Clas­sic desserts with a twist.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - For more of Matt’s spins on some clas­sic desserts – choco­late ganache tart and golden syrup dumplings – go to de­li­

One of the great things about win­ter is that we all feel a lit­tle less guilty about mer­rily div­ing into warm­ing pud­dings.

Maybe it’s that we need some­thing to cheer us when the weather is ghastly, or maybe it’s just that we have more time to make desserts when there’s not the lure of the beach, but win­ter has some crack­ing at­trac­tions in its sweet arsenal.

As the months drag on, though, the desserts can be­gin to feel a bit repet­i­tive. Rather than re-in­vent­ing the wheel, here are some of my sim­ple ways to put a new spin on those old favourites.

Be­fore you start sharp­en­ing the pitch­forks, light­ing the flam­ing torches and com­ing to my house to forcibly dis­suade me from such heresy as, “chang­ing Nanna’s pud­ding recipe,” I should point out that th­ese ideas are in no way meant to de­tract or re­place those much-loved orig­i­nals.


The first thing you can do is to change the but­ter­scotch sauce. I make mine the way my friend the farmer’s wife first showed me a cou­ple of decades back with 1 cup (250g) melted but­ter, 1 cup (250g) brown sugar and 1 cup (250ml) cream. Adding up to 1 tbs white vine­gar to your sauce is an old bush trick used to knock some of the sweet­ness off the sauce. Add it lit­tle by lit­tle un­til you hit your ideal bal­ance.

I also like to gar­nish my sticky date with chunks of fresh dates and lots of Viet­namese mint. This hot mint has a bizarre affin­ity with fresh dates and it adds bright­ness to the whole affair.


You may have seen me pre­sent­ing a clas­sic self-saucing choco­late pud­ding on Masterchef re­cently.

While you’ll find lots of tips for pimp­ing your self-saucing pud­ding that range from adding rasp­ber­ries and rose wa­ter or all man­ner of nuts and caramels to more un­usual ideas like adding blue cheese, the savvi­est ad­di­tion I’ve come across is adding salt flakes. This knocks off some of the teeth-aching sweet­ness and makes it taste even more choco­latey.


The sim­ple change to this other clas­sic self-saucing pud­ding is to step up the citrus and, in­stead of le­mon, use lime or pas­sion­fruit, or both.

Any citrus will do, but re­mem­ber that this sweet, cus­tardy pud­ding needs a good whack of acid­ity to make it sing. For this rea­son, keep some of the or­di­nary tart lemons in the recipe if you de­cide, for ex­am­ple, to make a Meyer le­mon de­li­cious pud­ding.

If you choose to make a lime de­li­cious, serve with co­conut ice cream in­stead of the usual vanilla.


This dessert is ripe for rein­ven­tion. You can change the fruit or step up the ap­ple fill­ing by adding any­thing from cur­rants and wal­nuts or other fruits like rhubarb, ki­wifruit or black­ber­ries with a lit­tle port.

You can also add any of the spices you would find in an ap­ple pie. A nice com­bi­na­tion is to add car­damom and some plump sul­tanas to the ap­ple.

And re­mem­ber to use the right ap­ple. A tart ap­ple is needed if you are adding cran­ber­ries and maple syrup, or dates and a splash of mus­cat.

You can help al­le­vi­ate sweet­ness by rub­bing or­ange zest through the sugar be­fore mix­ing into the crum­ble and adding a lit­tle or­ange flower wa­ter into the whipped cream you serve with it.

This neatly takes us to all the ways you can cus­tomise the crum­ble top­ping it­self. The ba­sic recipe is just flour, sugar and but­ter, but re­ally, you are only lim­ited by your imag­i­na­tion as to what else you can use.

Try crushed pecans for an ap­ple and cran­berry crum­ble, or have a think about us­ing co­conut or other nuts and seeds. And while I find oats al­ways a wel­come ad­di­tion, you can also add a dif­fer­ent type of crunch with Corn­flakes, Weet-bix, coarse bread­crumbs, oats or even muesli.

Re­cently I’ve been won­der­ing if it’s too mad to give the crum­ble a bit of savouri­ness to bounce off the sweet­ness of the fill­ing by adding grated parme­san, toasted pro­sciutto or herbs like thyme or a lit­tle rose­mary. Too much?

Oh, and re­mem­ber, never over­mix your crum­ble top­ping. It needs to be crumbly when spooned over the ap­ples. And don’t for­get to sea­son with salt.


This clas­sic French up­side-down ap­ple pie can be given a whole new lease of life by sprin­kling a few rose­mary flow­ers or ever fewer chopped rose­mary leaves on it be­fore serv­ing. A lit­tle flake salt is an­other easy twist, or go the whole hog and play with other firm fruit like pineap­ple, or par-cooked quinces in­stead of ap­ple.

DARK DE­LIGHTS Matt Pre­ston’s self-saucing choco­late pud­ding. For recipe, go to de­li­


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.