food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘strawberries

two desserts in one

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Lovingly prepared by Cindy after a Moroccan meal, this dessert combines Baclava-style nuts with a simple strawberry yoghurt. Morocco has it’s version of Baclava and strawberries and yoghurt are a no-brainer as Morocco is the 5th-largest exporter of strawberries in the world.

For the nuts, combine 2 cups of roughly chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts (or just one or two types if you prefer) and toast them a little in a dry pan or in the oven. Place them in a bowl with some cinnamon to taste. Now make a honey syrup with ½ a cup of sugar, ½ a cup of honey, ½ a cup of water and 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat until boiling and then simmer for 5 minutes or so until thickening. Add the syrup to the nuts and stir to combine. Allow to cool. For the yoghurt, slice 1-2 cups of fresh strawberries and sprinkle them with a little sugar. Let them macerate for a while then add them to thick Greek-style yoghurt. Flavour the yoghurt with the seeds from a vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water if you prefer. Serve together garnished with fresh mint.


Written by michelle picker

April 18, 2018 at 12:08 am

Posted in cakes & desserts

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almond and strawberry trifle

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On the first Tuesday of November, everything in Australia (and particularly Melbourne) stops for the Melbourne Cup, a prestigious annual thoroughbred horse race. Everyone dresses up for the occasion and hats or fascinators are almost compulsory. For those who don’t go to the races it’s a great excuse for a party, usually involving sweeps on the races of the day. This dessert was perfect for our Spring Carnival celebrations. Easy to make ahead and transport and a perfect combination of decadence and freshness.

Take an 8″ (20cm) square pound or madeira cake and cut it into thin slices, leaving them out to dry for an hour or two. Meanwhile make your custard. Whisk 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1½ tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch) and 3 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Carefully whisk in 2½ cups of milk in a thin stream. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, whisk in 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and allow it to cool. Meanwhile mix strawberry jam with lemon juice to taste. This cuts the sweetness and makes it a little thinner and easier to spread. When you’re ready to assemble, spread the jam onto ⅔ of the cake slices and make triple sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches into cubes and arrange or scatter them into your serving bowl. Coarsely crumble 1 cup of amaretti biscuits and scatter them amongst the pieces of cake. Drizzle with 1 cup of Marsala and then pour the cooled custard over everything. Now whip 2 cups of cold whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff. Pipe or spoon the cream onto the trifle. Cover and chill at least overnight or up to 3 days. When you’re ready to serve decorate the trifle with a lot of fresh strawberries and some toasted sliced almonds.

*adapted from a recipe in The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

Written by michelle picker

December 13, 2017 at 12:08 am

cooking class in Provence part 2

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In my last post I detailed 2 amusebouches, a first course and main course I learnt at Jean-Marc Villard’s hands-on French Cooking School. Now for the dessert, a strawberry frangipane tart.

tart-shellsThe pastry was a very short shortcrust, easy to cut, firm enough not to break and wonderfully crumbly. This was made from 200g (7 oz) of plain flour, 130g (½ oz) of butter, 60g (2.1 oz) of powdered sugar, some grated lemon rind and 1 egg yolk. After resting the dough, we rolled it and cut circles for our individual tarts, carefully pressing them into ring moulds and pricking with a fork.


For the filling, a frangipane cream made by combining 50g (1¾ oz) each of softened butter, powdered sugar and almond meal. After making a paste we added 1 whole egg and mixed in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. We piped a small amount into each tart shell and baked until golden brown.

strawberry-jamWhen they were cooked and cooled, we spread a little strawberry jam onto each tart shell and arranged fresh strawberries on top.

strawberry-tartsFinally, we made a glaze by heating strawberry jam and water. This was painted onto each tart.





Written by michelle picker

July 15, 2016 at 6:16 am