Banana filo tarte tatin

December 1, 2021

This is a very simple and delicious way to use up bananas and filo pastry.

4-6 sheets of filo pastry (or use puff pastry)
100 g brown sugar
75 g butter
3 ripe bananas, sliced (make circles or diagonal shapes, up to you)
50 g chopped hazelnuts (or any nuts, chopped, flaked or sliced)
orange zest, optional

Preheat oven to 180C. You need an ovenproof frying pan. Place frying pan on top of your filo sheets and cut a circle about 2 cm wider than your pan. Don't discard the cutoffs, you'll use them as well.
Place the pan on medium heat and melt the brown sugar and butter. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and let the caramel thicken and darken. It will only take 4-6 minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally but don't take your eyes off it as it can burn quickly. 
Take off the heat and arrange the banana slices on top of the caramel in a nice pattern. Sprinkle over nuts and zest, if using. Lay your pastry on top, and the extra pieces, and tuck in the sides. Cut a slit in the top for the steam to escape.
Bake for around 25 minutes until the top is browned and crispy. Puff pastry will take a little longer.
Leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a serving plate, using gloves to hold the hot pan handle and the plate.
Best served with ice cream!


Chocolate toffee toothpullers

November 29, 2021

I didn't realise the chewiness factor of toffee increases by a hundred-fold once melted! The caramel oozed out of my cookies, which wasn't a bad thing. However, I will try and enclose them better in the cookie dough next time. Instead of toffees, you can add different stir-ins to this dough, such as nuts, choc chips, dried fruit or candies.

Makes 12

1 c flour

1/2 c cocoa

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch sea salt

110 g butter

1/4 c brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar (I used coconut)

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extra...

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Strawberry shortcake cupcakes

November 27, 2021

These are probably the most involved cupcakes I have ever made, with 4 components, including store-bought extras. It's inspired by Nadija Hussain's recipe which goes all out with the sugar content. I've tried to cut mine back a bit with a refined sugar-free cupcake. Using strawberry ice cream is quite the indulgence but it does give the buttercream a strawberry kick. If you don't have any handy you could use strawberry jam or flavouring essence. For me, it was an excuse to buy some neapolitan...

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Coconut cake with pineapple curd and coconut buttercream

November 24, 2021

This three-part cake celebrates tropical flavours, a nod to our Pacific neighbours. Buttercream is a real indulgence so I've offset it somewhat with a healthier butter-free cake. The curd can also be made dairy-free.


400 g fresh pineapple or a can pineapple in juice

1/4 c / 4 Tbsp butter or non-dairy spread

1/4 c cornflour

1/4 c coconut cream or milk

1-3 Tbsp sugar, optional

few drops yellow food colouring

Make the curd first. Blitz the pineapple in a blender until smooth.

Melt the butter on a l...

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Hazelnut meringues

November 20, 2021

You can use any nuts in this recipe, such as pistachios, macadamia or flaked almonds. Nuts add a nice savoury crunch to an otherwise very sweet plain meringue.

Makes 12

2 egg whites

1/2 c caster sugar

1/2 c icing sugar

1/3 c toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 110C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl whisk the egg whites until firm. Add sugar one Tbsp at a time until thick and glossy. Fold in icing sugar until just combined then fold in the nuts, reserving a couple of Tbsp...

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Hazelnut truffles (homemade Ferrero Rocher)

November 19, 2021

The ubiquitous Ferrero Rocher chocolates are a familiar sight at celebrations of all kinds, especially at Christmas. It's all about the hazelnut and wafer combo that Pietro Ferrero nailed in Alba back in 1942 that has stood the test of time. I've never had enough hazelnuts on hand to try making my own but since I bought that kilo from Mt Hyde Hazelnuts in Dunedin, I gave it a go from scratch. This is adapted from Bigger Bolder Baking.

Makes 35-40
2 c toasted hazelnuts
1/2 c maple syrup (...
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No-knead focaccia

November 17, 2021

Overnight proving makes this a low-effort, high-reward bread. You don't even need get your hands dirty. Great video instructions are on

This is a plain focaccia but you can add flavour bursts to your dough such as herbs, olives, sundried tomatoes - any Mediterranean antipasti and even grapes go well in focaccia. 

2 1/2 c lukewarm water

2 1/4 tsp active dried yeast

2 tsp honey

5 c /625 g flour (I used wheat and spelt)

1 Tbsp salt

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp olive oil

sea salt flakes


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Chocolate hazelnut salted caramel tart

November 16, 2021

I bought a freshly shelled kilo of hazelnuts from Mt Hyde Hazelnut Farm in Outram, near Dunedin. Oh, the things I can do! I usually go for quick gratification recipes but I went all out on this layered pie. Multiple ingredients and components equals multiple dishes and applied time management. The result though is totally worth it. It's a rich tart so moderate-size slices will feed plenty, or the three in our family multiple times! It's from BBC Good Food


1/2 c hazelnuts, toasted and ...

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Apple filo pies

November 14, 2021

I got this idea from Nadiya Hussain. She uses some good 'cheats' to make her recipes quicker. She used 2 cans of chunky apple sauce for her filling, but I haven't seen these in Auckland shops so I just made my own stewed apple.

700 g apples, preferably Granny Smith

Splash of water and lemon juice

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 c raisins

1/2 chopped nuts (I used toasted hazelnuts)

cooking oil spray

12 sheets filo pastry

demerara sugar, optional
icing sugar, optional

Peel and chop the apples into small cubes and ...

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Banana buns

November 13, 2021

These cute little buns use bananas as the sweetener, no sugar added, no kneading needed.

2 ripe bananas

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 egg

2 Tbsp butter, melted

350 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c raisins

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Mix in the yeast, egg and butter until fully combined. Stir in the raisins, then the flour and salt until a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl, and let dough prove until double in size - up to 1 1/2 hours.

Line a 20 x 20 cm cake tin with baking paper. Punch down dough and knea...

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EST. 2010

Frances C loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and DJ. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram and Facebook.


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