Category Archives: Pastry

This is a story of beetroot meets caramel

My next holiday cooking project comes from my new absolute favourite cookbook, Treats from Little and Friday. Little and Friday is a legendary bakery set up by Kim Evans. If the recipes in her book are anything to go by, she is a fairy with mystical culinary powers. The recipes are absolutely mouthwatering and have great step by step instructions. The photographs are divine and the book itself is so pretty i’m scared of bringing it into the kitchen! I was lucky enough to be given this book for my birthday and have been obsessed with it ever since.

Seeing as I had a large amount of time on my hands today, I tried making a caramelised beetroot and blue cheese tart from the above cookbook. I made pastry, caramelised beetroot and put it together in a quiche form.

I need to take a second to talk about caramelized beetroot. Let us all pause with solemn faces.

Now, I love beetroot in any way shape or form and thought caramelized beetroot, yeah, cool.


Seriously, seriously!! I did not think beetroot could get any better, oh how I was wrong and foolish to think so.

Plus it’s seriously amazing with some creamy blue cheese. Oh what? Yeah, hi it’s Claire’s palate and I have matured. Yeah who would have though I would delight so much in blue cheese? Not me.

It’s cool, I’ll give you the recipe, ain’t no thang… but I plead with you, make this and prepare to be amazed.


Caramelized Beetroot Recipe from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans

6 big-ish beetroot

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Give the beetroot a quick scrub, then chop off the tops and bottoms and chop each into 6-8 wedges. Pop them into a large saucepan and cover with water, adding a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 mins.

Drain the beetroot, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water. Place the beetroot in a roasting pan, spread them out and pour the reserved cooking water and balsamic vinegar on top and sprinkle the brown sugar over them.

Pop into the oven and cook for 10 mins. Baste and return to the oven, removing to check and baste every 10 mins (mine took about 40 mins all up). The beetroot are ready when they look gooey and sticky and the liquid is reduced.

I used most of the beetroot in a tart with blue cheese and baby spinach (oh yeah, I made the pastry too, just casually, cos I’m on holiday and I can). What’s more is that I have some leftover which I shall be enjoying with leftover blue cheese mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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Banana flavoured disaster


This means that I have time to cook and cook and bake. No more assignments (well for this week at least), no more shifts. The most strenuous thing that I will be doing is kneading some pastry and blowing the dust off my sewing machine. Too good, such a shame it will only be this week.

Spring is also showing its head from time to time, so I’m hoping that this week I can skip through some flower filled fields or something similar. Right now, unfortunately, it is pouring down and the wind is shaking my room. I was particularly unimpressed when it started to bucket down when I was going to the supermarket.

So, I will share what I have made in the past couple of days. Including… last night’s puddle pie!

The recipe was actually supposed to be a banana cream pie, from my beloved Milk Bar cookbook. DISASTER!

Sadly, my crust was too thin, the banana cream did not set and so we ate a textural, luminous yellow puddle

Taste-wise? Incredible. Imagine the flavour of your favourite banana bread combined with a luscious custard and intense dark chocolate biscuit.

Here is a lovely picture, taken before we attempted to set the pie and eventually serve it.

I won’t share a picture of it served up. It ain’t pretty. There are no redeeming features. I threw a wee tantrum… it was late… I’d spent hours making this… then I read some Harry Potter and all was ok.

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Happy Easter!

Appropriately, tonight’s dessert is thoroughly chocolate, inside and out. Maybe you’ve already had too much chocolate today, in which case, my condolences to you. Save this recipe for another time then, you will want to. This Rhubarb and Chocolate tart is delectable and well worth the time and effort and screaming in the kitchen.

The screaming was due to the pastry part of this recipe. I have always been confused by those who find pastry making difficult since, until now, I have never had any issue. Mum thinks it’s because I have really cold hands all the time, I think she’s probably right. However, this time I dutifully followed the recipe as I always do and to my horror I did not end up with a dough, rather a sticky paste. This was quickly rectified with the addition of more flour, but the dough was still extra sticky. Then when rolling out the chilled dough between sheets of baking paper, it stuck to the baking paper, badly, and I had to patch up holes. I wanted to cry at that point, but big salty tears would have done this pastry no good.

After all that, I gotta say the taste of this tart is a party in your mouth. Though, more of an elegant james bond-esque party in your mouth. The chocolate is rich and silky, the rhubarb a delightfully tangy contrast, plus you get a subtle waft of roses, wonderful. And the pastry? Not too bad, though I have fiddled with the recipe to hopefully give a less stressful outcome. Consume in thin slices, this stuff is powerful.

Chocolate and Rhubarb Tart Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 58

1/4 C (25g) Dutch Cocoa, plus extra for dusting

1 1/4 C (185g) plain flour

125g chilled butter, cubed

1/2 C (80g) icing sugar

2 egg yolks

2 T iced water

for the baked rhubarb

400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 10cm lengths

2T caster sugar

1T rosewater

dark chocolate ganache

300g dark chocolate, chopped

1C (250mL) cream

Place the cocoa, flour, butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolks and process to combine. If the dough has not come together, add the iced water a little at a time until it comes together. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll pastry out between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick. Line a 24cm round loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry, trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 mins. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper, fill with baking weights and bake for 15 mins. Remove the paper and weights and bake for another 10-15 mins or until the pastry is light golden. Allow to cool in the tin.

To make the baked rhubarb, place the rhubarb, sugar and rosewater in a bowl and mix to combine. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 mins until tender. Allow to cool.

To make dark chocolate ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside for 10 mins or until thickened slightly.

Place the rhubarb and its syrup in the base of the pastry case and pour over the ganache. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until set. Dust with cocoa to serve. Serves 6-8.


Gooseberry Tart

Sunday Dinners in our household are also the weekly occasion where we are allowed dessert. One of our favourites is gooseberry tart. Mum has fond memories of Nana making this when she was growing up and she is now passing these memories onto us.

Gooseberries, if you haven’t tried them before, are little green beachballs which pack an incredibly tart punch. The first time we had them, I was keen to try one uncooked and without sugar, it was a sweaty face level of tartness! However, when combined with a silky, eggy custard these green gems really shine and pop with a delicious tang which is a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the rest of the tart.

For this particular tart, Mum tried using frozen gooseberries with great success! Of course, fresh and local berries are wonderful, we are huge fans of SuJon frozen berries. Excellent quality and an NZ company (though berries are sourced from Chile, to meet demand).

The recipe for this tart comes from Jo Seagar’s book The Cook School Recipes:

1 sheet frozen sweet shortcrust pastry, thawed

2 cups fresh (or frozen!) gooseberries

200mL cream

1/2 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon custard powder

icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 12cm x 30cm tart tin with baking spray. Roll the sheet of pastry to fit the tart tin. You may need to cut and join the pastry to fit neatly. Place the pastry-lined tin in the freezer to firm up while you top and tail the gooseberries.

Place gooseberries in chilled pastry shell. Whisk crea, caster sugar, eggs and custard powder together until well combined. Gently pour over the gooseberries and bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set. Dust with icing sugar and serve with runny or softly whipped cream, custard or icecream.

This recipe makes a lot of filling so if you have some left over, you could try what Mum did and make some mini fruit tarts with fruit that you have around. She made some mini apricot tarts which were delicious the next day for afternoon tea.

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