Recipes from The Cook and Baker

The Cook and Baker

by Cherie Bevan and Tass Tauroa

Recipes for irresistible cakes, slices, pastries and pies that take old-school favourites above and beyond.

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This is a real show-off of a tart. When you crack through the brittle caramel to the sweet citrusy lemon and tartness of roasted rhubarb, it's a revelation. It is not mandatory to brûlée the tart, but certainly well worth the effort.

Makes eight 10 cm tarts • Preparation time 40 minutes plus 30 minutes freezing time for pastry and setting time in fridge • Cooking time 45 minutes

1 quantity Sweet Pastry
3 rhubarb stalks, trimmed
3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
600 ml (21 fl oz) Lemon Curd
icing (confectioners') sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease eight 10 cm (4 inch) round, loose-based fluted flan (tart) tins.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 3 mm (1⁄8 inch) thick. Line the tins and trim any excess pastry. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the rhubarb into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths, place on the baking tray and sprinkle over the caster sugar. Roast for approximately 10–15 minutes, until just soft enough to take the point of a knife. Allow to cool before using. Drain well on paper towel.

To blind bake the tart cases, line the tins with pieces of crumpled baking paper and pour in some baking beads or uncooked rice or dried beans. Bake for 10–15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, return to the oven and bake until golden, approximately a further 10–15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Place the rhubarb into the tart shells, spoon over the lemon curd and level with a palette knife. Put into the fridge until the curd sets.

Sift a thin, even layer of icing sugar over the lemon curd. Ignite a brûlée torch and with a slow sweeping motion guide the flame over the sugar. The nozzle should be 5–7.5 cm (2–3 inches) from the surface. The sugar will melt slowly at first then caramelise. Serve immediately.

Sweet Pastry

Makes about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) • Preparation time 15 minutes plus 30–60 minutes chilling time • Cooking time nil

250 g (9 oz/12⁄3 cups) plain
(all-purpose) flour
55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
pinch of salt
200 g (7 oz) butter, cold and diced
50 ml (1¾ fl oz) cold water

Sift the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the cold butter and mix on low speed until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the water and mix until the dough forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, press into a flat disc, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30–60 minutes before using.

Lemon Curd

Makes about 1.25 g (2 lb 12 oz/5 cups) • Preparation time 30 minutes • Cooking time 15 minutes

300 ml (10½ fl oz) lemon juice
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
330 g (11¾ oz/1½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
450 g (1 lb) butter, at room temperature, diced

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, whole eggs and egg yolks, caster sugar and salt until well combined. Place over a large saucepan of simmering water, and make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water.

Hand-whisk for approximately 10-15 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick and reaches 82°C (180°F) on a sugar thermometer. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Add the butter a little at a time, whisking after each addition and making sure the butter is fully incorporated before adding more.

Lemon curd should be pale yellow and thick.

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And so the debate goes on. Origin unproven, but there’s one thing we all agree on - we love lamingtons! Ours have a layer of raspberry jam running through the middle. Best served with lashings of our vanilla whipped cream.

Makes 12 small cakes • Preparation time 45 minutes • Cooking time 30 minutes

300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) self-raising flour
40 g (1½ oz/1⁄3 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
340 g (12 oz) butter, softened
330 g (11¾ oz/1½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
6 eggs, at room temperature
100 ml (3½ fl oz) milk

Lamington Dip
160 g (5¾ oz/1½ cups) dark cocoa powder
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/4 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar
100 g (3½ oz/2⁄3 cup) chopped dark chocolate
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) boiling water

320 g (11¼ oz/1 cup) Raspberry Jam
350 g (12 oz/51⁄3 cups) thread (shredded) coconut, for coating  
1 quantity Vanilla Whipped Cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease a 12-hole standard 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) muffin tin.

Sift together the flour and cornflour, and set aside.

Use an electric mixer with a beater attachment to beat the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla and then beat in the eggs one at a time. If the mix starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of the sifted flour. Fold in the rest of the sifted dry ingredients, then add the milk and mix until just ncorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sponge springs back when gently pressed on top. Cool in the tins before turning out.

For the lamington dip: Sift the cocoa powder and icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add the chopped dark chocolate and pour over the boiling water. Whisk until combined and the chocolate has melted. Strain through a sieve to remove any lumps and allow to cool.

To assemble: Cut each sponge in half and sandwich together with the raspberry jam. Carefully dip each one into the lamington dip, drain off any excess chocolate and roll in the coconut threads to coat. Place on a wire rack to dry.

Serve with vanilla whipped cream.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.

Raspberry Jam

Makes about 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz/4 cups) • Preparation time 30 minutes plus 10 minutes standing time • Cooking time 40 minutes

1 vanilla bean
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz/8 cups) raspberries, fresh or frozen
495 g (1 lb 1½ oz/2¼ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthways, then scrape the seeds from the halves using the tip of a sharp knife.

In a heavy-based saucepan, put the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean and seeds, and 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water. Stir constantly over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20-25 minutes until the mixture will jell when tested on a cold saucer.

Discard the vanilla bean. Stand the jam for 10 minutes to settle before pouring into hot sterilised jars.

Note: Store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Vanilla Whipped Cream

Makes about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) • Preparation time 10 minutes • Cooking time nil

½ vanilla bean
300 ml (10½ fl oz) thin (pouring) cream
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar

Split the half vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds using the tip of a sharp knife.

Combine the cream, vanilla seeds and sugar in a bowl and use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks.


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The delicious partnership of roasted pumpkin, ricotta and caramelised onion makes this a great summer tart to take to a picnic in the park. It will only take moments to assemble once you have made the pizza dough and filling.

Serves 8 • Makes one 30 cm (12 inch) tart • Preparation time 30 minutes plus cooling time • Cooking time 1 hour 10 minutes

750 g (1 lb 10 oz/5 cups) seeded, peeled and chopped into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces uncooked pumpkin
olive oil, to coat and drizzle
250 g (9 oz/6¼ cups) English spinach
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz/41⁄3 cups) fresh ricotta cheese
25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) grated parmesan
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) Caramelised Onion
1 quantity Pizza Dough

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tin with baking paper. Toss in the pumpkin cubes with enough oil to lightly coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Sauté the spinach in a frying pan over high heat for 1–2 minutes until wilted, leave to cool, then use your hands to squeeze dry.

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan, eggs and salt and pepper. Fold through the pumpkin, spinach and caramelised onions.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to 40 cm (16 inches) round and 5 mm (¼ inch) thick.

Transfer the rolled dough to the prepared tray. Spread the ricotta mix over the pizza dough leaving a 5 cm (2 inch) border. Gather the edge of the dough and drape back over the filling to create a ruffled look.

Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

This is delicious served hot or at room temperature.

Caramelised Onion

Makes about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) • Preparation time 20 minutes • Cooking time 30 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large red or brown onions,
thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan over low heat. Add the onions and salt and cook for 15–20 minutes until softened. Stir frequently to prevent them from browning.

When the onion is cooked and lightly golden, stir in the sugar and vinegar. Continue to cook over low heat for a further 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sticky and caramelised.

Pizza Dough

Makes about 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) • Preparation time 20 minutes plus 30 minutes proving time for dough

750 g (1 lb 10 oz/5 cups) plain
(all-purpose) flour
40 g (1½ oz) dried yeast
¼ teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
400 ml (14 fl oz) tepid water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the flour, dried yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the tepid water and oil and mix on low speed until combined. Knead the dough at this speed for approximately 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, approximately 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 30 seconds until the dough is its original size. Shape the dough into a ball, and press lightly to flatten.


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