Feijoa Apple Crumble


Crumbles are possibly the easiest dessert to make. I usually make apple crumble which goes down a treat. After being inspired by this video I decided I would give other fruit crumbles a go. It’s feijoa season here in NZ. If you’re anything like me, you binge eat your feijoas before they ever make it to the desserts you planned on making with them! Every year I tell myself that I won’t be greedy and gobble them up in one go. This year that actually happened! The previous owners of the house we moved into planted 3 feijoa trees. That’s pretty much why I decided to move into this house hahahah. Anyhoo, we’ve been blessed with a bounty of fejoas as you can see in the picture above. Sadly we had a bit of a moth problem, however some neem spray seems to have solved that so we didn’t lose too many fruit in the end!

Now, back to the recipe. This crumble does have some apple in it, which you’re probably thinking defeats the purpose. You can totally go ahead and just use feijoas and forget the apples BUT be aware that feijos are a mushy fruit, so you’re not going to have much texture from the fruit alone. This is my only reason for adding the apples. It adds bulk to the fruit component of the recipe (I mean let’s face it, I still ate most of my feijoas while trying to make this) and it keeps it’s texture. As feijoas have such a strong scent a flavour, you actually don’t taste the apple at all.

I often like to add spice to my crumbles. This of course is 100% optional. When you use such flavourful fruit as feijoas, you’re really not gonna get the big spice kick. The spice is more of a light after taste. I like that, so I’m going with it.

Lastly, a note on the sugar in this. I personally don’t like a lot of sugar in my crumbles. I drizzled over some honey on the fruit as a had a few underripe feijoas in the mix. You can totally leave the honey out and reduce the sugar a bit. I mean, we’re not making health food here guys. Feel free to use this recipe for a healthier crumble alternative.

Feijoa Apple Crumble
Serves 4

500g Feijoas
2 Apples, medium sized
2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Plain flour
50 g Rolled oats
50 g Desiccated coconut
50 g Soft brown sugar
40 g Unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
2 tsp Mixed spice, divided

Heat oven to 180C and grease a baking dish. You’ll need a 1 Litre capacity dish for this.

Cut each feijoa in half and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh in to your dish. Peel, core and finely slice your apples and place in dish. Drizzle honey and sprinkle 1 tsp of the mixed spice on the fruit and mix it in the dish. Arrange the fruit in a even layer.

Now we make the crumble. Put the flour, oats, coconut, brown sugar and mixed spice in a medium bowl. Give the dry ingredients a quick toss with your hands. Now add the butter. Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry mixture until you have a fine sandy mixture. Spread the crumble over the fruit and pop into the preheated oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is crunchy.

Once done remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve warm in bowls with vanilla ice cream or greek yoghurt.

Tropical Pavlova

Tropical Pavlova

Pavlova, or pav for short, is a great kiwi classic that's often eaten during the festive season, mostly because that's when the best fruit is around! Pavlova is basically a large meringue covered in whipped cream and fruit of your choice. It's not just any ole meringue though. Unlike standard meringues that are crunchy and dry, pavlova is crunchy on the outside but soft and marshmallowy on the inside. This is achieved by using cornflour and vinegar in the meringue mixture. Once it gets to the oven, the egg whites react with the cornflour and vinegar to form a crunchy shell whilst keeping the inside moist and fluffy. Isn't science cool?!

Pavlova is the perfect base for whatever toppings you love. As mentioned it's usually topped with fruit, but you can top it with whatever else you desire. As you know I'm quite the fruit lover, so obviously I went down that route. Berries and cherries are what you normally find on top of a pav, but I wanted to take things up a notch and go tropical. There's a lot of good mangoes around at the moment at reasonable prices so it was a no-brainer that mango would be on here. I wanted something tangy or sour to cut through all the sweetness, so I used some passionfruit topping. You can find this in the dessert section of your supermarket. There's a couple of brands that make it. I chose the one with the least amount of sugar added! Passionfruit tends to be rare and expensive here, but if you have access to fresh passionfruit then definitely use fresh. Of course any tropical fruit like, paw paw, lychee, banana etc will work too. You can use fresh or tinned. If using tinned drain the syrup or else the fruit will slide all over the place.

If you're living a gluten free and/or dairy free lifestyle then this dessert is great for you. There's no flour in this recipe. Cornflour is used which is gluten free. Do check the brand of cornflour that you buy though, as some have other things added in there.  The only dairy in this dessert is the whipped cream on top which can easily be subbed with whipped coconut cream. Coconut cream also adds to the tropical vibe so that's an extra bonus. Really, we can all enjoy this dessert!

I highly recommend that you make the pavlova a day in advance as it takes quite long to cool. Just like any meringue, pavlova bakes at a low temperature. Due to it's texture though, it is quite delicate and is susceptible to moisture and temperature changes. For this reason, once the baking time is up, you need to turn the oven off and leave the pav in there until it cools down completely. No opening the door! If you make it the night before, it can cool in the oven over night. It takes a good few hours to cool so don't rush it. Nobody wants melted cream dripping off their pav!

This dessert has a high sugar content, so smaller portions are recommend. It can easily serve up to 16 people so it's great for a party or special gathering. If you don't have a lot of eaters at your home, you can do what I did - decorate half the pav and keep the other half for another day. I'm sure you won't have trouble getting rid of it!

Tropical Pavlova
Serves 16
6 egg whites
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp cornflour (check for gluten free)
1 tsp white vinegar

1 cup cream, whipped (use coconut cream for dairy free version)
1 mango, diced
3 Tbs passionfruit topping
toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 130 degrees Celsius (not fan bake). Line a baking tray with baking paper, and draw a 18-20cm circle on it using a plate as a stencil. Set aside.

Place your egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use a clean glass bowl if you're using a hand mixed. Start whipping the egg whites on medium speed until they become frothy. Gradually add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is on. Once all sugar has been added turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is very thick and glossy. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the cornflour and vinegar.  Using the beater from the mixer, by hand, gently fold in those last ingredients until combined. Your meringue is now ready!

Take your bowl over to your baking tray. I like to dot a bit of meringue on the under side of my baking paper so it will stick to the tray. Spoon the rest of your meringue mixture into the circle on the baking paper, making sure the base is covered well. I like to hollow out the middle a bit so it's more bowl shaped. If you like you can smooth the mixture out to create a flat surface or do some swirls if you're feeling fancy.

Place your tray in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the pav in there to cool completely without opening the oven door. It's best if you leave it to cool over night. Don’t worry if the pavlova has a few cracks in it – this is completely normal. It's actually a sign that the top is gonna be nice and crunchy! The cracks will be covered with cream, so it will still look pretty anyway.

Once the pav has cooled, you can top it with with your whipped cream and fruit. A sprinkling of toasted coconut and a few sprigs of mint are a nice touch but you can leave it out if you don't have it. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in the fridge. If you're making this a few days ahead of time, store the pav in a large dry, air-tight container and add the toppings just before serving.



Apple Blueberry Crumble


It's common knowledge that when fruit is in abundance, I make dessert. It's also common knowledge that I love using spices in my baked goods. So it should be no surprise to you that this recipe contains both, along with a crunchy topping too.

Crumbles, or crisps as they call them in the west, are the easiest way to use up a lot of fruit. Due to the simplicity of the recipe, crumbles can easily be adapted to suit your dietary requirements. I like to keep mine plant based, so I often use coconut oil, margarine and maple syrup instead of butter or sugar. There is very little difference in the overall taste though, so no matter what you choose to go with, you won't be missing out.

I've made this recipe several times over. I usually stick to using 6 apples, but this time I reduced the amount of apples and added some blueberries instead.  You can stick with all apples, or use any other berry of choice. Blueberries are in season now, so it's a good time to use them if you like them! You can use frozen if you have them on hand. No need to defrost them either!

The best part of this recipe is that it's really simple to make. It's one of those, dare I say, dump-and-go recipes. The hardest part of the recipe is actually peeling and chopping all the apples. If you've got kids, or a loving partner, now's the time to get them in the kitchen to help with all that peeling and chopping!

Apple Blueberry Crumble
Serves 8
4 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced (I use pacific rose)
2 cups blueberries (use any fresh or frozen berry of choice, or two more apples instead of the berries)
1 tbsp butter, melted (use margarine, or coconut oil if vegan)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup maple syrup (substitute with caster sugar if need be)
Juice of half a lemon

1 cup standard flour (use almond flour, or GF flour for Gluten Free option)
1/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup sliced almonds (save some to sprinkle on top)
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
120g butter, melted (use margarine, or coconut oil if vegan)

Preheat oven to 180ºC. First we make the crumble. In a medium bowl place your flour, sugar, coconut, almonds and walnuts in a bowl. Pour over the melted butter and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Set Aside.

In a large bowl, place all your filling ingredients. Give it a good toss so that it's all coated evenly. Pour it into a 2L capacity baking dish. Crumble over the topping and place in preheated oven for 25-30minutes. The topping should be golden brown when it's done.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, custard or even coconut yoghurt.



Vegan Raspberry Bounty Bites


I was definitely a bounty bar kinda girl. Mention coconut and chocolate and I'm down. Now take it once step further and add some raspberries and now you've got me hooked! Coconut, raspberry and chocolate are actually a match made in heaven. These little bites are perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the coconut, sharpness of the berries and bitterness of the dark chocolate. It makes for the perfect snack when you're feeling peckish between meals. The great thing about it is not only is it super easy to make, it's vegan, and it's pretty healthy too! These bites don't contain much sugar due to the minimal use of a natural sweetener. I chose maple syrup for my sweetener but you could always use stevia, or honey if you're not vegan. I used 78% dark chocolate which is also quite low in sugar, you can of course up the cocoa percentage if you're a fan of dark chocolate. 

This is actually my take on a recipe from Nadia's Healthy Kitchen. The recipe is fairly simple and can easily be adapted to suit your needs. Nadia makes hers into chocolate bars, but I decided to portion control mine and make them bite sized. You can of course make yours in any shape you want. You can even get creative and use different shaped chocolate moulds if you're in the mood. If you really couldn't be bothered though, you can easily turn this into a slice by simply putting the coconut mixture into a loaf tin and then pouring the chocolate over, freezing the whole thing, then cutting it into your preferred size. Voila!

I've actually made this more than once! The first time I made a two layer bounty bar with a vanilla layer and then a raspberry layer on top. It was ok, but my taste buds weren't satisfied. I really wanted to up the anti with the raspberry flavour and make it shine. I ditched the layers and played around with the quantities a bit. I eventually found a good balance by using more raspberries and adding some freeze dried raspberry powder to add more depth of flavour. This is optional but highly recommended. Not only does it make the bites look pretty, but the taste is phenomenal! The rest of the ingredients are fairly basic so you shouldn't have a problem sourcing them. Now you really have no excuse not to make this!

Raspberry Bounty Bites (Adapted from Nadia)
Makes 36 bites
2 cups (235g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (56g) coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (235ml) full fat coconut milk
1 cup (140g) raspberries – fresh or frozen
1/3 cup (75g) coconut oil
1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup
3 Tbs raspberry powder
200g dark chocolate
freeze dried raspberries to decorate

Place all the ingredients, except the chocolate, into a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir the mixture and mash the berries as you go. Once it's all combined take it off the heat and place into your mould of choice. I used silicone mini cupcake moulds. Place the mixture in the freezer for one hour to freeze completely. 
Once the coconut mixture if frozen, pop it out of it's mould. Cut into slices if you didn't use individual moulds. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. Melt your chocolate either in a bain marie or in the microwave. Generously coat each bite with the chocolate and set on the lined tray. Decorate each bite with some crushed freeze dried raspberry. Once all the bites are coated and decorated place them back in the freezer to set. It should take about 30 minutes to set. Once it's set you can have it immediately and store any left overs in the fridge for up to a week.


Vanilla Marshmallows


Look out supermarket marshmallows, you've got competition!

I was one of those kids who ate a lot of marshmallows, like a lot. In South Africa we get a few different kinds of marshmallows, in varying shapes, colours, sizes and toppings. My favourite were the vanilla marshmallows that were coated in toasted coconut! I could pretty much eat a big bag by myself. Sadly here in New Zealand you can't get marshmallows that are made with halal gelatine. The few that you can get are pretty hard, which to me is not at all what a marshmallow should be like. You know what they say, if you can't buy them, make them!

I've wanted to make this for ages now and I finally got around to it. I made two batches, and both turned out great. These marshmallows are soft and squishy and they melt in your mouth like butter! I've never had marshmallows like this before. Once you have them, you'll never buy store bought again.

Marshmallows fall into candy making territory, which means you need a candy thermometer. Temperature is a big deal when it comes to making candy. The temperature of your sugar syrup will dictate the texture of your candy, so you have to be precise. This isn't like caramel, where you can guesstimate based on the colour of the syrup. For this recipe, the syrup won't change colour, so without a thermometer, you'll have no idea when to take it off the heat. Candy thermometers are readily available in most cooking/baking shops and they are usually less than $15. It's a tool you should definitely have in your kitchen, not just for candy making but even for cooking!

As this is my first time making marshmallows I stuck with vanilla. Vanilla is my favourite marshmallow flavour anyway, but I made these specifically for s'mores, so vanilla was a must. Of course you can choose whatever flavour your heart desires. Add some food colouring or even a toasted coconut topping if that's what you're in to. Your flavour options are endless, really. At the end of the recipe you'll find some flavour suggestions that you might like to try if you're feeling adventurous!

Vanilla Marshmallows (From Cupcake Jemma)
Makes 9 large, 18 regular or 36 mini mallows

For the coating
1 cup cornflour
1 cup icing sugar

For the mallows
24g powdered gelatine
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup liquid glucose

For the syrup
1/4 cup liquid glucose
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup of water for the syrup

2 tsp vanilla

stand mixer with whisk attachment
candy thermometer
small saucepan
rubber spatula

Firstly, in a medium bowl, sift together your cornflour and icing sugar. Set aside as we will use this at the end.
Grease a 20cm x 20cm tin, then line it with clingfilm. Grease it again. Also lightly grease your spatula, this is sticky work people!

Next, we need to bloom our gelatine. In a small microwavable bowl add your gelatine and water. Give it a little stir and set aside. Pop your glucose into your stand mixer, which has been fitted with a whisk attachment. Set aside, we will come back to this.

Start on your syrup. In a small saucepan, place your glucose, sugar, and water. Pop on the stove on medium heat. Attach your candy thermometer to your saucepan so you can monitor the temperature. We want the syrup to reach soft ball stage, which is between 114-116 degrees Celsius. The syrup will get up to 100 fairly quickly but it will then take it's time to reach soft ball stage. Just let it do it's thing. Once it reaches 100 degrees Celsius, go back to your gelatine mixture. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. This will take the geltine back to liquid state. Give it a mix to make sure there are no lumps. Pop the liquid gelatine into your mixer, which already has some glucose in it. Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and let it be.

At this point your you've got your mixer on low and you're waiting for your syrup to get up to the right temp. It's a bit of a waiting game, but once it hits softball stage you need to remove it immediately from the heat. Take the saucepan over to your mixer, while it's on low, and pour in the syrup slowly down the side of the bowl. Make sure to go slow! The last thing you want is for it to hit the beaters and have hot syrup flying all over the place! Once it's all poured in, turn the mixed up to medium. Beat for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and have a look at the mixture. It should have turned white by now and will be very runny. Turn the mixer back on to the highest setting and beat for another 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, stop the mixer. You should see the mixture has tripled in volume and now looks like a meringue/marshmallow. Add your 2 teaspoons of vanilla and turn the mixer back on to medium. Beat for 2 minutes.

Once your 2 minutes are up, you need to move quickly. Using your greased spatula to help you, plop the marshmallow mixture into your greased and lined tin. Wet your hands and then push the mixture down and even it out. Once it's spread out, sift over some of the coating mixture. This will keep it from being too sticky when we work with it later. Set your tray aside for about 6 hours or overnight.

After you have waited patiently, it's time to cut up the marshmallows. You can cut them in whatever size or shape you like. Dip your knife in warm water to help you cut the mallows. After cutting them, place them in your coating mixture. Make sure each mallow is well coated. Once you've coated them all, pop them in a sieve and give 'em a shake to get rid of any excess. Enjoy straight away!

They will keep in an airtight container for about 3 weeks. Try and keep them in a dry place as moisture will encourage them to stick to each other.


Flavour Suggestions
Raspberry - fold some freeze dried raspberries into your marshmallow mix before popping into the tray. The sweet and tart combo will work well!
Salted caramel - using the same recipe, pop half your mallow mix into the tin, drizzle over some caramel sauce then top with remaining marshmallow mixture. Give it a swirl with a skewer.
Mint choc chip - Add mint essence instead of vanilla and fold through some choc chips before setting in your tray.
Coffee - bloom your geltaine in strong coffee rather than water. Follow the rest of the recipe as above.
Masala chai / chai latte - bloom your geltaine in masala chai rather than water. Follow the rest of the recipe as above. You could also use any other tea you like.
Jaffa - The kiwi classic combo of orange and chocolate. Add orange essence instead of vanilla and fold through some choc chips before setting in your tray.
Lemon blueberry - Add lemon essence instead of vanilla and fold through some freeze dried blueberries before setting in your tray.
Pina Colada - The famous pineapple and coconut combo! Add coconut essence instead of vanilla and fold through some freeze dried pineapple before setting in your tray. Use toasted coconut thread for your coating.

Pumpkin Waffles


I'm quite a fan of using vegetables and fruit in baking. It's like my sneaky way of making you get your 5+ a day (insert evil laugh here). Pumpkin isn't often used here in NZ for cakes and desserts. It's more of an American thing. Of course I love trying new things from around the world, and while we can't really get pumpkin flavoured treats in NZ, we can still make our own!

We're lucky to have quite good pumpkins for a reasonable price here in NZ when they are in season. They are pretty large in size which often leaves me with some extra pumpkin. What better way to use it that in these recipes! I make my own pumpkin puree by roasting the pumpkin in the oven until they are soft enough to mash. Any pumpkin will do but I prefer butternut squash because of it's natural sweetness. If you don't have the time for that, there are some specialty stores, like this one, that do sell canned pumpkin puree. Be sure to look for the pure pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie filling.

These waffles are fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, like a good waffle should be. They are lightly spiced and carry a very light pumpkin flavour. I use whole wheat flour in this recipe to make them a bit healthier. I'm not keen on adding sugar to my waffles simply because they are going to be drenched in maple syrup after anyway. Feel free to add sugar if you want, but that of course will increase the calories!
These waffles make a great breakfast for a special occasion or even dessert. If you have some waffles left over, you can keep them in the fridge and reheat them in the oven. Don't reheat them in the microwave though, as that will make them soft.

Pumpkin Waffles
Serves 8
1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use atta)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin spice blend or (1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon+1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg+1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup milk of choice (I used Almond Milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat your waffle iron/maker.
In a large bowl whisk together your whole wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and spices.
Next, add your pumpkin puree, milk, oil, vanilla and your egg yolks. Mix with a spatula until combined.
In a separate bowl add your egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form a stiff meringue. Once it's done, add half your meringue to your pumpkin mixture. Fold it in using your spatula. Lastly fold in the remaining meringue.
Add 1/2 a cup of batter to your waffle maker to make one waffle. Keep going until all your batter is used up. Serve hot with banana and maple syrup!



Cream Puffs (Profiteroles)


Pate Choux is a french pastry or dough which is used to make eclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles and various other yummy goodies. Eclairs have been a childhood favourite of mine which I've always wanted to make myself. There's just something about pastry, whipped cream and chocolate that gets me going. These puffs are seriously addictive. You won't be able to stop at one, so consider sharing this with friends or family, because this is nowhere near healthy.

I've made pate choux before and managed to mess it up. I always see mistakes in the kitchen as a good thing, because I know I will never repeat it again. So due to these mistakes, I can tell you that there are two tricks to a successful puff. One is to ensure you add your eggs one at a time and beat between each addition. Don't add another egg until the first one is fully incorporated. Eggs are the main leavening agent in pate choux, so you want to make sure you incorporate it fully. You'll know you've messed up here if you end up with dough balls instead of puffs after baking.

The second trick is to bake the puffs for long enough. It's easy to think they are done because they puff quickly, but it's actually the colour you have to look for. It needs to be a golden brown colour and it will seem like it has formed a firm shell on top. Baking times will vary depending on your oven and the size of your puff so you really have to play it by ear. If you remove them from the oven too early they will deflate, which leaves no room for delightful Chantilly cream.

Speaking of Chantilly cream, you don't need to fill your puffs with it. Although I do recommend it, as it's my favourite. Though if you're not a fan of Chantilly cream, there are many alternative options you can go with. Custard or creme patisserie is of course the other common filling but you could literally fill it with whatever your heart fancies. I have seen Nutella and Matcha flavoured creams, or even coconut cream if you're dairy intolerant. Some like to go a bit bold with their fillings and add marshmallow or cookies and cream ganache. The possibilities really are endless. Pick a flavour and go for gold!

Cream Puffs
Makes 36 puffs

For the pastry
100g unsalted butter (use margarine for dairy free option)
125ml water
125ml whole milk (replace with water if you're dairy intolerant)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
150g plain flour
4 large eggs

Chantilly Cream Filling
1 cup cream
2 Tbs icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Ganache Topping
100g double cream
100g chocolate (I used 50% dark)

Decorations - Freeze dried raspberries or chopped nuts

We begin with the pastry. In a small saucepan place the butter, water, milk, salt and sugar on low heat. Once the butter has melted, bring it to a light boil then remove from the heat. Add your flour and mix. Return to low heat and cook for a minute. A film should form on the bottom of the pan and the dough should form one large ball. Once this has happened, remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While this is cooling, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Once the dough is cool, add your eggs one at a time. Use an electric beater to mix in each egg completely before adding the next. Once all eggs are combined you will have a smooth dough that moves like lava.
Line 3 baking trays with parchment paper. You can use a bit of dough under the paper in the four corners to stick the paper to the tray so it doesn't lift later on.
Pop the dough into a pastry bag that has a round tip. Alternatively you can just snip of the end of the bag and forget about the tip if you don't have one.
Pipe little puffs onto your lined trays. Mine were about 4cm in diameter and I made sure to leave room between them on the tray so they can expand. Keep piping until all the mixture is used. Once oven is ready pop them in for 20 - 30 minutes. You will need to judge the time by eye. check at 20 minutes, if it's not golden then do not remove from the oven. Leave it in until you have golden tops, then remove and leave to cool completely.

To make the cream filling, simply add cream, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Put this mixture into your piping bag and either use a small nozzle or snip a tiny hole in the bag. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the ganache, warm the cream in a small sauce pan on low heat. Do not boil it. Once you see little bubble forming on the outside remove from heat and immediately add your chocolate to the pan. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until combine. It will take a little while to come together, so don't worry if it looks a mess to begin with.

When it's time to assemble, make a hole in the bottom of all your puffs. I used a chopstick to do this. Put your nozzle into the hole and pipe the cream until the puff is full. You will feel the weight of the puff change and you will feel some resistance when it's full. Fill all the puffs and then get ready to coat. Simply dunk each puff into the chocolate ganache and then set aside on a wire rack. Once all are coated, sprinkle with your topping of choice. I did some with walnuts and some with freeze dried raspberries. The chocolate will set on it's own at room temperature eventually. I prefer to keep these in the fridge so they set quicker. They are best eaten the same day they are made, but they will last in the fridge for a day or two longer.



Creme Brulee for Two

It's just hubsy and I at home, which is why I often only make fancy desserts when we are invited to dinner parties, so I don't have to adjust a recipe to suit two people. I've made creme brulee usually for 4-6 people but the trouble is, it all ends up on our waistline, which is not ideal. So, a recipe that suits two people, for special occasions was the challenge!

Creme brulee is our all time favourite dessert! If it's on the menu at any restaurant I won't even look at any of the other desserts. I have been playing around with this recipe for a while now and I've finally got it perfect. It was by complete accident, as is most of my great recipes lol If you follow my instructions I guarantee you a smooth, rich, fully set creme brulee.

Before that, here's some tips I've learned from my numerous experiments.

Only use cream - many recipes use a mixture of milk and cream. No! It's creme brulee, not milk brulee. The custard just isn't the same when you add milk and you often have to bake it longer to get it to set.

More egg yolks isn't always better - Egg yolks in custard has two purposes. One is to enrich it and the other is to thicken it. You would think the more egg yolks you add the richer the custard. Well I tried 5 egg yolks and it tasted horrible, so more isn't better in this case.

Use real vanilla - Vanilla essence is good for baking, but I really think you need real vanilla for creme brulee. The whole point of heating the creme is to infuse the vanilla flavour, if you're using essence you're wasting your time. I use vanilla powder, but the traditional vanilla pod is good too.

Sugar is variable - Obviously you need sugar for the brulee, but for the creme itself, you don't need a lot. I used double the amount of sugar than this recipe states and it was border line sugar over load. I think 3 Tbs is best as you want some sweetness to come from the brulee too.

Fork it - I find that when I use a whisk I end up with a very frothy mixture. It's difficult trying to skim this froth off the top before baking and if you leave it on it creates a weird texture after baking. I learned, from another recipe, that using a fork will limit the amount of froth produced. Perfect!

Bake it low and slow - Baking times and temperatures is the difference between a perfectly set creme and a leaky mess. I've had many that have not been set, or just partially set. When you check on it, it should only have a slight jiggle in the center, If it's wobbling too much, it's not set. Your oven should never be over 160 C. The perfect custard needs to be baked slowly in a water bath. That part isn't optional.

Use appropriate sized dishes - This one took me ages to work out. Lets just say putting two ramekins in a massive roasting tin filled with water is of no benefit to you or the custard. This recipe is for two, so your roasting tray should be a 20cm x 20cm tray, like the ones you would use to make slices.

Creme Brulee For Two
Serves 2
250ml cream
1 vanilla pod, or one pinch of vanilla powder
3 egg yolks
4 Tbs sugar, plus more for the brulee

Place cream and vanilla in a saucepan on medium heat. Bring the cream up to a simmer, not a boil. You should see steam coming off it, but it won't be rapidly boiling. Once it has reached temp, turn the heat off and set aside to infuse and cool down for 5-7minutes. You want it to still be warm, but not hot or it will scramble your eggs.

In a bowl, place your sugar and egg yolks. Using a fork, whisk it together to combine.

If using a vanilla pod, remove the pod now from your cream. Add a splash of cream to the egg mixture and continue beating with your fork. Add a second splash, then add the rest of the cream. Whisk until combined. Pour into two ramekins.

Place ramekins into a tray and fill the tray will boiling water until it's halfway up the sides of your ramekin.

Place tray in the oven and bake at 160 C for 40-45 minutes. Check at 40 mins, if still quite wobbly, pop it back in for another 5 mins. Remove from the oven and remove from the water bath. Leave on counter to cool completely before popping in the fridge for 4 hours.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle some sugar over the top of the creme and use a blow torch to melt it. Serve immediately!