“I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to make for Christmas parties and presents. These biscuits are based on a Mexican recipe I found that I deleted the chilli and spices and added Christmas mince. They turned out so well I’ve had requests to make more. (Mainly from my husband) I love the texture of the crinkle and on the outside which is achieved by rolling them in icing sugar. Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
450g plain flour
80g dutch cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
300g Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Icing sugar to roll balls in
Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Beat the eggs with the oil, then stir in the Christmas mince.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until combined.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this makes them easier to roll)
Put icing sugar into a small bowl.
Roll golf ball sized balls in your hand then roll then in the icing sugar until covered. shake off the excess and place on a parchment lined baking tray. (You can press them down slightly so they won’t roll around but don’t flatten them out. They will keep their ball-shape once they’re cooked.)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crackle patten has emerged.
“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much) But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort. Enjoy!”
(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)
For the cinnamon pastry
300g plain flour
140g castor sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
For the spiced apples
3 granny smith apples
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp chai tea
2 tbsn raw sugar
For the pumpkin filling
2 cups cream
2 tbsn chai tea
180g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea. Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft. Set aside to cool. (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc. Place in refrigerator.
For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer. Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape. Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor. Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice. Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly. Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes. The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.
“Who doesn’t like chocolate brownies? Well, from the speed these flew off the plate, I’d say no-one! I’ve made so many different versions of the humble brownie: date, white chocolate, GF with almonds, the list goes on. This was one of those fortuotous moments when I had a container of diced dried figs sitting on the bench from a previous recipe and only a short amount of time to cook something. So my brownies got a healthy dose of figs at the last minute. I love the extra texture and flavour they impart. I’ve also found that grinding my own almond and hazelnut meal gives me more control over the texture. I like to process the nuts with the skins on and mill to a slightly bigger grain than the store bought versions. Finally, the trick in getting a really good brownie is having the courage to take them out of the oven before they feel totally cooked. You just have to trust your own judgement and get used to your oven. But even if they’re slightly underdone they’ll still taste amazing. Enjoy!”
(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)
300g dark chocolate
1/4 tsp flaked salt
150g dark sugar
150g white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g Self raising flour
130g almond or hazelnut meal
25g cocoa powder
150g chopped dried figs
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C.
In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt the chocolate and butter, stirring regularly. Once melted stir through the salt. Leave to cool slightly.
Mix together the sugars with the eggs and vanilla until combined.
Add the flour, almond/hazelnut meal and cocoa and mix until combined.
Pour in the chocolate mixture and figs and stir to combine.
Spray a 20cm square baking dish with baking spray and line with baking paper.
Transfer the brownie mixture to the pan and bake for 40-50 or until the brownie stops wobbling in the pan and a seeker comes out with a few crumbs on it.
Allow to cool to room temperature or eat warm with ice-cream. Brownies also freeze really well, so make another batch to keep for later!
Hello, my name is Craig.
Craig Allister Young is a cellist, orchestrator, arranger, singer and song-writer who works with the QLD Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane.
Over the past 20 years he has orchestrated music for most of the major orchestras in Australia, composed music for the Sydney 2000 Olympics,
toured a cabaret ensemble around QLD and for the past three years has been a musical director and cellist for the QLD ballet. His passion for cooking
saw him embark on his latest adventure as a top 24 contestant in the hugely popular TV sensation Australian Masterchef 2011. It is from this that the idea of
"Musical Menus" materialised as a way of combining his love for music with his passion for creating imaginative culinary dishes. Bon Appetite!