Apple and cinnamon clafoutis

Easy French clafoutis recipe with apples

 

We’re keeping things simple this week with a beautiful but uncomplicated French dessert. Clafoutis, (pronounced kla-foo-tea) is traditionally made with cherries, but it works with lots of types of fruit. And don’t let the fancy name put you off – clafoutis is actually very simple to make. I decided to go for an apple version this time around, with plenty of cinnamon thrown in for good measure!

 

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Chocolate orange meringue pies

Orange meringue pie with a chocolate base.

 

It’s icy out there thanks to the deluge of snow the Cape has received over the last few days (so prettyyyyy!) but I am here to help with some gorgeous baked puddings served up in pleasing individual pie format, yay! Of the many cold weather comfort foods to look forward to at this time of the year home made pies are definitely in my Top 5. Plus you get major domestic god(dess) points for making them from scratch. If you are into savoury pies you might enjoy these creamy chicken and mushroom pot pies or these conveniently hand-sized spinach and feta empanadas. And for the dessert course look no further than these scrumptious mini chocolate orange meringue pies.

 

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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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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.

 


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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Chocolate meringue pie

Chocolate meringue pie.

A month or two ago I was given a large bag of home grown lemons. My husband immediately requested a home made lemon meringue tart, and as it is also one of my favourites I happily obliged. While I was whisking up the meringue and lost in my own thoughts a wave of inspiration hit me – if I could make a lemon meringue pie, why not make a chocolate meringue pie? (I often have chocolate on the brain, so this sudden idea should not be too surprising.)

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Caramel apple and blueberry tart

I know that I am not the only Capetonian who did a little dance of joy when the rain started on Sunday night. It was such a relief after the heat wave that has been stifling us. You could almost hear the garden greedily slurping up those much needed raindrops! It is still pretty warm though, and that got me thinking about this dish which my family loves to enjoy when that summer feeling is in the air and also in the colder months.

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