Spring baking for the warmer weather

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Try your hand at spring baking with some sweet treats that are perfect for picnics in the warmer weather.

Jam tart: tarta me marmelada

jam tart

This is an edited extract from Ikaria: Food and life in the Blue Zone by Meni Valle published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $45 and is available in stores from 2 September 2020. Photography © Lean Timms.

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 250g plain flour
  • 315g apricot jam
  • 1 egg yolk, for glazing

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Crack in the egg and continue beating. Mixing with a wooden spoon, add the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon water and the flour a little at a time until a dough forms. Place on a floured surface and knead gently until it is smooth – don’t over-knead it as it will become tough. Allow to rest for half an hour.

Brush a 28cm tart tin with a little melted butter.

Cut a quarter of the dough and set aside. Roll out the larger piece of dough on a floured surface until it’s a little larger than the size of the tart tin. Place it in the tin carefully. If it breaks, simply press it back into place.

Spread the apricot jam over the dough evenly.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough into a rectangle and cut into 2cm wide strips. Position these strips over the jam, making a lattice pattern, and press down at the edges to secure.

Brush the pastry with the egg yolk and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve at room temperature.


Flourless chocolate, chestnut and rosemary cake

credit line: This is an extract from A Table for Friends by Skye McAlpine, available now, Bloomsbury. Photography by Skye McAlpine.

chocolate cake on a plate
  • Salted butter, for the tin
  • 500g sweetened chestnut purée
  • 4 eggs
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • Leaves from 4 rosemary sprigs, plus extra sprigs for the top
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Heat the oven to 180˚C/fan 160˚C. Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment.

Pour the chestnut purée into a large mixing bowl. Separate the eggs and lightly beat the yolks with a fork, then add them to the purée. Pour in the ground almonds, add the cocoa and mix well. Roughly chop the rosemary leaves and add them to the batter, then stir until well combined.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the chocolate mix. Pour into the tin and sprinkle on a few rosemary sprigs. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out. The cake will keep nicely for 2-3 days.

For more recipes:

First National Altitude
First National Altitude