Rosé poached pears with white chocolate sauce

Pears poached in rose wine.

 

Let’s talk desserts guys. More specifically, light summer desserts that would look great on your Christmas table. I do love traditional Christmas desserts, the rich puddings in all their fruity, custardy glory, but I know that these are not everyone’s favourites and not really suited to our hot South African Christmas. Enter the summer pear!

 

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Christmas phyllo crackers with salted caramel dipping sauce

Phyllo crackers filled with fruit mince

 

It’s December already and time to start thinking about what delicious things to make and eat these Christmas holidays! In our home we are starting to get into the Christmas spirit and my little ones especially look forward to lots of baking and treat making in the kitchen during their summer school holidays.

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Mince pie tart with Christmas custard

Mince pie with puff pastry and topped with stars.
Just a few days to go until Christmas (four sleeps to be precise), are you ready? We are looking forward to a family Christmas at home this year and will be celebrating with a relaxed festive lunch next to the pool – cannot wait!

Fruit mince tart with puff pastry and Christmas custard.
One of the nicest things about this time of the year is that we get to eat mince pies! In fact, just this morning my daughter and I baked up a batch of star topped mince pies to enjoy over the Christmas week, and we will no doubt also be leaving a few next to the tree on Saturday evening.
Mince pie tart slice with stars and custard. Green Christmas leaves dusted with icing sugar.
This mince pie tart is the larger version of our favourite mini mince pies and is ideal for any Christmas get together – as a dessert at lunch or dinner or even with afternoon tea. Take it to the next level with this lavish Christmas custard which is delicately flavoured with spices and orange zest.
This is my last post for the year, thank you so much for reading and following my kitchen tales in 2016! There is lots more to come next year, but in the meantime here’s wishing you a glittery and treat filled Christmas. x
Mince pie tart slices for Christmas.


MINCE PIE TART WITH CHRISTMAS CUSTARD

For the tart:

  • 2 small apples (about 200g)
  • 1 x 454g jar fruit mincemeat
  • 2 tbsp mixed citrus peel
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • flour for dusting
  • 400g ready made puff pastry
  • star shaped cookie cutters
  • milk for brushing
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

For the custard:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350ml milk
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 1½ tsp finely grated orange rind
1.) Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 20cm tart tin. 

2.) Peel and grate the apples. Squeeze out any excess liquid and place in a mixing bowl. Add the fruit mincemeat, citrus peel and brandy. Mix well.

3.) Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Line the tart tin with puff pastry. Cut the excess pastry away from the rim. Press the scraps into a ball and roll out again. Cut out star shapes of various sizes.

4.) Tip the fruit mince mixture into the tart tin. Arrange the stars on top of the tart and brush lightly with some milk.

5.) Bake the tart for 35 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

6.) To make the custard: Whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar together until pale and creamy. Whisk in the flour and cinnamon. Place the milk and cloves in a saucepan over a medium heat and heat just until boiling point. Remove from the heat and carefully add half of the milk to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Then add the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and heat slowly while whisking. Add the vanilla paste. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the custard is quite thick. Remove the cloves and stir in the orange rind. Transfer to a warm jug.

 


Recipe round up: 10 fabulous edible Christmas gift ideas

 Edible gift ideas for Christmas.

 

Happy Friday! Christmas is just around the corner (eek!) and if the thought of hitting the shopping malls this weekend fills you with dread then this post is just for you.

Personally, I love getting edible foodie gifts. But more than that, I love making and giving foodie gifts. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a parcel of delicious goodies that have been beautifully packaged and made with love? So today I have rounded up some of my most popular gifting recipes that I am sure you and your specials will love too. And without further ado, here they are:

 

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Vanilla bean and almond meringues with mixed berry sauce

Vanilla and almond meringues with a mixed berry sauce.

At the end of November we packed our bags and headed out of the burbs for a weekend in the Overberg. This was a welcome break after a busy few weeks on the home and work fronts, plus a chance to spend some quality family time together. Our destination was a farm called Landmeterskop near Stanford and were invited to join some good friends who had been there before. What a gem of a place!

We stayed in the spacious and comfortable homestead surrounded by beautiful mountains, grazing sheep and the sounds of nature. The farm is a fabulous family destination and the children had the opportunity to feed the animals each morning and evening, milk the goats and go on a tractor ride. The grown ups enjoyed being able to switch off (there was hardly any signal on the farm) and some amazing star gazing in the evenings. Another highlight of the weekend was being able to collect fresh free range eggs in the mornings to enjoy for breakfast. Which brings me to this week’s recipe… but first, here are a few snaps from our trip.

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Christmas biscuit tree

Spiced Christmas reindeer and star cookies.

This week the nostalgic mood continues with another family inspired recipe. When it comes to food there is no question that baking is my first love, and when I think back to my earliest baking memories I am always reminded of childhood Christmases. The much anticipated, long December school holidays that felt like they went on forever were the perfect time for sun drenched afternoons in the pool and fun with friends, but a real highlight for me would be the Christmas baking. Each year I looked forward to making mince pies, biscuits and the decorating of the Christmas cake which my mum would have baked a few weeks earlier using my grandmother’s recipe. (And still does!)

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Festive rocky road

Summer holidays are here again and with them (hopefully) some much deserved down time for you all. For many of us this time of year is steeped in tradition, whether that centres around a getaway to a favourite holiday destination, Christmas festivities or the food we eat. It is also a time for reflection on the year gone by and the inevitable question – just where has this year gone? Continue reading “Festive rocky road”

Cranberry and white chocolate crunchies

There is a very simple story behind this one. Last weekend we were invited to a Christmas picnic with some playgroup friends and I was asked to bring a plate of sweet eats to share. “Fantastic!” I thought, right up my alley. Crunchies are usually always a hit with adults and children, and the fact that I was having a crazy weekend and needed something I could make in a jiffy made them even more perfect. I have a wonderful basic crunchie recipe which I have previously adapted to make chocolate crunchies and today I wanted to share the Christmas version that I made for the picnic.

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