Desserts

Traditional pavlova

Pavlova is an Australian classic which is favoured in summer as a light and delicious treat.

Pavlova

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps cornflour, sifted
  • 3/4 tsp white vinegar
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110g tin passionfruit pulp
  • 250g punnet strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
  • 1 peach, sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 140°C. Fully grease a deep, 7 inch springform tin, then line the base and sides with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until sugar dissolves and the meringue is thick and glossy.
  3. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined.
  4. Spoon the meringue into the tin, and place on the oven’s lowest shelf, ensuring there’s plenty of room above for the meringue mixture to rise.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, or until the pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn the oven off, but leave the pavlova in the tin inside the oven for 1 hour to slowly cool.
  6. Just prior to serving, whip the cream to dollop consistency and spoon it onto the top of pavlova. Top with fresh mango, peaches, kiwifruit, strawberries, and passionfruit.

(photo credit: TLV and more via photopin cc)

Light and fluffy pancakes

Pancakes with Berries and Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tabs white vinegar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tabs white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tabs butter (melted)

Method:

  1. Measure the milk and stir in the vinegar. Set it aside.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Beat egg and milk together. Add the melted butter.
  5. Prepare medium-hot frying pan.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry, combining quickly and gently until batter is smooth.
  7. Put a little butter into heated pan and pour in a ladle of mixture spreading gently so not too thick as these will rise well if not too dense. If too thick they may not cook thoroughly.
  8. Turn pancakes once a good crop of bubbles appear, and edge looks a little dry.
  9. Enjoy with favourite topping while still warm.

Tip: Delicious toppings include maple syrup, fresh seasonal fruit, icing sugar and melted chocolate. For added flavour, try adding chocolate chips or blueberries into the pancake batter prior to frying.

(photo credit: matheusswanson via photopin | license)

Lamingtons

Love sponge cake? Then you will love lamingtons – an Aussie treat that always makes me think of Possum Magic, a celebrated children’s book by Mem Fox (my favourite author as a kid).

Lamingtons

Ingredients for the sponge cake:

  • 3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 180g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for the chocolate coating:

  • 4 cups pure icing sugar
  • 1 ½ cups cocoa
  • 1 cup milk, extra
  • 4 cups desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a 28cm x 18cm slice pan, and line the base with baking paper.
  3. Use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugar and vanilla into a light and fluffy cream.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the flour and milk until combined. Spoon the mixture into the slice pan.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked and golden. Leave in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. While the cake cools, sift the icing sugar and cocoa together.
  8. Add the milk and stir until combined.
  9. Divide the coconut between 2 bowls.
  10. Trim and then cut the cake into 12 rectangles.
  11. Dip each piece in the cocoa mixture, allowing the excess to drop off. Use 2 forks to toss in one bowl of coconut. Set aside on a wire rack and repeat with remaining cakes.
  12. Use the second bowl of coconut to repeat step 11, so each cake has a clean white finish. Store in an airtight container until required (up to 4 days).

(photo credit: nicodemo.valerio via photopin cc)

Rum balls

My sister invented this recipe and they are the yummiest rum balls I’ve ever tasted. I highly recommend these for your next Christmas celebration – they’re sure to be a hit with your guests!

Rum balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack Milk Arrowroot biscuits, finely crushed
  • 2 tabs cocoa
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • Extra desiccated coconut, or chocolate sprinkles, to decorate
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • ⅓ cup Bundaberg rum

Method:

  1. Remove sultana pedicels (stems). This step is optional, but rum balls are much nicer when you don’t need to chew on hard little stems!
  2. Soak fruit in rum until liquid is absorbed (overnight is best).
  3. Mix cocoa, desiccated coconut, sultanas and crushed Arrowroot biscuits until well combined.
  4. Add condensed milk and, if desired, more rum to taste. Refrigerate until firm.
  5. Roll mixture into small balls, then toss them in the chocolate sprinkles (or extra desiccated coconut if preferred).
  6. Refrigerate the rum balls until ready to serve.

Rum balls

(photo credit: Beppie K via photopin | license)

Gingerbread men

I love gingerbread men! These ones are designed not to spread while cooking, and have just the right amount of spice. My son loves helping to decorate them too.

Gingerbread men

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • Extra butter, to grease
  • 110g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tabs caster sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 300g (2 1/3 cups) plain flour
  • Extra flour, to dust
  • 2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 8-10 drops red liquid food colouring
  • 8-10 drops green liquid food colouring
  • Smarties, to decorate (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (or 150°C fan-forced).
  2. Grease two flat baking trays with butter.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolk and golden syrup and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, ginger and mixed spice.
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc, and place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 5mm thick. Use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes, but do not separate shapes from the dough yet. Place the rolled dough in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  6. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer separate the cut-out men, placing them on trays about 2cm apart.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the leftover dough.
  8. Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes or until brown. Remove gingerbread from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide icing among 3 bowls. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined. Add green colouring to remaining bowl and stir until combined.
  10. Place each of the prepared icings in small plastic bags (sandwich bags work well). Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate.
  11. If desired, add Smarties while the icing is still wet.

Puftaloons

These puftaloons are delicious, and super easy to make!  My Mum makes these fried scones to perfection, and I have fond memories of  my family enjoying these as a special treat.

Puftaloons

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Pinch salt
  • Oil or clarified fat
  • Golden syrup (to serve)

Method:

  1. Sift flour and salt together.
  2. Add milk, and mix into a soft dough.
  3. On a floured board, knead the dough lightly.
  4. Flatten to 1 cm thickness.
  5. Flour a small round cutter and cut circles from the dough.
  6. Heat a small amount of oil (or fat) in a pan,
  7. Gently fry the puftaloons until golden brown on each side.
  8. Place on absorbent paper to cool slightly, then serve with golden syrup.

Tip:  If using oil, ensure it has a high smoke point. I use rice bran oil.

Puftaloons

Blueberry muffins

Nothing beats a blueberry muffin for an on-the-go breakfast or a quick and tasty snack.

Blueberry muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) macadamia oil (or your preferred nut/seed oil)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 1 1/3 cups (200 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp extra sugar for muffin tops, to decorate (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190° C. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Fill any empty muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of water to ensure the muffins bake evenly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt with the 3/4 cup of sugar until evenly combined.
  3. Add the oil and the egg to a 500 ml measuring jug. Fill the jug with milk only until it reaches the 1 cup line marking. Add vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  4. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients, then stir with a fork until just combined.
  5. Use a spatula to gently fold the blueberries into the mixture.
  6. Divide the muffin mixture between the 10 muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle a little of the extra sugar on each of the muffin tops (for a little crunch).
  7. Bake blueberry muffins for 10 minutes, then test with a skewer inserted into one of the muffins. The skewer should come out clean or crumb-covered, not sticky. If the tops are cooked but the insides are not, cover the muffin pan with foil (being careful not to burn yourself!) and return it to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.
  8. Turn muffins out onto to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

Tip:  These muffins can be frozen in freezer bags for up to 3 months.

Blueberry muffins

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