Tropical Pie Recipe

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“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
~ Ruth Reichl

 

And so, the moment of truth…

Does the Tropical Pie of my childhood still measure up?

*Nicole laughs gleefully and claps her hands*

Darn tootin’ right it does!

The pie has a crunchy toasted coconut crust, and a creamy light filling, flavoured with lemon, orange and pineapple. Heaven in a bowl, really. It speaks of summer, and relaxed tropical nights.

I think this particular dessert is fancy enough to serve at a dinner party or a fancy gathering, but it will also be a welcome addition to a family barbeque or a casual weekend meal. It’s actually a much more sophisticated recipe than I’d realised, and the flavour nuances are just as I’d remembered them. Maybe better.

There are a few steps, so you’ll need to allocate a little time for each part of the preparation – this one’s not a simple throw-together dessert. But hey, sometimes that little extra effort really does pay off. I’d make this the day before or early in the morning of the evening you’ll need it.

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Ingredients:

Crust: 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, 60g (2 ounces) melted butter plus extra butter for greasing pie tin

Filling: 1 x 440g (15 ounce) can of pineapple pieces (I used the pineapple in natural juice with no added sugar, but in the seventies it was sugar all the way!), 5 teaspoons gelatine, 1/2 cup castor sugar OR the equivalent of Natvia or your favourite sweetener, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 eggs, separated, 1 tablespoon rum, 1 tablespoon Cointreau or orange juice, 1 and 1/4 cups (1/2 pint) of cream

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Method for Base:

1. Grease a 9 inch/23 centimetre pie plate, or use baking paper to line a spring-form tin of the same dimensions.

2. Preheat oven to slow – 120C or 250F. If it’s a fan-forced oven knock the temperature back to 110C or 230F

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3. Add the coconut to the melted butter, mixing well. Press firmly into the base and up the sides of the pie dish. If you don’t press firmly, the base will not hold together. I like to use a cup or glass with a firm base and straight sides to really press that crust well.

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Yes, Soul Sanctuary girls, I am still wearing my Friendship Bracelet :D.2015-01-20 14.12.21

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Look how lovely that crust is! I am already dreaming up other fillings for it…

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Method for Filling:

1. Empty and save the juice from the can of pineapple, then add enough water to make 1 and 1/2 cups. Place juice in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, and then sprinkle the gelatine over the top. Place over moderate heat, and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

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2. Beat egg yolks until thick and foamy.

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3. Gently pour a small amount of the hot liquid into the yolks, whisking all the while. Continue whisking and add the hot liquid very slowly until it is all added. Then add in the rum and Cointreau.

4. Chill this mixture until it has the consistency of unbeaten egg white.

5. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff.

6. Beat the cream until thick.

7. Fold the drained pineapple and cream into the egg yolk mixture.

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8. Then gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Spoon into the pie crust and chill until well set.

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Serve on its own or with some cream or a good ice-cream.

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According to my husband, Tropical Pie also proves to be excellent breakfast food. 😉

I hope you enjoy this recipe from my childhood.

It really is as good as I remember!

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Walnut and Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites – Fit for a Prince!

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

 

While the world is abuzz with excitement at the birth of the Kate and William’s new baby boy, here we are celebrating by eating macaroons and drinking tea.  Welcome, Little Prince.  We shall blog about you tomorrow…

In the meantime, recipe!

In our household we call these little treasures yummy ‘uglies’.  They may not be the prettiest treats, but the taste more than makes up for it. Walnut and dark chocolate is a heavenly combination, made even better with coconut, and they are quick to whip up.

A variation of a macaroon, these Bites are gluten-free and can also be sugar-free, so they are great for diabetics and people with food intolerances or following a paleo diet.

Ingredients:

3 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut; 2 eggs; 3/4 cup of sugar or natvia (or other sweetener of your choice; 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts; 1/2 cup of roughly chopped dark chocolate.

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Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a baking tray/cookie sheet with baking paper.

Measure the coconut and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Dump in the walnuts and chocolate.

Break the eggs in and mix thoroughly. Leave stand for five minutes.

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Using a soup spoon or similar, dip the spoon into a mug of water (so the mixture doesn’t stick) and then press the palm of your other hand down on the spoon to firm up the mix. Drop onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture is used, dipping spoon in water frequently to avoid sticking.

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It doesn’t matter if your Bites look a little messy and rustic. That’s part of their charm. If you want to get fancy, place a little bit of walnut on the top of each Bite. (As you can see, I wasn’t bothered. If the Queen had been coming to afternoon tea I would have made the effort though!)

Place into the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack until completely cool.

Although… if you eat them while they’re still warm the chocolate inside will still be gooey and extra delicious.  Fit for Royalty, and excellent for afternoon tea. 🙂

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No-Bake Yummy Slice Recipe

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“When all else fails, take a vacation.” 
~ Betty Williams

It’s school holidays here in Queensland, and this it the perfect easy slice to make.  In fact this recipe is so easy that the kids will have a batch of these whipped up faster than you can say “you’ll like this – it has chocolate in it!”

I’d love to have a more inventive name for this slice, but for years it has just been referred to as Nicole’s Yummy Slice.  It’s a delicious combination of apricots, nuts, oats, seeds and a dash of chocolate, and there’s no baking involved at all – just a little heating of a few wet ingredients.  This slice has been a stalwart at my workshops, and it’s a great standby recipe for school holidays, or as a lunchbox treat.  I also like to give it as a gift. It makes an ample batch, which is handy because it seems to get eaten very fast.

Ingredients:

Place the following in a large bowl:  3 cups of rolled oats, 1 cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup of sesame seeds, 1 and 1/2 cups (200 grams) of chopped dried apricots, 3/4 cup of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), 1 cup of flaked almonds (100 grams), 1 and 1/4 cups of milk chocolate chips (250 grams)

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Place the following into a saucepan: 200 grams butter cut into cubes, 1/2 cup of soft brown sugar, 1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter, 1/2 cup of honey

Method:

Use baking paper to line a 20cm by 30cm slab tin ( 8 inch by 12 inch).

Stir the dry ingredients together until well mixed.

Melt the wet ingredients together over medium heat, stirring so that it doesn’t catch on the  bottom and burn. When it is all melted, pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Dump into the tin and smooth out well, using the back of a spoon or a clean hand, which has been dipped in water so that the ingredients don’t stick to you!

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Refrigerate until firm, cut into squares and demolish!  Goes well with a glass of milk, a cup of tea or coffee or just on its own.  Enjoy 🙂

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Nicole’s Fruit Slice Recipe

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“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” ~ Tom Stoppard

This week’s offering for my ‘Slice Extravaganza’ series – recipes taken from the hallowed  Family Recipe Book – is known simply as ‘Nicole’s Fruit Slice’.  Why? When I was a little girl it was my absolute favourite, and I never tired of it.

It has a moist biscuit base, a luscious tangy fruit filling with a hint of cinnamon and lemon and a sweet glace icing to top it off.

I would race home from primary school with my little brother and sister in tow, find the big old key under one of the potplants beside the laundry, unlock the back door, get everyone out of uniforms and into play clothes and then we would sit and have afternoon tea at the table in the kitchen before we did our homework. One glass of cordial each, or milk if there was plenty, and a piece of slice. (Often, we ate two..)

I am still quite partial to pink icing. Especially on cupcakes.  But that’s a whole other story. As you can see from the picture below, food appreciation and daydreaming has been a big part of my life since I was small! You will also see that I avoided eating crusts, on account of them making your hair go curly.

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Base Ingredients:

1 x cup of plain flour (all purpose flour), 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of lightly packed soft brown sugar, 1/2 cup (4 oz or 125 grams) butter cut into cubes

*Note – for vegans, use a vegetable butter substitute.  If you’re gluten intolerant, this works fine with a commercial gluten-free flour mix and coconut substituted for the oats. – Don’t pack this too tightly into the tin if using the gluten-free mixture.

Fruit Layer:

1 cup of dried currants, 1/2 cup of sultanas (golden raisins), finely grated zest of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of cornflour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 cup of water

Glace Icing (Frosting):

1 cup of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) 1 teaspoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of milk, pink food colouring

METHOD:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a 28cm x 18cm (7 inch by 11 inch) slice tin with some baking paper.

Base:

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and then rub in the butter with your fingertips.  The mixture should resemble soft bread crumbs.  Press the mixture firmly into the paper-lined tin, making sure to fill right to the edges.

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Fruit Layer:

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and stir to combine,  Keep stirring over moderate heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and spoon evenly over slice base.

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Place your slice into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the top is firm.

Glace Icing: (Frosting)

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and beat until smooth.  Colour a pleasing shade of pink. (Trust me – this is an issue of personal taste.) Place bowl over hot water until the icing is very runny and easy to spread. Pour over warm slice and spread to the edges.

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Allow to cool in tin before removing.  Cut into small squares. DO resist cutting before it cools, as slice takes a few hours to firm up and you’ll be left with a crumbly disaster! **Note – cooling can be hastened by placing in refrigerator…

Store in an airtight tin in a cool place. Goes exceptionally well with a cold glass of lemon cordial, milk or for the grown ups – hot French Earl Grey Tea!

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Chocolate Covered Coconut Slice Recipe

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate and coconut is a heavenly combination, and this particular slice recipe delivers! It is quite light in texture, so it’s not rich and it’s not too sweet – a crisp biscuit base, a fluffy coconut centre and a succulent layer of real chocolate to top it off. This slice is a perfect accompaniment to a floral or fruity tea, or a good coffee.

It can also easily be modified to become gluten-free and diabetic friendly. Vegans – please use your favourite butter and egg substitute – I quite like replacing the egg with a 1/4 cup of applesauce or a 1/2 a banana, both of which compliment the other flavours.

Today’s recipe is another offering from the Family Recipe Book, our treasured ‘passed down’ and hostess-acquired recipes from three generations of women who love to cook.

INGREDIENTS

Biscuit Base: 95 grams of butter (3.35 ounces or 0.85 of a stick of butter), 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (superfine sugar) or equivalent sugar substitute, 3/4 cup plain flour, 1/4 cup self raising flour (self-rising for my USA friends or 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 x teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, sifted together),  1 tablespoon of cornflour, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

*Note: if using gluten-free flour use 1/2 cup of plain and 1/2 cup of self raising flour for a better result.

Coconut Filling: 2 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons of sugar (increase to 4 if you prefer a sweeter slice) or equivalent sugar substitute, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 2 tablespoons of self raising flour, 3/4 cup of milk or your favourite milk equivalent.

Chocolate Topping: 200 grams (7 ounces) of your choice of milk or dark chocolate ( I like a combination of both!) broken into pieces, 25 grams (0.9 ounces) copha or vegetable shortening. If you’re diabetic please use a diabetic chocolate or a dark chocolate that is low in sugar. 

choc mix

METHOD

Base:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a 28cm x 18cm (7 inch by 11 inch) slice tin with some baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together (using electric or hand beaters) until light and smooth. Add in the vanilla and dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Mixture should be a crumbly paste.

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Press firmly into the tin, taking care to push mixture right into the corners. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden all over. Remove from oven and rest for ten minutes.

Coconut Filling:

Prepare this while the base is in the oven. Mix all ingredients together and leave sit for five minutes for coconut to swell and absorb any fluid. Spoon over the biscuit base, spreading evenly.  Return to oven and bake another twenty five minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.  Cool in tin.

Chocolate Topping:

Melt broken chocolate and copha in a saucepan together over low heat, stirring frequently until mixture is smooth and lump free. (You could also use your microwave – but we’re a microwave-free household so you’re on your own for instructions here!) Pour over Slice and spread carefully to the edges.  Leave to set in tin, and then cut into small squares.

Store in an airtight container, and refrigerate if you live in a hot climate or like your chocolate layer crisp..

*Warning – this Slice is prone to evaporation and other mysterious disappearances. 

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Variations:

* Evenly space walnut halves in lines before the chocolate sets so that when you cut the slice each square will have a walnut half decorating the centre.

* Add a tablespoon of Malibu (coconut flavoured white rum) to the coconut filling before baking.

* Spread a thin layer of Nutella on the biscuit base before adding the coconut layer. (This is especially good, and also goes well with the Malibu layer for a special treat.)

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Nana’s Passionfruit Slice Recipe

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“Cooking is not about being the best or most perfect cook, but rather it is about sharing the table with family and friends.”  ~ Skye Gyngell, My Favorite Ingredients

This is an old recipe that my Nana copied out from her friend Dulcie, after a successful ‘War Wives Luncheon’ during World War Two. At least that was the memorable annotation she jotted at the bottom of the piece of paper the recipe is written on.  As a child I would ask Nana over and over to tell me about that Luncheon in Sydney, and she would remind me how hard it was to make tasty food with all of the rationing and restrictions. Dulcie’s slice had been a real winner.

As a child I painstakingly copied the same recipe into the Family Recipe Book.  Each time I make this I think of my Nana and her friends, sitting drinking cups of tea, eating slice and chatting during the long days of the War, with the rations and limitations and hardships.

There’s a lot of comfort to be had in a cup of tea and a slice.

tea in front of the fire

Base Ingredients:

1 x cup of self raising flour (self-rising for my USA friends or 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 x teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, sifted together), 1 x cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup of  sugar, 1/2 cup (4 oz or 125 grams) melted butter, finely grated zest of one lemon.

*Note –  If you’re gluten intolerant, this works fine with a commercial gluten-free flour mix.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a 28cm x 18cm (7 inch by 11 inch) slice tin with some baking paper.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and then mix through the melted butter.  The mixture should be moist and crumbly.

Press the base into the tin, being careful not to press down too heavily. (If you compact the base too much it becomes very hard to cut after it has cooked.)

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden.

Remove from oven and cool completely. (This step is essential!)

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Topping:

1 x 395g can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, pulp of 3 passionfruit.

Heat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit), and then just before you pop the slice back in, knock the temperature back to 140 degrees for your fan forced oven or equivalent.

passfruits

Whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp together.  The mixture will thicken from the acidity of the lemon juice. At this stage you should taste it… (Okay, I made that bit up, but who can resist?)

Pour the passionfruit topping over the biscuit base and smooth over until you have a good coverage.

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Bake in the slow oven for twenty minutes. The topping should be firm to your touch, and pale golden.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in refrigerator in a hot climate, or if you are not eating this all in one day.  To serve, cut into small squares.

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Simple Baked Apple Recipe

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“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~ Martin Luther

Nothing says comfort food like a baked apple – easy to make and good for you too. Traditionally my Nana stuffed apples with a butter, sugar, oats and sultana or currant mixture.  My version still tastes sweet and delicious but is dairy, sugar and gluten free.  Trust me – no one will think any the lesser of you for omitting all that other stuff.  They’ll be too busy eating!  Soft sweet medjool dates and ginger give a lovely caramelly texture and zing, and walnuts – well it just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Ingredients: 1 x cooking apple per person – I like Granny Smith Apples for this; plus 2 medjool dates, a tablespoon of walnut halves, a piece of glace ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice per person.  Note: If there is still too much sugar in the glace ginger for you, trying adding a little extra date and some powdered ginger.

Method: Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Using a sharp knife or an apple corer, remove the core of the apple.  Then take a knife and run it around the circumference of the apple so that you just break through the skin.  This is important so that your apple doesn’t explode when it is cooking. Core your apples Chop your dates, ginger and walnuts and combine them in a bowl with the squeeze of lemon juice.  Mix them well together. Dates, ginger and walnuts Now press the mixture into the empty core of each apple.  Start by filling the bottom, pressing the mixture in firmly.  Then turn over and place into an oven-proof dish. (I find a piece of baking paper helps with easy clean-up.) Keep pressing filling into the core until it is filled to the top.  Mound a little extra over the hole, pressing down well. 2013-04-04 16.43.11 Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes. To serve, simply place in a bowl and eat.  They go very well with a dash of cream, custard, some yogurt (try coconut yogurt if you’re vegan or dairy free!) or a good ice-cream. Baked apples are a terrific dessert but do try them for a warm breakfast on a cold morning. Super Yum Delish! baked apple and cream