Feel Good Apple Crumble Tart

I wasn't quite sure whether this was just Apple Crumble, or if its pastry shell meant I could upgrade to a tart. I love making tarts so decided on the name upgrade. I made this one quite quickly after an argument, and there is something about the 'apple-pie cooking' smell that just made everything seem right with the world again.

This recipe is a bit of a shortcut, using canned apples. But that means its the perfect 'spur of the moment' bake, because no one can guess when you'll need a bit of cheering up, or your house will need to smell welcoming…..

I adored how straightforward Davids recipe (link below) was…but I didn't have (and don't particularly like) almond extract, and I couldn't resist swapping cornmeal for custard powder…..

I've already restocked on the ingredients.

Apple Crumble Tart adapted from David Lebovitz Easy Jam Tart


  • 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • 70g custard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tins pink lady apple slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • coarse raw sugar, such as demerara


  1. Beat together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, custard powder, salt and baking powder. Gradually add to the butter and egg mixture, until it just comes together.
  3. Measure out about 400g of the dough, pat it into a disk, wrap it in plastic and chill it. The remaining dough roll into a log about 5cm in diameter, wrap and chill it alongside the disk. I leave it in for around half an hour.
  4. Remove the dough disk from the fridge, and with the heel of your hand, press the dough into the bottom and sides of an unbuttered (yes that is bold) tart pan (about 22 or 24cm) or a springform pan, patting it out to be even as possible.
  5. Drain the two tins of apples and put the slices into your tart shell. In a small bowl combine the nutmeg, cinammon and teaspoon of the raw sugar. Sprinkle over the apple slices.
  6. Remove the log of dough from the fridge and slice in cookie-sized disks, then lay them over the apple slices. Top with a tablespoon or two of raw sugar and the almonds.
  7. Bake until the bastry is golden brown in a preheated oven (about 180C) until golden brown. About 20-25mins. Let cool before serving with scoops of good vanilla ice cream.

This one is great the next day!




Slab Tray Bake of Coffee Delicious

During one of my many days of sick leave, I gave my mum a call. Mum asked me some questions about this recipe in the latest Donna Hay magazine, and whether or not a recipe could be halved. Of course, once this recipe was brought to my attention……I had to make it too.

Trouble is, as I've said before, I'm a bit very greedy, so I made the full tray bake, but I will admit I cut it into 10 slices, and froze a bunch of them for later on.

The recipe is terribly simple, but when you look at the ingredients, like me, you should be a bit shocked. There is between the cake and the brown sugar filling a scary amount of sugar. It also uses a full 250g of butter, which just seems…..well, over the top.

When I made the cake, it was a on a super tight time frame, so it ended up cooling in a hot oven for something like two hours. I really don't recommend that, because it stuck to the bottom of my tray in the middle, and meant that a chunk of the middle (which thankfully you can't see in my photos) was stuck to the tray. After a lot of cussing and foot stomping (by me), hubby and I stood over the tray and ate the sticky bits.

This is really good warm, its also really good in your lunch box. I'm inclined to think it would be delicious with some warm custard as well!


Whats Up Doc?

Everyone always underestimates carrot cake. Even me. I hadn't even TRIED it till last year.

Turns out its one of my girlfriends favourites, and when I read THIS recipe I realised I like EVERYTHING IN IT (although, walnuts are iffy….so I've swapped them out PERMANENTLY for pecans).

So, I made it, and one loaf went to hubbys work and was demolished, and one loaf went to my work and I've never seen anything disappear so quickly, or have something asked for by hungry colleagues so often. My sister didn't believe it had a vegetable in it. Best compliment ever.

When a few weeks ago we decided to get serious about hubby having a packed lunch I pulled out this recipe again, and he loved it. Last week at my parents place (we had a two week break, but being poor people saving for a house deposit that means holidays are free trips to the parents up north) I made it for my Dads lunch box. And converted two more people who didn't think much of carrot cake until this recipe of awesomeness. Hubby requested it be made again yesterday. Four bakes, three different ovens, and I still haven't gone wrong with it.

Please, stop being disinterested in carrot cake, at least for the sake of this particular recipe. Its worth the hype.

And just to prove things go wrong…..I exploded custard all over my microwave this evening and sulked for half an hour while hubby fixed it.


Cinnamon, Sugar and Scrolls

Remember the donuts I made with extra brioche dough? Yeah, the were epic. You should make those.

Anyway, the real reason I made the brioche dough was to make these. I have a soft spot for Cinnamon Scrolls. I think a few visits to the USA might have infected me with a love of all things Cinnamon. (Except Chai. I don't get this thing with Chai).

So I rolled out my dough, sprinkled my cinnamon and rolled up my lovely scrolls. It was a really easy one to follow, although, I have to admit I wasn't so good at the glaze, but to me, thats just a great excuse to try again.



Dump and Run

Ever wanted something warm, delicious and super quick to eat after dinner? Thats a stupid question. Of course you do. Because I do, and the world would be a sad miserable place without dessert.

I ran into this idea trolling through pinterest. I've made it twice, once in the slow cooker and once in the oven. Both times it worked just fine.

So, what is this magic dessert I hear you say? Its apple dump cake, and its so easy its absurd.

Step 1 Get two tins of pink lady apple slices (or similar, I get mine at coles, my mum put me on to them, thanks mum!). Sprinkle them with cinnamon.

Step 2 Empty tins into either a) your slow cooker or b) a pie dish.

Step 3 Empty a yellow cake mix packet into a bowl. Mix it with some butter. How much butter is up to you, and the cake mix you bought. You want to make a crumb. You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon here too if you want.

Step 4 Put the crumb mix over the apples.

Step 5 Cook until crispy and golden. (If you're using a slow cooker, put paper towel over the top BEFORE you put the lid on so that the moisture doesn't drip onto the top).

Step 6 Serve with vanilla ice cream, or custard, or just eat with a spoon standing over your slow cooker.


Do or doughnut, there is no try

I made so much brioche dough it was silly. I had twice as much as I needed (actually, in all honesty, I didn't need any of it…..but there you go). So, what do you do with the half of the brioche dough??

You make doughnuts of course!

I have never made doughnuts before. I was nervous. Deep frying is not something I really wanted to do.

But Hubby came and helped me with the hot part, and the dusting in cinnamon sugar part, and the sampling the still hot goodies part…..he was a great help.

While the thicker ones came out slightly undercooked (rookie mistake), the ones that were smaller were light, fluffy and everything I could have asked for. If you don't mind the calories, you should try this for sure.

You'll need half the dough from this brioche dough recipe, and 100g of caster sugar mixed with a tablespoon of cinnamon for dusting.

I don't have a doughnut cutter, so I used a container about the right size for the big circle and an egg cup for the hole. Then I heated up the oil as hot as I could, and popped two in at a time, flipping as soon as it got brown. I did the same with the holes (can't waste good dough!).

A quick drain on some paper towel and a flip through the cinnamon sugar and your good to go!



German, Cinnamon and too much syrup

On Saturday it was my brother-in-laws birthday, and while there will be a party in two weeks, I was part of the quieter celebration on the day

In the morning I watched my sister organise the beef for the German Sauerbraten and the gravy base it was made in. There is something lovely about leaning over someone else’s countertop and just watching while they move around in their own kitchen. A confidence in knowing where everything is, and how temperamental things are (despite not being about to find the chinois). Just before lunch we worked together to make a Cinnamon Bundt Cake, which was Lukas’ request for his birthday cake. I left not long after it went into the oven, and returned for a quiet double date dinner with a lot of excitement for the result.

Before my husband and I returned for dinner, my sister had made a cinnamon syrup to pour over the cake, and once we all had drizzled some over our slice there was a lot of giggling and tom foolery about the general mucas-like consistency.

Dinner was Bretzel, German Sauerbraten, mashed potato, sauerkraut and an impreesive gravy that took three days to make. The recipe included ginger snaps! AMAZING! My sister wanted to eat it with a spoon.

The Bundt cake was dense, and thankfully not particularly sweet, but with a wonderful almost Christmasy quality to the flavour. A scoop of vanilla ice cream was essentially to balance out the syrup. Once we’d all had a slice, the remaining syrup (mucas?) was poured over it for the greater family get together the following day.

German Sauerbraten

The hero of this is the marinade. It’s:-

450ml red wine
125ml red wine vinegar
2 onions, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
8 juniper berries, slightly crushed (I ignored this quantity and put in at least double – just poured them out)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
8 black peppercorns (again, I ignored this and probably put in about twice that)
8 cloves (yep, you know what I did here)
2 bay leaves

You boil it on a high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Then you need to get it to room temperature.  The meat is beef brisket, which I had to ask the butcher for (it’s not too expensive either – 1.1kg cost me $10.43).  You put the meat in a non-metallic dish, pour the marinade over it, cover it and put in the fridge for up to four days, the longer the better.

You’re supposed to turn the meat twice a day, but I will admit to forgetting a couple times.

When you’re ready to cook it, you need to make sure you have LOTS OF TIME.

You take the beef out of the marinade, pat in dry,season it with salt and pepper and then rub 2 tablespoons of plain flour of it.  Then brown it on all sides in a fry pan with a little oil.  Take it out, and pop it in your slow cooker.

Next, fry off two sliced onions with a chopped carrot and a chopped celery stick for about five minutes, until the onions are soft.  Pop those into the slow cooker. Finally, strain the marinade, discard the solids and add the liquid to the fry pan.  Add 350ml of beef stock, bring it to the boil and boil until reduced by half.  Add that to your slow cooker.

Now we play the waiting game!  Cook on high for 2 hours, then switch to low and leave it for 8 hours (or the beef is tender).  Take out the beef, and then it’s time to make some gravy.

Add two tablespoons of flour and four tablespoons of cooking liquid together in a small bowl and make a paste.  Then add that back to the slow cooker with 8 crushed gingernut biscuits and stir until smooth.  Slice the beef, smother with the gravy, add some mash and sauerkraut and you’re done!

Sophie’s Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Cinnamon and Vanilla Syrup Adapted from Donna Hay Issue 76 ‘Coffee, cinnamon, hazelnut and ginger bundt cakes with spiced vanilla syrup’ Ingredients for the Cinnamon Bundt Cake

  • 275g unsalted butter + extra for greasing the bundt pan
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons black coffee
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons milk

To make the cake Preheat the oven to 160C. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and combine with the mixture. In a small bowl, mix the coffee, cinnamon and milk into a paste. Add the paste to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Grease your bundt tin, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the tin. Pour the mixture into your greased tin. Tap the tin on the bench a few times to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed, and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45mins, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Invert tin onto a wire rack without removing the tin and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the tin and let the cake cool completely on the wire rack. Ingredients for the Cinnamon and Vanilla Syrup

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) water
  • 1 cup (220g) castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bea, split and seeds scraped

To make the syrup Place the water, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla bean and seeds in a meduim saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until just combined. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, without stirring, or until thickened. Discard the vanilla bean and transfer the syrup to a bowl to cool completely. To assemble Place the cake on a pretty plate, or cake stand. Drizzle with syrup. Get in before the greedy hoards.