of shallow pie dish with pastry

Place baking paper on top and fill with baking marbles or dry beans

Bake in oven at 190˚C (fan) for 6 tot 7 minutes

Remove baking marbles and paper, let crust cool

Peel pears, cut into slices and arrange on bottom of crust

Whisk eggs, cream, vanilla, sugar and salt together

Bake in oven at 170˚C (fan) until set, 25 to 30 minutes

Remove from oven and let cool

Serve lukewarm or at room temperature

FLOURLESS-NANTES-CHOCOLATE-CAKE

FLOURLESS NANTES CHOCOLATE CAKE 

A few years ago, on the day before my return to South Africa, I wanted to bake my Nantes landlady a thank you cake. I had no recipe, so I improvised and what turned out is the best flourless chocolate cake I know, I have made it several times since, and it is simply flop proof!

200g salted butter

200g dark chocolate

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp Cognac

6 eggs

85g almond flour

 

Line bottom of 22cm non-stick springform pan with baking paper

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat

Pour into mixing bowl, add sugar, cognac and vanilla, beat well

In a separate bowl, beat 1 egg until pale and fluffy

Beat into chocolate mixture

Repeat process with each of the 5 remaining eggs

Fold in almond flour

Pour mixture into baking pan

Bake in oven at 180˚C (fan) for 15 minutes

Lower heat to 170˚C and bake for 13 more minutes

Remove from oven and let cool in pan

Run a sharp knife around inside of pan to loosen cake

 

For a truly decadent experience, pour Chocolate Ganache over cake!

 

 

CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

 

1/3 cup fresh cream

160g dark chocolate

1 tbsp Cognac

 

Heat ingredients in saucepan over low heat

Stir until chocolate has melted

Let cool for a few minutes

Pour over cake