THE SWEET LIFE
Former Masterchef contestant Liliana Battle draws on her Italian heritage and Australian upbringing in her new cookbook full of tempting treats. From celebration cakes to sweet morsels, there’s one for every occasion
»» Liliana says: You can use good quality store-bought shortcrust pastry. However, making your own is simple. Homemade always tastes that little bit more satisfying, too. This pastry can be used for most tarts. It’s simple and beautifully crisp. The key to making pastry dough is to keep all ingredients as cold as possible. I even store my flour in the fridge. Also, the dough should not be over-worked, it just needs to come together. The less you handle it, the better it will turn out. »» Liliana says: This gorgeous pie looks pretty as a picture. The almond filling is absolutely delicious and you could top the pie with berries, stonefruit, pears, figs or even tinned preserves instead of the apples, if you like. But I love how the apple slices placed decoratively on this tart make it look like a giant rose.
BASIC SHORTCRUST PASTRY
MAKES THIS RECIPE MAKES ENOUGH PASTRY TO LINE 1 X 23CM ROUND
OR SQUARE TART/PIE TIN, 1 X 12CM X 35CM RECTANGULAR PAN
OR 6 X 10CM ROUND TART PANS. PREP 10 MINUTES (PLUS 30 MINUTES REFRIGERATION)
300g plain flour 60g icing sugar Finely grated rind of ½ lemon Pinch of salt 175g cold butter, diced 1 egg ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Place the flour, icing sugar, lemon rind and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (This will only take seconds.) 2 Add the egg and vanilla, and pulse again just until the mixture clings together to form a dough (see notes). Remove from the bowl and press the pastry into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (see notes). NUTRITION: (total) 11,015.1kj; 149.6g fat; 95g sat fat; 39.9g protein; 279g carbs; 11.7g fibre; 507mg chol; 1583mg sodium.
APPLE AND ALMOND ROSE TART
SERVES 10 PREP 45 MINUTES (PLUS REFRIGERATION AND COOLING) COOK 1 HOUR
100g butter, at room temperature, diced 100g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 egg yolks 1 tablespoon honey 100g almond meal 2 tablespoons plain flour 1 quantity Basic Shortcrust Pastry (see recipe, left) 3 to 4 apples ½ lemon ¼ cup apricot jam
1 Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, icing sugar and cinnamon until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolks, honey, almond meal and flour, and mix until well combined. Set aside. 2 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. 3 Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper to fit a 23cm round tart tin. Peel 1 sheet of baking paper off and flip the pastry into the tart tin. Remove the second sheet and use your fingers to press the pastry in. Trim excess pastry and prick the base all over with a fork. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. 4 Line the pastry with baking paper and ceramic weights, uncooked rice or dried beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, and bake for a further 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool. 5 Meanwhile, cut the apples in half and remove the cores. Slice as thinly as you can, using a mandolin if you like. Squeeze lemon juice over the apples and toss to coat. Spread the almond filling into the tart. Arrange the apple slices to resemble petals on the almond filling. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the almond filling is set, and the apples and pastry are golden. 6 Heat the jam briefly in a microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat and gently brush all over the apples while still hot. Set aside to cool completely before removing from the tin. Serve dusted with extra icing sugar. NUTRITION: (per serve) 2134kj; 29g fat; 15.1g sat fat; 6.9g protein; 54.8g carbs; 3g fibre; 95mg chol; 236mg sodium.
+ FOR THE BASIC SHORTCRUST PASTRY: + If the dough seems dry and is not coming together, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water. + You can store pastry dough wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months and defrost in the fridge before using. Alternatively, you can roll out the pastry and line the tart tin then freeze the tart tin, tightly covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 months.