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Pear & Chocolate Puff Pastry Parcel

This is one of my all time favourite desserts.  See the recipe for Chicken Puff Pastry Parcel for a savoury version of this recipe as well as step-by-step photo’s.

1 x 800 g tin pear halves, chopped
5 ml cinnamon
50 ml treacle or muscovado sugar
100 g Lindt dark couverture chocolate
500 g puff pastry, defrosted overnight
1 large egg, beaten

To serve
creme fraiche or fresh cream

  1. Combine the pears, cinnamon, sugar and chocolate in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a Wizbake sheet to a large rectangle, about 35 cm x 25 cm.  
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200 º C.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a large sheet of baking paper, to a large rectangle, about 30 cm x 40 cm.
  5. Use a butter knife or spatula and mark a line down the length of the pastry to get a middle line.
  6. Mark a line to the left and the right of the middle line as well.
  7. Cut the pastry sides diagonally in strips, cutting up to the lines at 2 cm intervals.  
  8. Cut away the triangles that will form in the four corners of the rectangle and set it aside. You might need it later to do patchwork!
  9. Spoon the filling onto the middle section of the pastry, leaving at least a 2 cm margin on each short side of the pastry.
  10. Fold the end pieces on the short sides of the pastry over the filling.
  11. Carefully lift the top strip of the pastry vfrom the right hand side and gently pull it across over the filling.
  12. Do the same with the top pastry strip on the left hand side.
  13. Cross the pastry strips over the filling alternating from each side so that the filling is covered with pastry.
  14. Use the leftover pastry and create a rope of sorts and place down the middle of the pastry parcel.
  15. Use a pastry brush and brush the pastry all over with the egg.
  16. Slide a baking tray under the baking paper and bake the parcel for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
  17. Slide the parcel onto a work surface and let it cool for a few minutes.
  18. Transfer the parcel to a serving platter with the help of 2 egg lifters.
  19. erve with creme fraiche or fresh cream.

6 servings.

Notes

  • I crumbled the leftovers of the No-bake Brownies and added it to the filling before enclosing it in the pastry (see the photo below).
  • Substitute the pear with tinned apple.
  • Substitute the pear with about 4 medium pears or apples that has been peeled, chopped and cooked in 125 ml water until soft.
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Strawberry and Custard Phyllo Pastry Pie

A memorable fruity dessert with “lean” custard and a crispy and light deep filo pastry case! Strawberries are a top contender as far as Vitamin C goes – six to eight provide the needs for the day as well as fibre and “sweetness” without many kilojoules.  Make the pastry shell in advance to have ready when the filling is made. Cool the custard before placing the strawberries on top and finishing off with the glaze.

Continue reading Strawberry and Custard Phyllo Pastry Pie

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Grandma’s Milk Tart

This is an excellent recipes which may end the search for a light and flavourful tart with a thick and creamy filling and paper thin crust! Serve slightly warm or cold.  Be sure to also try Carolié’s easy Quick Baked Milk Tart, which is a crustless version of this South African favourite.

Continue reading Grandma’s Milk Tart

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Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

This awesome puff pastry Christmas tree will definitely let compliments stream in!  It is easier to make than you might think, just follow the step-by-step instructions below.  It can be made with a sweet and savoury filling.  The filling is sandwiched between two layers of puff pasty, scored in all the right places, and twisted to form tree branches.

2 x 500g packet ready to roll puff pastry, thawed overnight
a little cake flour for rolling pin and work surface

Filling Options
125 to 250 ml Basil Pesto or Olive Tapenade

To glaze
1 large egg, lightly beaten

To serve (optional)
25 ml melted butter
50 ml Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 ℃.
  2. Place two Wizbake baking sheets side by side.
  3. Open the packets of pastry and unroll one on each of the baking sheets.
  4. Sprinkle a little cake flour on a rolling pin and roll each pastry a few times in each direction to make it a little bigger.  It is important that the sheets are more or less the same size.
  5. Work with the first sheet of pastry, and score a rough shape of a Christmas tree (narrow triangle) with a table knife.  Make the base of the triangle as wide as possible.
  6. Spread the filling evenly on the inside of the triangle.
  7. Carefully place the 2nd sheet of puff pastry on top of the first and cut out the Christmas tree shape.  When cutting, use a pressing instead of a pulling action and be sure to cut through both layers of pastry. Remember to cut out a stem as well.
  8. Remove the excess pastry.
  9. Make horizontal cuts in the pastry for the branches.  Leave about 2 cm down the midle of the pastry for the trunk of the tree.
  10. Start at the base of the tree and twist each pastry branch two times in an upward direction. Don’t worry if you cannot get in two twists on the shorter branches.
  11. Cut out a star from the trimmed pastry and place on the baking tray.  Use cookie cutters with different shapes and sizes and cut shapes out of the leftover pastry.
  12. Brush the star, the tree and the additional pastry shapes with the egg wash.
  13. Slip a baking tray under the Wizbake sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  14. Place the star at the top of the tree.
  15. Brush the tree with melted butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  16. Allow the pastry to cool for a few minutes before transferring it onto a serving plate.

6 to 8 servings.

Variations

Spread the filling evenly on the inside of the triangle.
Carefully place the 2nd sheet of puff pastry on top of the first and cut out the Christmas tree shape. 
Make horizontal cuts in the pastry for the branches.  Leave about 2 cm down the midle of the pastry for the trunk of the tree.
Start at the base of the tree and twist each pastry branch two times in an upward direction. Don’t worry if you cannot get in two twists on the shorter branches – one will do the trick!
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Fresh Pear & White Chocolate Strudel With Raspberry Sauce

A true gourmet dessert which combines the elegance and sophistication of phyllo pastry with the goodness of fresh fruit. The filled phyllo pastry rolls may be fitted into a round cake tin to form a most decorative twist or placed onto baking trays to make 2 small or one large strudel.

Phyllo Pastry
6 sheets phyllo pastry
± 100 ml butter

Chocolate & Nut Mixture
50g/125 ml  coarsely chopped pecan nuts
50 ml   dried breadcrumbs
30 ml   sugar
2,5 ml   ground cinnamon

Pear Filling
500 g firm, ripe pears
60 ml sour cream
30 ml sugar
2,5 ml ground cinnamon

Raspberry or BlueBerry Sauce
500 g frozen or fresh unsweetened raspberries/blueberries
200 ml white sugar
100 ml water

or

1 x 410 g   tin blueberries / raspberries in syrup
10 ml cornflour
30 ml water
30 ml black raspberry liqueur e.g. Chambord or suitable liqueur e.g.Kirsch (optional)

To Serve & Garnish
icing sugar to dust
mint leaves and tiny flowers

  1. Place the sheets of phyllo pastry onto a cloth and cover with another dry and then a damp cloth.
  2. Place the butter into a small saucepan or suitable jug and melt on top of the stove or in the microwave on MEDIUM for 1 – 2 minutes.
  3. Combine the chocolate, nuts, breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  4. Peel and core the pears and slice thinly into a bowl.
  5. Add the sour cream , sugar and cinnamon and toss together.
  6. Lay out two sheets of phyllo pastry next to each other, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/2 of the chocolate and nut mixture.
  7. Repeat once more, cover with the last sheets and brush with butter or margarine only.  Note: If a large strudel is made, place the two stacks on top of each other at this stage.
  8. Spread the pear filling onto the layered phyllo pastry, leaving 50 mm at the edges uncovered. Fold the sides over the filling and roll up neatly.
  9. To make the twist, bend the 2 small rolls and place into a 220 mm spring-form cake tin, brushed with melted margarine, with the ends of the rolls fitting in between each other.
  10. To make the strudels, place onto a baking tray lined with a Wizbake baking sheet and brush the tops op the strudels generously as well.
  11. Bake at 180°C for ± 35 minutes for the twist or small strudels and 45 minutes for the large strudel or until golden and crisp.
  12. If the pastry browns too soon, cover loosely with foil as soon as the desired colour is reached and continue baking for the rest of the specified time to ensure that the filling and inner layers of pastry will be thoroughly cooked.
  13. To make the sauce, if fresh or frozen berries are used, place the berries and sugar into a saucepan and cook over moderate heat while stirring until the sugar dissolves and the berries soften.
  14. Leave whole or strain through a coarse sieve and discard the seeds.
  15. Return the puree if made to the saucepan or place the canned fruit and sauce into the saucepan and stir in the cornflour mixed with the 30 ml water.
  16. Bring to boil while stirring until the sauce becomes thickened and translucent. Cool, stir in the liqueur and serve warm or refrigerate.
  17. Remove the twist or the strudels from the tins carefully and dust generously with icing sugar.
  18. Cut the twist into sections to serve – not into slices as for a cake.
  19. Cut the small strudels into 40 – 50 mm sections or slice the large strudel into 20 mm thick slices. An electric knife simplifies the task.
  20. To serve, pour about 30 ml of the fruit sauce onto each individual serving plate and place 1 – 2 neat portions or slices onto the plate.
  21. Decorate with a sprig of mint and a tiny flower and pass a bowl of whipped cream for those who want to go all the way!

8 generous servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from Art Of Cooking p. 793.

Pear&ChocolatePhylloStrudel

Pear&ChocolatePhylloStrudel-2

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Cheat’s Apple Strudel

8 servings

Pastry

8 sheets phyllo pastry

60 g melted butter

Crumb Filling

50 g walnuts, coarsely chopped

60 ml dried breadcrumbs

75 ml sugar

5 ml ground cinnamon

Apple Filling

1 x 765 g tin unsweetened pie apples

30 ml honey or sugar

icing sugar to dust the baked roll

  1. Lay out the first sheet of phyllo pastry, brush with melted butter, cover with the second sheet and brush again.
  2. To make the crumb filling, combine the nuts, breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/4 of the mixture over the pastry.
  3. Cover with the 3rd sheet of pastry, brush again and repeat the sprinkling and layering 3 x more, ending with pastry.
  4. For the apple filling, chop the apples coarsely in the tin, mix in the sugar or honey and spread over the layered pastry, allowing about 40 mm at all edges uncovered.
  5. Fold over the pastry layers from the sides to cover the filling and roll up carefully and not too tightly to allow for expansion during baking.
  6. Lift the roll onto a greased baking tray and brush with the remaining butter
  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170 °C and bake the roll for 40 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden.
  8. If the roll becomes golden before 40 minutes have elapsed, cover loosely with foil and bake the full 40 minutes to ensure that the pastry on the inside is thoroughly baked.
  9. Dust the roll generously with icing sugar and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before transfer it to a serving platter.
  10. Cut into slices with an electric or very sharp bread knife. The pastry will be very flaky. It will become less flaky if allowed to stand for a while.

 

Variation

Replace half of the apples with drained canned pears.

Replace the walnuts with pecan nuts or use 50/50.