To finish my 3 part series for Christmas comes everybody’s favourite course – dessert! I’ve got a classic Aussie Pavlova, perfect for a hot summer day. If chocolate is more your flavour, why not try making your own Chocolate Tart with chocolate pastry, made fancy with red wine pears? Or finally, if you want something with a little Christmas spice, try my Ginger Cake, sure to keep the elders happy.

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MISS R’S FABULOUS PAVLOVA

4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp corn flour
1/2 cup boiling water

TO SERVE
300ml thickened cream
1 punnet strawberries, halved
1 punnet blueberries
1 mango, diced
1 large crunchie bar

  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a glass or metal bowl, beat all the ingredients until stiff (about 10 minutes). Divide mixture between the trays and shape into rounds, approximately 25cm wide.
  3. Place in a moderate oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce oven to 150C and cook for further hour.
  4. Turn oven off and allow pavlovas to cool completely in oven.
  5. Meanwhile, whip the cream until thick. Once the pavlovas have cooled, Place one on a serving plate and spread over half the cream. Top with half the berries, mango and crunchie bar. Place remaining pavlova on top and spread over remaining cream. Top with remaining berries, mango and crunchie bar. Serve immediately.

Serves 12


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CHOCOLATE TART W/ RED WINE PEARS

4 firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut in half (keep the stems on for presentation)
2 cups (500ml) red wine (I used a whole bottle, 750ml)
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
150g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
300ml thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/4 cup (60ml) dark rum (I used whisky as that’s what I had)
whipped cream (for serving) 

CHOCOLATE PASTRY
1 cup (150g) plain flour (I used a bit more)
1/3 cup (40g) almond meal
1/3 cup (60g) icing sugar mixture
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
150g chilled butter, chopped
2 egg yolks

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the pears, red wine, caster sugar and vanilla bean and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes until the pears are tender but hold their shape. Remove pears from the pan and set aside to cool. Bring the sauce to the boil and allow to reduce until thick and syrupy (you will have about a cup). Set aside to cool. Refrigerate both the pears and syrup until needed.
  2. In a food processor, process flour, almond meal, icing sugar, cocoa powder, and butter until they resemble bread crumbs. Add egg yolks and process until it all comes together. If your pastry is a bit sticky as mine was, add a little more flour. Form into a ball and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes until firm.
  3. In another saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate and cream and stir until chocolate has melted. Make sure it doesn’t burn! Remove from heat and whisk in the rum. Allow to cool a little before adding egg yolks one at a time, whisking well after each addition to prevent them scrambling.
  4. Preheat oven to 200C. Once rested, roll out pastry to 3-4mm thick. Transfer to a 23cm fluted pastry tin with a removable base and trim edges. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest. Line tart shell with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake in a moderate oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and pastry weights and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until pastry is cooked through. Remove from oven.
  5. Reduce oven to 150C. Pour cream mix into the pastry shell and bake for 15-20 minutes until jest set – any longer and it will bubble. Test if it’s set by gently shaking the tray – it should be firm in the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove tart from tin before refrigerating for at least an hour or until needed.
  6. To serve, dust tart with a little extra cocoa powder. Arrange pears in the center and drizzle with the red wine syrup. Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 8


MFF_GingerCake

GINGER CAKE

150g unsalted butter
125 brown sugar
200g golden syrup
200g treacle
2 1/2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp warm water
250ml milk
2 large eggs

300g plain flour.

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar, golden syrup, treacle, ginger and cinnamon. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the bicarbonate of soda and water until soda dissolves. Add milk and eggs and stir until mixture is well combined. Pour in the butter mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Sift in the flour and beat until well mixed. Pour into a 20cm x 30cm cake tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until cake is firm when you wiggle the tin. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before inverting and removing the cake from tin. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 12