Saturday, 29 November 2014

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia IceCream


Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Seriously, YAY for Christmas!
I love Christmas. It's my favourite time of the year. I think I can thank my mum for that. I love the building anticipation of the season, the parties, the gifts - both giving and receiving - and of course...the food! I have a little tradition in my house which I call 'Four Weeks of Christmas Baking'. Which is just what it sounds like, four Christmas bakes for each week of December. I've done it every year for the past few years but this is the first year I'll be able to share it on my blog! Cos this is the first year I've had a blog...that's how time works.

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
I'm really proud of this one, I drew inspiration from the Australian summer and decided to use one of my favourite fruits - the magnificent cherry! Who doesn't like cherries? Crazy people, that's who. You know I'm talking to you. You crazy. But for the rest of us sane people, summer and Christmas in Australia is big, shiny bowls of cherries. They're so festive and look just like Christmas tree ornaments. I bet you actually could decorate a Christmas tree with just cherries! It would look beautiful!

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
The star of the show, front and centre.

This Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream is the perfect dessert to take to a family get together. It may be a little time consuming, what with needing to pit 750g of cherries but it's not difficult to bring together.

The wonderful task of rubbing in the butter. Use your fingertips to rub the cool butter into the flour.

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
This is what they mean when they say it should look like breadcrumbs. Doesn't really look like breadcrumbs in my opinion, but I suppose you can see it at a stretch.
For the shell, I used the old reliable shortcrust pastry I use for all my pies and tarts. I also added a generous dash of cinnamon. Because we all know, cinnamon = Christmas! On a side note, I've spent the last few months looking for a really good Christmas candle and I have to tell you, the cinnamon Christmas Bliss candle from Sunny and Fair is amazing! Anyway, the pastry is a wonderfully short pasty, meaning its very buttery and crumbly. The cinnamon is subtle but really goes well with the filling and gives it a festive lift.
Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Fancy photo collage. I've gone all pro.

I love the feeling of rubbing the butter into the flour. It's fun to use your hands and get a bit messy! This is a rich shortcrust so there are also egg yolks in this pastry.

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
It's always fun to use cookie cutters!
With the leftover pastry, I made little stars to sit atop the cherries. Because I wanted to keep the cherries plump and fresh, to really take advantage of the season, I baked them separately then placed them on top.

Before the cherries go on...

And after! This is with the glaze too. It's really pretty just like this!
With a lot of cherry tarts, it seems to be the done thing to put an almond filling underneath the cherries but I wanted to give this a modern twist so I decided to put a layer of slightly sweetened mascarpone underneath. The tartness of the cherries matches perfectly with the creamy mascarpone.

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Roughly chopping the yummy roasted macadamias...make sure you roast a few extra to eat on their own!
Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Such a good way to tart up some store bought ice cream! See what I did there? Tart it up? And we're making a tart? Ahhh classic.

Another trick I gave the tart was a layer of jam on the bottom of the pastry case. I didn't quite know if it would add anything to it or if it would in fact take away from the fresh cherries but I'm really glad I tried it as it does add another dimension to the flavours.

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Ta da! So pretty.
In my mind when I was dreaming this tart up, I was thinking of the wonderfully shiny fruit tarts you see in the windows of bakeries. A glaze made of the aforementioned jam with a little hot water and lemon juice will give the tart a lovely shine. With this shine, this tart is ready to be your table centrepiece.
Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
See the jam on the bottom there?

The ice cream sends the cherry tart to another level. It's like going from the week before Christmas to smack bang right in the middle of the big day with Santa Claus scooping big mounds of this amazing ice cream right on top of your slice of cherry tart.
Perfect combo.

Altogether these elements make the perfect cherry tart for Christmas day or any other day when you can get your hands on some lovely cherries! Please join me in my Four Weeks of Baking, I'd love to see what you come up with or if you give one my recipe a go, make sure you share it with me on Instagram or Facebook!

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
And now the photos...

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Delightful Tart!

Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Like my styling? Yeah boi!

Have a look at the weeks of Christmas Baking:

Week 2 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Raspberry Jam Drops
Week 3 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Rum Ball Trifle
Week 4 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Eggnog Cake

Christmas Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream

Prep time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Total time:  1 hr 15 mins plus freezing time for ice cream
Servings: 12
Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
1 litre good quality vanilla ice cream
150g raw macadamias
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup honey
60g butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups plain flour
120g butter, cold and chopped roughly

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar, plus extra
2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra

Cold water to mix
4 tablespoons strawberry jam
375g mascarpone
3 tablespoons icing sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons hot water
Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Take ice cream out of freezer and put in fridge to soften.
  3. Place the macadamias in a single layer on a lined tray and place in preheated oven.
  4. Bake until golden, 5 - 10 mins. Keep a close eye on the macadamias as they have a high fat content and they will brown very quickly.
  5. Remove from oven to cool.
  6. Combine the caster sugar, honey, butter and cinnamon in a small saucepan and gently simmer on low to medium heat for 5 mins
  7. Pour the honey mix over the nuts and stir to combine.
  8. Keep turning nuts over in mix as they cool. Glaze will stick better to nuts as it cools.
  9. Allow to completely cool then chop roughly.
  10. Place into a large bowl then add ice cream and combine well.
  11. Return to freezer to re-set.

 Pastry and Stars

  1. Sift flour into a bowl then add butter and use your fingertips to 'rub' the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon then make a well in the centre.
  3. Add the egg yolks into the well and pull the flour in. Once the egg yolks are mixed, knead gently. Add cold water as required to get the pastry to bond, around 2-3 tablespoons.
  4. The pastry is done when it will roll into a ball and hold. It will be crumbly and stiff.
  5. Roll into a ball and place into the fridge for 10 minutes to rest.
  6. Roll the pastry out with a rolling pin to fit a 25cm loose bottom tart tin.
  7. Using the rolling pin to lift the pasty, place over the tin and use off cuts to cover the bottom and sides.
  8. Blind bake the pastry (place a piece of baking paper onto the pastry and weigh down with baking beans or dried split peas or rice) for 20 mins or until lightly golden then allow to cool slightly.
  9. Meanwhile, re-roll out the rest of pastry and cut out stars using a cookie cutter, around 13 - 15 and place on a lined tray.
  10. Sprinkle  generously with extra caster sugar and cinnamon then refrigerate until the case has baked.
  11. Bake stars for 10 mins or until edges are lightly golden.
 Cherry filling
  1. While pastry case is still warm, spread 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam onto the base of the case.
  2. Combine the mascarpone and icing sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix until combined then set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining jam with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the hot water and gently simmer until it forms a liquid glaze.
  4. Once the pastry shell has completely cooled, spread the mascarpone mix on top of the jam.
  5. Place the pitted cherries onto the mascarpone in a circle, starting from the outside in.
  6. Use a pastry brush to generously glaze the cherries, then place the cinnamon stars on top. Serve with ice cream.

Monday, 24 November 2014


Brisbane Blog Food Cassie Cakes Review Revolver
The outside of Revolver with a very active message board.
The last place I visited while in Sydney was the very trendy Revolver - a café in the lovely suburb of Annandale. We popped in while en route to the airport for me to fly back home. We had hoped to get to an ice cream shop in the city that I very badly wanted to visit but time was running out. We decided breakfast was a priority.

Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Bar Brisbane Blog Food
The ornate antique bar.
Revolver is situated in a beautiful old building, built to be a pub but due to the protests of the local citizens back in the 1890's, functioned as a corner store instead before being transformed into it's current state of a contemporary and popular café. I've read online that there's a guaranteed wait to get a table on the weekends but we had our choice of tables on the Sunday morning we stopped in. After a little musical tables, we decided to sit inside.

Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Bar Brisbane Blog Food
The working fireplace.

Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Coffee Brisbane Blog Food
All of the plates and crockery were mismatched vintage. Lovely.

The interior is very cool with mismatched tables and chairs as well as a working fireplace! The menu was extensive with lots of exciting options including a number of daily specials. The staff were efficient and once we'd ordered, drinks came out followed closely by our meals. For drinks, we ordered a fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh squeezed water melon (both $5.5), a coffee ($4.50) and for myself, a old fashioned caramel milkshake ($5.50). Both the juices were fresh, as promised, however there were a little warm and there was no ice to put in the juices. In summer, I think this would be a little more perturbing than it was in spring.

Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Fresh Squeezed Juice Brisbane Blog Food
Both of the fresh squeezed juices.
The milkshake was really good and I absolutely smashed it. The flavour was good and there was a definitely quality caramel taste. As with most milkshakes, I wish it was a little thicker. I should have gone the extra $0.50 and gotten a thick shake but I didn't see that option til after I ordered.
Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Eggs Benedict Brisbane Blog Food
The Eggs Benedict with that luscious hollandaise sauce.
The first meal to come out on a gorgeous vintage plate was the Eggs Benedict with Bacon instead of ham ($16.50). The bacon and eggs sat on a bed of baby spinach with a generous serve of hollandaise sauce on top. It was beautifully served, however another slice of sourdough to go with the second egg would have been welcome. As it was, it was still filling and delicious. 
Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Carrot Haloumi Fritter Brisbane Blog Food
The fritter is literally the size of a plate.

Next, on another lovely vintage plate, was the massive Haloumi and Carrot Fritter ($17.50). It came with smoked salmon, minted yoghurt, beetroot puree and wild rocket. This fritter was absolutely huge. The haloumi was cut up and cooked into the fritter, not on the side. It was absolutely delicious. I tried some and had a little bit of ordering envy. The beetroot puree and minted yoghurt both paired well with the carrot and haloumi. It was an inspired dish and good for something a little bit different.
Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Avo Eggs Brisbane Blog Food
Avo and eggs on a darling plate. Good fluffy eggs.
The Avo Eggs ($15.50) was a more classic option, with scrambled eggs, avocado, roast tomato, Danish fetta, rocket, salsa verde and sourdough toast. This was also very generous and eggs were cooked well. The tomato could have been cooked for a touch longer but it was not raw like some cafes sometimes serve. This was a simple dish, not mind-blowing but satisfying.
Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Brekkie Tagine Brisbane Blog Food
The amazing Brekkie Tagine.
I'm been pretty taken with the trend of breakfast tagines so couldn't go past the Brekkie Tagine ($17.50) from the specials board. This was a dish of slow roasted lamb, caramelised onion, baby spinach, Danish feta and baked eggs. It was presented on a large board in a cast-iron pan and it was huge. The lamb was tender and the saucy meat went well with the salty feta. It was all absolutely delicious with the yolks stirred in and melting cheese on crusty sour dough. I won the ordering game. Highly recommended if you visit. 
Cassie Cakes Sydney Review Revolver Cute Dog Brisbane Blog Food
Look at this little guy! He wanted to know what was happening inside SO BAD!

Revolver is a great little café with friendly, efficient staff and a good mix of classic and new dishes. It has a great choice of indoor and outdoor seating in a nice, leafy location. Great for all day breakfast catch ups or on your way to go back home to Brisbane!  I had a great time, eating around Sydney with almost exclusively good experiences! Can't wait to go back!

Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Atmosphere: 4/5

Revolver on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Coconut Crème Brûlée

This post is produced in relation with Posh Nosh by Nic (@poshnoshbynic) using Jimalie Coconut Products.
Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Organic coconut sugar with a happy fella on the pack!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a lady named Nic who distributes coconut products. She asked me if I would be interested in having a look at the range by Jimalie which included coconut oil for both cooking and beauty, and coconut sugar. I've used coconut oil in the past but this was the first time I had heard about coconut sugar! My mind instantly started thinking about what I might be able to make to showcase the flavours and coconut crème brûlée came to my mind pretty quickly.
Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Eggs are pretty amazing hey. They are so versatile! Sweet, savoury, in between...they can do anything!

I'd never made a crème brûlée ever, let alone a coconut crème brûlée. I have however eaten one. After the delightful French film 'Amélie' came out way back in 2001, we were all enchanted with the pretty Amélie and her enjoyment of  all sorts of little pleasures, such as 'piercing the crust of crème brûlée with the tip of a spoon.' We went out soon after and experienced the pleasure for ourselves.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
There's 400ml of liquid, 4 egg yolks...there's so much pleasing maths in this recipe.

Crème brûlée has it origins way back in the 1600's, originating in France, which is pretty obvious from the name. Meaning burnt cream, it consists of a silky custard with a sugar crust, caramelised into a crisp shell. I believe traditionally, the custard is served at room temperature but I like it cold served immediately after the sugar has been bruléed - a spoonful with the still warm sugar and the cool custard is perfection! Or, in French, perfection! Yeah. It's the same. I googled it.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Tried to achieve some symmetry in this photo. Hmm. It's pretty good, I guess.

To make the crème brûlée into one of the coconut variety, I used 50% thickened cream and 50% coconut milk, as well as 50% caster sugar and 50% coconut sugar. This is a really easy recipe to double as it's all in the ratio 1:1. Maths, huh.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
The coconut sugar gives this a great flavour and colour. And the smell! So good.
To prepare the dish is easy! Heat the coconut milk and cream mixture, pour into the whisked egg yolks and sugar then pour into ramekins in a water bath. Bake, cool, top with sugar and brûlée! That is literally it. I'm gonna write the recipe down there but it's really simple! 
Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
This bubbly mix is coconut custrard...I bet there are some other uses of this custard.

The coconut flavour in this is so tropical and delicious, it would be prefect for a summer dinner party. Plus you get to impress your guests with one of my favourite kitchen tools - the blowtorch! Fire!

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
All ready for their close up, Mr. Oven. Or Miss Oven. Or Ms. Oven. Yep, that's the one. She's not defined by her martial status to the dishwasher.

The coconut sugar in this permeates the custard and gives the loveliest aroma when brûléed. You can get Jimalie coconut products from cafes and gourmet markets around Brisbane including Paleo Café Bulimba, Zone Fresh Gourmet Markets and Carte Blanche Espresso. For a full list of stockists, head to the Jimalie website!
Now here come the photos! Drool...

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
My food styling at it's best.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Amelie would be proud.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
The money shot! The spoon piercing the crust!

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Get in mah face.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Cool custard and hot sugar. Opposites attract.
Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
Okay now I really want one of these. That silky coconut flavoured custard.

Cassie Cakes Coconut Creme Brulee
 And then I ate it all.
Coconut Crème Brûlée
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Total time:  55 mins
Servings: 2

200ml coconut milk
200ml thickened cream
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoon coconut sugar
2 tablespoon caster sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and place two ramekins into a deep baking dish.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of the coconut sugar and 1 tablespoon in a large bowl until combined.
  3. Place the coconut milk and cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan and place on a medium heat.
  4. Stir the cream mixture and then allow to heat until bubbles begin to appear at the edges of the pan.
  5. Once the cream mixture is sufficiently heated, slowly pour into the egg and sugar, whisking constantly.
  6. Divide the mixture between two ramekins and pour cold water into the dish until it comes two-thirds the way up the ramekins.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until custard is set. It should still be wobbly when it comes out of the oven.
  8. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until cold.
  9. Mix the remaining sugars in a small bowl then divide between the two ramekins, swirling the sugar around to get full coverage.
  10. Using a blowtorch, caramelise the sugars until they form a golden, crisp crust. Alternatively, place the ramekins under a grill until the sugars are golden.

Friday, 7 November 2014


Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review
The charming Dunbar House.
I had two amazing culinary experiences while visiting with my lovely sister in Sydney at An Restaurant and the amazing Rockpool. When I then went to stay with my lovely best friend, she wasn't about to let the food adventure end. We caught an exciting ferry out to the absolutely stunning Watson's Bay and I got my first look at the historic Dunbar House, resting prettily on a undulating rise near the bay.

Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review
Such a pretty building, with picture perfect blue skies.
The house was built in the 1830's  for the Colonial Treasurer before becoming various hotels until 1924, when it then became the Vaucluse Council Chambers. Finally, Dunbar House underwent it's final transformation into the charming venue it is today. It's been lovingly restored with a modern take on a period dining room, with embossed wallpaper and impressive fireplace. Since we visited on a sunny early spring day, we decided to sit on the patio and take in the sparkling water views.

Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review the dining room
The beautiful dining room with modern touches.
The menu at Dunbar House was extensive, with many different options from venison to duck, burgers and pastas. My friend chose the Slow Cooked Berkshire Pork Belly, Celeriac, Apple & Radish with Spiced Crackling ($27) with a glass of 2014 Botolobar Shiraz ($11). I went with one of the many seafood options, the Macadamia Crusted Barramundi Fillet with Fennel, Asparagus & Zucchini, Dill Pesto ($29) and a glass of 2013 Charlotte Sounds Sauvignon Blanc ($11).
Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review pork belly
The pork belly soon to be in a belly.
The pork looked really tempting when it came out and it was a good size. The salad that went with it cut through the fattiness of the meat and the celeriac, apple and radish were classic accompaniments to the pork. The pork was slightly overdone on the outside and as a result the layer of fat under the top was not very rendered very well. It didn't ruin the meal but it might have benefitted from being cooked longer on a lower heat.

Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review barramundi
The barramundi soon to be in a mundi? Doesn't work as well as the pork belly one.
My barramundi was very good with a nice crispy skin underneath the macadamia crust. The portion was well-sized and the salad was fresh. There was not a lot of fennel, but for me, this is a good thing as I find it can be very strong and sometimes overpower a dish. The fish was cooked well, still a little fleshy and soft in the centre like it should be. It was a very nice dish, perhaps ever so slightly bland but I do have quite a strong taste for salt.

Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review beach club
I see you, Moon! You think you're so clever being out in the day but I see you! Go home, Moon, it's not time for youyet!
After we went to a bar across the way in Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel called The Beach Club where we had a few drinks then had a hilariously difficult ferry ride home but that's another story.

Cassie Cakes Dunbar House Review sunset
Ahh what a beautiful day!
In summary, lunch at Dunbar house was lovely with one of the best views I've ever had the pleasure of eating in front of. It was so peaceful and relaxing to look at the bay. The menu is not particularly inventive but there's nothing wrong with sticking to the classics.

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5

Price: 4/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5

Dunbar House on Urbanspoon
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