Desserts: Lessons 1 – Special Dietary Needs + Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Lactose Free Chocolate Sauce.

I can’t believe I’ve arrived at the last module of the course; ‘Desserts’, it seems like only yesterday I walked into my first class in Kitchen 9. Now, desserts aren’t really my thing, I’m the kind of girl who when presented with a choice of 2 courses always picks entrée and main. Saying that I think I may be in the minority, I know that many people including my husband, love a sweet ending to a meal.

The focus of Lesson One was ‘Special Dietary Needs’, of which there seem to be many these days. In this class we made a GF Chocolate Cake with LF Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), an egg free Raspberry Mousse, which in class was set on top of the chilled chocolate cake, GF Sticky Black Pandan Rice and a vegan Coconut Gelato. If anyone is interested in any of the recipes, just drop me a line and I will shoot them through. 

Lesson One – Dessets

The cake was delicious, but I think mine was taken out of the oven just before it was ready, which is why it looks slightly collapsed at the tip. It’s one of the down sides of sharing oven trays with other students, someone may decide that theirs is done, & not worrying about the others whips the shared baking tray out of the oven without consultation. Due to the poor photo of mine I’ve also included some photos of Chef’s plates (always lovely). No matter, I think this is a lovely cake, with or without the raspberry mousse, and I’ll be making it again (and possibly again)! One of the tips in making the sponge is to grate the butter to hasten/assist in the creaming process…I love baking tips don’t you? The raspberry mousse couldn’t have been easier to make with only 4 ingredients; raspberries, sugar, cream and gelatine….it was also very tasty. The mixture needs to be cooled to 14C before it is poured onto the chilled cake and allowed to set for minimum of an hour before turning out on a plate. The mousse could also be made in dessert cups or dariole moulds and simply decorated with fruit and/or chocolate. The chocolate sauce is something I will definitely come back to; not only is it easy to make but it also makes for a healthy alternative and is none the poorer for the lack of milk or cream.

My wonky plate!

Whereas I’ve stated I’m not a dessert girl, I do enjoy making and eating ice cream and gelato, and there is always a homemade batch in my freezer. The one we made in class however is NOT one I would recommend to others or remake. The addition of dextrose and ‘ice cream stabiliser’ gave it quite a chemical aftertaste which I found unpleasant, so much so that I didn’t present it on my finished plate and didn’t even take a photo of it! Chef put a quenelle of it on a plate half way through the class and left it on the bench …it was still intact & unmelted 2 hours later…need I say more? The black sticky rice however was a thing of beauty and deliciousness. Not having tasted pandan flavour before I was delighted an became an instant fan. 

As you see, presentation continues to be an important consideration. The next lesson is cream based desserts and will include Pannacotta, Creme Brulee and a Pavlova…. sounds like it’s going to be a busy one.

Bon Appetit

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Gluten Free Chocolate Sponge with Lactose Free Chocolate Sauce
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

This is a fool proof and rich sponge cake which you can serve simply with a dusting of icing sugar and chocolate sauce, or dress it up with some ice cream and raspberry coulis. Berries and a sprig of mint make a colourful garnish.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Sponge Cake
Servings: 8 servings
  • 165 gm Almond Meal
  • 150 gm Chocolate – dark couverture
  • 125 gm Butter – unsalted
  • 80 gm Sugar – Castor 1
  • 50 gm Sugar – Castor 2
  • 6 units Eggs – separated
  • 60 ml Amoretto liqueur
  • 150 ml Water (1)
  • 85 gm Castor Sugar
  • 45 gm Chocolate – compound chopped
  • 12 gm Cornflour
  • 25 gm Cocoa powder
  • 50 ml Water (2) – cold
  1. For the cake: 

    Preheat oven to 170C and spray and line the cake tin (20 cm)

  2. Melt chocolate over a Bain Marie (gently)

  3. Whilst chocolate is melting cream together the soft butter and sugar (1) in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

  4. In a clean large bowl whisk egg whites by hand to soft peak and then add the sugar in three additions. Whisk until stiff peak and put aside. Do

  5. When the butter and sugar are creamed, add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  6. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the still warm melted chocolate, almond meal and amoretto, mix by hand ensuring almond meal worked through.

  7. Carefully fold in the meringue to the chocolate mix.

  8. Pour into prepared cake tin and push mixture to side of tin to reduce ‘doming’. Bake for 40 – 50 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean, in the preheated oven. Check after 35 mins.

  9. Cake Quality Note: If the sugar and the butter are not sufficiently creamed to ensure the sugar is well incorporated into the mixture, sugar crystals will develop on the top of your cake. 

    This cake will rise but will collapse due to the lack of any flour.

  10. For the chocolate sauce:

    In a saucepan bring the sugar and water (1) to the boil. Take off heat and add the chocolate and allow to melt.

  11. Sift the cornflour and cocoa powder together twice, add water (2) and mix it to a paste.

  12. Place the saucepan with the melted chocolate back on the heat and add the paste whilst whisking quickly. Return to the boil and continue to cook out, whilst stirring until you reach desired consistency.

  13. Pass the sauce through a fine strainer and serve hot or cold

  14. Quality Note: If sauce gets too thick it can be thinned with sugar syrup.

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Cakes, Pastries & Bread – Lesson 5 & 6 – Laminated Yeast Dough +Tiramisu

It’s been a few weeks since I last updated you with what is going on at college. I’ve had a lot on with class, finishing the monster assignment (done and submitted), Easter break with visitors and house guests, as well as the seemingly never ending house repairs. In Lesson 5 we produced Danish Pastries, requiring Creme Patisserie, and Tiramisu (non-traditional recipe below), requiring the making of the sponge biscuits (savoiardi/lady fingers).

Lesson 5

The yeasted dough was the first task, but I didn’t get to make it as I was caught up for 2 hours in a traffic jam, due to a horrific accident which threw the north of Sydney into grid lock. I called ahead to chef explaining the situation, so he was fine to give me half of his dough when it came to making the Danish. One of my lovely friends had already set up my workstation and had also weighed out my ingredients. When making this pastry, first you make the yeasted ‘paste’ then you incorporate the butter as you would if you were making puff pastry. Here are a few photos of chef preparing the dough.

I made the creme patisserie and was able to assist one of the other students in rolling out the finished dough. We used a template to cut the dough into squares ahead of making the various types of Danish; Cherry Diamonds, Apricot Windmills & Bear Claws.

The sponge fingers are very easy to make, simply 2 eggs (separated and the whites whisked until soft peak), 100g of castor sugar, 85g of plain flour and vanilla essence. Whisk the egg whites, add the sugar in 3 amounts, carefully fold in the yolks and lastly gently fold in the sieved flour. The batter is then piped onto baking trays and sprinkled with a little castor sugar and baked until golden (@ 8 mins in 220C preheated oven). Unfortunately, all the sponge fingers were left a little longer than required, so they were over done slightly. Not to worry, they weren’t burnt so once they were smothered in the Tiramisu mix all was forgiven.

The traditional method of making Tiramisu (translated as ‘Pick me up’ due to the inclusion of coffee) is much more straight forward, calling for uncooked eggs and no gelatine. However, due to concerns re salmonella, the college doesn’t advocate for the traditional method. I’ve only ever previously made it using the traditional method, which is dead easy, and I’ll probably continue to do so at home, but I’ve provided you with the alternative method below. We assembled the Tiramisu’s in takeaway containers, liberally dusted them with cocoa powder in readiness for sale at the college shop.

The final lesson of the Cakes, Pastries and Bread module was the review/assessment, in which Chef observed the students making a number of items taught in previous lessons. The only guidance was we were finish all cooking and present our items for assessment by 1.30pm. We divided ourselves into groups of four so as to share one of the three large commercial ovens. We agreed which recipes we would make in what order which was important because sharing the oven meant we had to cook the same items at the same time. The items to be produced were; 4 fruit tarts filled with creme patisserie, 12 white bread rolls, 6 eclairs and 6 profiteroles filled with creme patisserie and glazed and a Genoise Sponge, filled with jam, Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries. HUGE!

Lesson 6 – Revision

My group decided to make the Genoise Sponge first as it needed to rest in the fridge before assembly. We then made the bread dough, as it needed to be rested before baking, followed by the sweet pastry for the tartlets. Next came the creme patisserie, the chox pastry and finally the Chantilly cream and fruit preparation for the tarts and the sponge. In readiness for this revision lesson I did some practice at home, for which I was glad as I realised I was making my eclairs and profiteroles far too small.

Given the number of items to make, I didn’t have time to stop and take photos, except for the sponge, which was smaller than the one I made in lesson one (the cake tin was a lot smaller) but turned out well. The only issue I had was with my creme patisserie, which I’ve never had issues with before. It had an identity crisis and thought it was Creme Anglaise 😳! It was far too thin as I didn’t take it far enough on the heat. Do you ever make such silly mistakes with recipes you have made perfectly many times before? The Genoise could have done with more creme but I was sharing the mixture with another student and didn’t want to be greedy….still it looked good and the texture was perfect.

Genoise Sponge

I passed the assessment, even with too thin creme pat, and am now only one module away from completing the course work of the certificate. Next week we start the final module, Desserts, I hope you drop by to see how it goes.

Bon Appitet

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

Meaning “pick me up” in Italian, this classic dessert features luscious mascarpone cheese layered with coffee-soaked sponge fingers, a touch of liqueur and dusted with cocoa. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Tiramisu
Servings: 4
  • 20 units Savoiardi biscuits (Sponge fingers)
  • 2 units Egg yolks
  • 2 units Eggs, whole
  • 100 gm Caster Sugar
  • 2 units Gelatine Leaf
  • 15 ml Lemon juice
  • 250 gm Mascarpone Cheese
  • 250 ml Cream (35%)
  • 200 ml Espresso or Coffee essence & water
  • 50 ml Masala or Tia Maria
  • 150 gm Sugar
  • 10 gm Cocoa powder (garnish)
  1. Syrup: 

    1. Dissolve sugar in coffee

    2. Add liqueur

    3. Dip sponge fingers in syrup – but not too long or they will fall apart

  2. Tiramisu Mixture:

    4. Whisk cream to soft peak

    5. Soak gelatine in cold water until soft. Warm lemon juice and dissolve gelatine

    6. Whisk eggs & sugar over a bain marie until ribbon stage. Cool slightly & add mascarpone that has been creamed to a soft consistency.

    7. Add gelatine mix and fold in the cream.

  3. Assemble: 

    8. Place a layer of the soaked sponge fingers in a suitable container and spoon over half the mascarpone mixture.

    9. Place another layer of sponge fingers over the top and spoon the remaining mascarpone mix over the fingers.

    10. Place in the fridge and allow to set  – at least an hour.

    11. Before serving dust with cocoa powder.

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Cakes, Pastries & Bread – Lesson 4 – Breads + Easy Chocolate Muffins

Boy oh boy…..time just got away from me over the past few weeks. Work, as always, has been busy, then there has been college and preparation for each lesson, not to mention the MAMMOTH assignment that I needed to finish asap so as I could restart some weekend commercial kitchen experience. To top off an already crazy time, a bevy of builders have practically demolished the back part of our house to start the long overdue repairs due to a huge Angophora (tree) falling on our house last year. Phew…that’s a long way to say…this post is late. 

Week 4 Lesson Plan

This was Bread Week and as you see from the lesson plan, we made some fruit buns, bread rolls, a baguette, a standard white cob, some lavosh wafers and mini chocolate muffins. First we made the dough for the white bread which we used for the rolls, baguette and the cob. Whereas I have worked with yeasted breads before, my preference is to use a sourdough starter (mine is hibernating in the fridge at the moment as I’ve been too busy to bake). Having said that, this method is less time consuming as once the dough is made it only needs to rest for 15 minutes before its portioned out and shaped. Once shaped they only need 35 – 40 minutes of proving time before baking. 

Chef decided that with the fruit dough we would make 6 fruit buns and 2 hot cross buns. As the mixture had no spices added I don’t think it was really suitable for hot cross buns. I make a few batches every Easter and I think the addition of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves is essential for a good hot cross bun……what about you? It’s amazing what a bit of glazing does to the finished product.

As there was a function on, the college also caters for various functions, chef changed the plan from making 12 standard size muffins to making mini muffins. These took about 10 mins to whip up, including greasing the muffin tray, and only 12 minutes to bake. If making the mini muffins, simply adjust the temperature up to 190C (the smaller the item the higher the heat). These freeze well and will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container. Where as the recipe we made called for the addition of nuts, I prefer them without (recipe below). 

Chocolate & Nut Muffins

I didn’t think the lavosh was a great success. Chef made the dough for the whole class and we rolled our portion using a pasta machine. It was late in the class and there was just so much going on that people lost focus and some were overcooked. The lavosh dough is simply bakers flour, egg, butter, salt, sugar, milk and sesame and/or poppy seeds. I can see these working well if more attention is provided. 


Only one more lesson in Cakes, Pastries and Breads, in which we will make 12 Danish pastries and Tiramisu, including the sponge fingers. Hope to see you then.

Bon Appetit

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Chocolate Chip & Nut Muffins

A quick and easy recipe for chocoholics or for someone who likes the occasional chocolatey treat. These no fuss muffins tick all the boxes!

Servings: 12 Muffins
  • 300 gm Plain flour
  • 13 gm Baking powder
  • 5 gm Baking soda
  • 20 gm Cocoa powder
  • 114 gm Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 200 gm Castor Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 250 ml Milk, (buttermilk or full cream)
  • 15 ml Vanilla extract
  • 275 gm Chocolate chips (dark)
  • 40 gm Nuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 190C and spray muffin tin and paper liners with non-stick cooking spray

  2. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and gently fold until JUST combined – don’t over-mix.

  3. Divide the batter into 12 muffins cups and bake @ 190C for 5 mins. Reduce the temperature to 180C and continue to bake for another 12-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  4. Be careful not to over-bake. Turn out on to wire rack to cool for 5-10 mins and enjoy warm or cool.

  5. Note: Muffins taste best the day of baking but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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Cakes, Pastries & Bread – Lesson 3 – Puff and Shortcrust Pastry + Apple Jalousie Tart

If I had to choose between savoury or sweet, savoury would win hands down every time! What about you? Moving into some savoury baking is very welcome and in this lesson we made, Salmon and Cherry Tomato mini Quiche, Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Pies and Apple Jalousie Tart.

The Lesson Plan
Lesson 3

There is a lot of resting time with pastry, but there was more than enough to do whilst the pastry ‘relaxed’ in the fridge. Puff pastry takes the longest to make and is a labour of love, which pays off if your pastry turns out buttery and flakey… which I’m pleased to report mine did. There is a lot of pinning, (aka rolling), and folding which creates the lovely layers you are looking for. I’ve made Puff from scratch a few times but have never used ‘sheet butter’ before, using this means you don’t have to bash the cold butter to the required shape…what a good idea. Once the base ‘Puff Paste” has rested, it is pinned to what should be a cross shape, the butter is placed in the middle and the four edges folded in, pinned and ‘turned’. For this pastry we did 5 ‘turns’; 1st roll x 2 turns then rest, 2nd roll x 2 turns then rest, 3rd roll x 1 turn then rest. After the final resting period the pasty should have nice lamination & is good to go.

NZ sheet butter
Turned and in fridge for resting

Making Shortcrust Pastry is much more straight forward and the quality points are; don’t over-mix once the flour is added or it will get tough, don’t over handle or it will get tough, use your finger-tips only as your hands are warm and will heat the pastry, roll/pin the pastry in different directions to reduce shrinkage, keep a well floured board when working with the pastry so it doesn’t stick, be fast and finally, rest the pastry sufficiently after each roll. A good little cheat to speed things up is to grate the cold butter into the flour ( I love these little tricks). Look at the difference in colour of the Puff Paste, before the butter is added to the shortcrust which has the butter added….

Grated butter

The Shortcrust pastry was used for the base of the pies and the mini quiche, whilst the Puff was used for the tops of the pies and the Apple Jalousie. The mini quiches were easy. The tart tins were docked to assist in cooking the base, the pastry was rolled to 3mm and cut to size and moulded carefully in the tart tins before distributing the salmon, dill and tomatoes amongst them. The quiche mixture, (eggs, cream, a pinch of cayenne and seasoning), was added to 3/4 full and a final flourish of grated cheese was added before popping in the oven to bake at 175C for 30 – 35 minutes, or until light brown.

Mini Salmon and Tomato Quiches

The Chicken and Leek Pies were very tasty and the quality points are; ensure the pie filling, (chicken thighs, leek, mushroom, garlic, seed mustard, chicken stock, flour, sour cream, tarragon and seasoning) is cold when it goes into the chilled tart cases and don’t overfill them, spray and dock the tart tins but not the pastry itself, ensure the puff pastry tops are cut slightly larger than the bases and make incision on top after egg washing to allow steam to escape. The bases were not blind baked before filling, topping and baking at 175C for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden.

Chicken, Mushroom and Leek pie

The final task was to make the Apple Jalousie Tart. In French, the word Jalousie can either mean jealousy or shutters and the tart borrows its name from the second as, usually, the top is slashed with horizontal lines which when baked resemble shutters. Ours did not have this particular decorative finish, but looked lovely just the same. The pastry was pinned to 4mm thick and the bottom docked before piping frangipane (almond cream) down the middle and covering with thin slices of Granny Smith apple and the edges egg washed. The slightly larger top was put on and sealed before making the slashes and crimping the edges. The top was egg washed and the tart was baked in a hot oven for 12- 15 minutes.

Look at those layers
Apple Jalousie Tart

The next class is all bread, it’s yeasted bread and not the kind I usually make at home, which is sourdough using my sourdough starter, but nonetheless a process with which I am very familiar. I hope you come back to see the last lesson in this block. Until then….

Bon Appetit

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Apple Jalousie Tart

This is very easy but impressive looking tart, particularly if you use a good quality shop bought Puff Pastry. All you need is some frangipane (almond cream) and a few uncooked Granny Smith Apples…can’t get easier than that. Once made, a sprinkling of icing/confectioners sugar finishes the tart nicely.

  • 50 gm Caster sugar
  • 50 gm Butter, unsalted
  • 50 gm Almond meal
  • 1 Egg
  • 10 gm Plain flour
  • .25 Lemon zest, of a lemon
  • 2 Apples, Granny Smith
  • 1 Egg
  • 50 ml Milk
  • Water, dash
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. Make the frangipane:

    Beat the caster sugar, softened butter and grated lemon zest until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and almond meal until just combined and place in a piping bag. 

  2. Prepare the Apples:

    Peel core cut in half and slice apple into thin slices

  3. Prepare the pastry: 

    Roll out to approximately 4mm thick. Cut 2 strips, 1 at @ 10 cm wide (bottom) and the other @ 11cm wide (top). 

  4. Dock the base only and pipe the frangipane down the middle – don’t pipe too much. 

  5. Place the sliced apples atop the frangipane.

  6. Egg wash the sides, top with the other strip, seal, crimp, make slashes across the top and egg wash.

  7. Bake in hot oven (200C) for 12 – 15 mins.

  8. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

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Cakes, Pastries & Bread – Lesson 2 – Choux & Sweet Pastry + Fruit Tartlets

This week the lesson was not only Choux & Sweet Pastry but also decoration of the finished products. Once upon a time Choux Pastry was my friend, I could turn out the puffiest profiteroles, but now it seems they are my nemesis, or at least the piping of them. I need to go back and find the Vogue recipe I used ‘way back when’ to see if there was a trick I can’t recall (probably not). Today’s effort wasn’t too bad but quite frankly my eclair piping was tragic! Today we made 6 eclairs, 6 profiteroles and 6 fruit tartlets, with creme patisserie and various glazes and icings, and the class went so quickly.

Lesson 2 – Choux and Sweet Pastry

A few of us always get to the kitchen early, around 7.15am, and we use the time for our mise en place. Apart from getting all my utensils out, setting up my work area and collecting all the saucepans, pots, & bowls which were required for class, I also set up 3 trays for the ingredients, 1 for Choux Pastry, 1 for Sweet Pastry and 1 for the Creme Patisserie. It just makes it easier to have all the ingredients for each recipe together.

My workstation

As the pastry for the fruit tartlets had to be rested twice, making the pastry was the first task we tackled. Unfortunately I was unable to use a stand mixer in the class as the power at my workstation was not working, so everything I made was done the old way, by hand. Luckily I usually make Pate’ Sucre by hand, so it wasn’t a big issue.

Pastry made and in the fridge, I turned my attention to the Choux Pastry. Chef informed us that there are three quality points regarding choux, (I actually think there are four, as terrible piping can ruin the end product), 1. not cooking out the flour, 2. adding the eggs too early and 3. having the oven at the wrong temperature. Generally the oven is 190c but chef cranked it to 200c as he wanted them very crisp. It is important to add the eggs to the panada (mixture of water, salt, butter and flour) one at a time & only when the mixture is a temperature between 40 and 50c. To assist in dropping the temperature, move the mixture to a cold bowl you’ve pre-chilled in the fridge. Once the eggs have been added and the mixture is at ‘drop’ stage, you can fill the piping bag and pipe the mixture as desired. As you can see, we used templates under the baking paper to ensure consistency in size of the end product. Bake in the oven for @ 40 mins until firm, cool on a rack and decorate as desired.

The Creme Patisserie took no time to make and it was a good recipe which I will be adding to my favourites (recipe below). As we needed enough for 12 choux pastries and 6 tartlets, we made quite a lot. There is no plain flour in the recipe only cornflour and I think it made a big difference to the end product. A few quality points to observe are; ensure your saucepan is clean, when stirring the mixture get right into the edges & keep an eye on it as it is quick to ‘burn’ at the edges. Also, ensure the mixture is cooled slightly before adding the softened butter and when storing in fridge to cool down, ensure the cling film is touching the surface to avoid a skin to form.

Creme Patisserie ready for the fridge

The fruit tartlets were the last item of the day (recipe below). We used the ‘cream’ method rather than the ‘rub in’ method to make the pastry, either will produce a nice one. Some of the tips that Chef shared with us were; don’t handle the dough too much once the flour is added, be quick & gentle and move it to the fridge to relax the gluten…over working it will make the pastry tough. Placing the pastry between two pieces of clingfilm when rolling out will avoid it sticking to the work surface (at home I use a marble slab which does the trick). Always roll the pastry in various directions, this combats shrinkage. Finally, if possible, only use ‘virgin pastry’, pastry which has been rolled and cut only once, when making your tarts as this too will reduce shrinkage. All in all the tartlets turned out well.

Next week the focus will be Puff and Shortcrust Pastry, Mini Apple & Frangipane Jalousie, Salmon, Cherry Tomato and Dill Tartlets and Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Pies (yeah – savory 😊). I hope you pop back to see how it’s all going and leave me a comment if you like.

Bon Appetit,

Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Glazed Fruit Tartlets
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Resting Time
1 hr 40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

Crisp sweet pastry tart shells filled with Creme Patisserie and topped with glazed fruit. A lovely sweet treat to share for morning or afternoon tea or as desert after a light lunch.

Course: Dessert, Pastry
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Fruit Tartlets
Servings: 6 Tarts
  • 125 gm Butter, unsalted
  • 75 gm Castor sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 5 ml Vanilla essence
  • 250 gm Plain flour
  • 250 gm Milk, full cream
  • 1/2 Vanilla pod
  • 2 Eggs
  • 125 gm Sugar, castor/super fine
  • 35 gm Cornflour
  • 30 gm Butter, unsalted
  • 6 Strawberries, cut
  • 1 Kiwi fruit, peeled and cut
  • 12 segments Mandarin, tinned
  • 6 Apricots, tinned – halved or sliced
  • 12 Grapes, black
  • 100 gm Apricot conserve/jam
  • 25 gm Water
  1. Make the pastry: Blend the softened butter and sugar thoroughly. Gradually add the egg and vanilla essence. Fold in the sifted flour but don’t over work. Form into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge at least an hour.

  2. Make the Cream Patisserie: Heat the milk with half the sugar and the vanilla pod. In a bowl combine the eggs, sugar and corn flour. Pour the milk gradually to the egg mixture, mix well and return to a slightly wet saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook for two minutes stirring continuously (be careful not to let it burn at the edges). Add the butter to the slightly cooled mixture. Pour into another bowl/container and cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.

  3. Make the tart cases: Lightly grease 6 individual tart shells. Roll out the pastry to a an even thickness of 2mm. Line the tart shells with the sweet pastry. Rest the tart cases in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  4. Bake the tart cases: Dock the bases of the tarts & blind bake the tart cases (using baking paper and baking beans/rice) at 190C until the pastry is cooked to light brown, approx. 40 minutes. Remove the blind baking beans and if bases aren’t fully cooked, put them back in the oven for a few minutes. 

  5. Fill the tart cases: Using a piping bag, pipe the creme patisserie into the base of the cooled shells. Decorate with the cut fruit and, using a pastry brush, lightly glaze the fruit with the heated apricot jam and water.

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