Chocolate cheese tart with dark chocolate ganache

Baked chocolate tart

 

Valentine’s Day is coming up and this lovely little dessert is perfect for the occasion. It’s inspired by an old chocolate tart recipe I made back in college whilst doing my food training, and I have adapted it by adding a decadent dark chocolate ganache layer and using my favourite sweet pastry recipe for the base. (And if making pastry from scratch for someone isn’t a sign of love then I don’t know what is!)

 

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Spinach and feta empanadas with red pepper sauce

Spinach empanadas with roasted red pepper sauce

 

Capetonians will be pleased to read that this post has nothing to do with the water crisis… argh, I said it! We are all a little bit obsessed right now you see, (one’s Facebook feed is enough to induce a severe case of hysteria!), and in uncertain times like these we could all do with a little comfort food. Like a golden pastry pocket that fits snugly in your hand, filled with a delicious cheesy spinach stuffing and dipped in a warming roasted red pepper sauce. I’ll take one! Or three…

 

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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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Mini tomato and chevin tarts (with video)

Chevin tomato tartlets


Following on from our puff pastry theme from last week, these moreish savoury tartlets are incredibly easy to put together and totally delicious! Yet another way to use puff pastry and I am not ashamed to say that I always keep a roll of the ready made stuff in the freezer for quick snacks like this.

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Mini chocolate and almond croissants

 Mini chocolate and almond croissants.

Hello foodies! I do hope the week has been treating you well, and if not hang in there as the weekend is just around the corner. And weekends mean brunch, and what is brunch without a few tasty pastries? I do love a good croissant every now and then, but did you know how easy it is to make them yourself? This week I am showing you how!

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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.

 


Lemon tart

Classic tarte au citron
This is a classic dessert and comes from one of my favourite cookbooks, “The Food of France”. I have made this lemon tart many times and it always goes down well with a crowd! I love citrus puddings and bakes, and tarte au citron is one of my absolute favourites. The sweet pastry used in this recipe is also lovely to work with and can be used in all sorts of sweet tarts.

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Spiced apple pie with creamy caramel custard

 Apple pie with lattice crust
Spring has sprung, and in typical Cape Town fashion the weather has gotten itself all confused. It is getting lighter in the mornings (always a good sign), but you usually still need a jacket for the early mornings, short sleeves for when the sun is blazing at midday, and an umbrella on stand-by for any afternoon downpours. Basically you need to make like a scout and be prepared – for anything!

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