However you round off your meal – velvety cheesecake, apple tart with a twist or sticky rhubarb cake – let us help you do so in the best possible way.
Recipes & food styling: Emma Knowles
Although you’ll want to eat this straight from the oven, allow it at least an hour to cool so the juices can settle. After that, all bets are off.
Sweet ginger pastry
560g plain flour
375g chilled butter, diced
60g icing sugar, sieved
2 tsps ground ginger
900g strawberries, hulled and sliced
260g caster sugar
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1 small lime, juiced
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 2 tsps water, for eggwash
Demerara sugar, for dusting
Crème fraiche or vanilla ice-cream, to serve
1. Start with the pastry. Put the flour, butter, sugar, ginger and a pinch of salt in a food processor and mix to fine crumbs. Add 120ml iced water and mix to form a soft dough (add another splash of iced water if necessary). Remove the dough from the processor, divide into thirds and shape each third into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until firm.
2. Preheat oven to 180C (fan-forced). Roll out 1 pastry disc on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and line a 25cm tart tin with the pastry, allowing the excess to overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Roll out the 2 remaining discs of pastry to rounds about 30cm in diameter, place on trays and refrigerate until firm. Cut each round into 5cm-wide strips and refrigerate until required.
4. For the filling: toss the strawberries, sugar, ginger, lime juice and cornflour in a bowl to combine, then spread the mixture evenly in the pastry-lined tart case. Arrange pastry strips in a lattice pattern on top, pressing the edges to seal, then trim the excess. Brush the top with eggwash, scatter with demerara sugar and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
5. Bake until golden brown and fruit is bubbling (40 to 45 minutes), cover with foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes to completely cook the base and sides. Cool for 1 hour and serve warm or at room temperature with crème fraiche or vanilla ice-cream.
This rich and decadent tart will keep refrigerated for up to a week but is best eaten within a few days.
200g plain flour
100g chilled butter, diced
60g icing sugar
30g Dutch-process cocoa
2 egg yolks
Filling and topping
400ml pouring (single) cream
200g milk chocolate, finely chopped
175g dark chocolate (56% cocoa solids), finely chopped
4 egg yolks
30ml chocolate liqueur
75g bitter dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), finely chopped
Sea-salt flakes, to serve
1. For the pastry: mix flour, butter, icing sugar, Dutch-process cocoa and a pinch of salt in a food processor until it looks like fine crumbs. Add the 2 egg yolks and mix so that it just comes together.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan-forced). Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Line a 4cm deep, 23cm tart tin with the pastry, allowing the excess to overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest, then trim the excess. Add greasproof paper and weights and blind-bake until the sides are dry (10 to 12 minutes). Remove the paper and weights, bake until crisp (6 to 8 minutes). Cool.
3. For the filling: bring 250ml cream to the boil in a saucepan, remove from the heat. Add milk chocolate and 125g dark chocolate, stand for 5 minutes and whisk until smooth. Whisk egg yolks and liqueur in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until fluffy (2 to 3 minutes). Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in an electric mixer until cooled to room temperature (8 to 10 minutes) then spread evenly in the pastry case. Refrigerate until set.
4. For the ganache topping: bring the remaining cream to the boil in a saucepan, remove from the heat, add the bitter chocolate and remaining dark chocolate. Stand for 5 minutes, whisk until smooth. Pour over the filling and refrigerate until set. Sprinkle sea salt flakes on top to serve.
For something a little unexpected, serve with black sesame salt scattered on top. Blitz 2 tbsps of black sesame seeds and 2 tbsps of caster sugar in a blender, then add 1 tsp of sea-salt flakes.
This elegant tart is best served at room temperature on the day it’s baked.
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk
180g caster sugar
150ml lemon juice
125ml pouring (single) cream
Sweet lemon pastry
260g plain flour
80g icing sugar
1 lemon, rind finely grated
160g chilled butter, diced
½ lightly beaten egg
1. Start with the filling: lightly whisk the eggs, yolk and caster sugar in a large bowl until just combined. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally until the sugar dissolves (don’t over-whisk or you’ll incorporate too much air). Whisk in the lemon juice, cream and gin until just combined, pour into a jug and stand for 30 minutes. Skim any bubbles from the mixture’s surface.
2. Meanwhile, make the pastry. Mix the flour, sugar, grated lemon rind and a pinch of salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and mix until it looks like fine crumbs, then add the beaten egg and 1 to 2 tbsps of iced water. Mix in the food processor so that it just comes together. Remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a disc. Then wrap the disc in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan-forced). Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Line a shallow 27cm tart tin with the pastry, allowing the excess to overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then trim the excess pastry. Place on a baking tray, line the tart with greaseproof paper and weights, and blind bake until the pastry is light golden and crisp (12 to 15 minutes). Remove the paper and weights, then return the tart to the oven and bake until golden brown (5 to 6 minutes).
4. Reduce the oven to 140C. Half-fill the pastry case with the lemon filling and place it in the oven – then fill the case to the brim with the lemon mixture. Bake until the mixture is set around the edges with a wobble in the centre (20 to 25 minutes). Cool to room temperature for 2 hours then serve.
165g caster sugar
100ml apple juice
250ml pouring cream
3 tsps white miso paste
65g softened butter, plus 50g melted butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
90g almond meal
35g (1/4 cup) self-raising flour
400g good-quality puff pastry
8 large, tart green apples, peeled, cored and halved
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Thick cream (optional), to serve
1. Preheat oven to 200C (fan-forced). Make the miso caramel: stir the sugar and apple juice in a saucepan over a medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until you have a dark caramel (5 to 6 minutes). Remove from the heat, add 2 tbsps water and the cream (the mixture will spit). Whisk in the miso paste. Set aside.
2. Beat the softened butter, 90g of sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl until fluffy, then beat in the egg and yolk. Stir in the brandy, almond meal and flour.
3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut out a 30cm round, place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper and prick all over with a fork. Spread the almond mixture onto the pastry, leaving a gap of 1cm around the edge. Fold the pastry edge to create a border (about 8mm thick).
4. Thinly slice the apple halves using a mandolin. Fan the slices so that they overlap. Start at the outer edge of the tart and arrange standing upright in concentric circles to cover the base. Brush with melted butter.
5. Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar, and dust heavily over the apples. Bake until dark golden (35 to 40 minutes), and stand for 10 minutes. Brush with the miso caramel and serve warm or at room temperature with any remaining caramel and cream.
Allow plenty of time to chill – overnight is best – to make the most of the cheesecake’s velvety texture.
Biscuit crumb crust
600g digestive biscuits
200g melted butter
750g cream cheese, at room temperature
700ml sour cream
260g caster sugar
Finely grated rind and juice of ½ small lemon
2¾ tsps vanilla-bean paste
1 egg yolk
2 tbsps plain flour
1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan-forced). Line the base of a deep 25cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper and butter the sides. To make the crust, blitz the biscuits and a pinch of salt in a food processor to fine crumbs then mix in the butter. Press evenly into the base and up the sides of the tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. To make the filling mix cream cheese, 300ml sour cream, 240g sugar, 2 tsps vanilla and the lemon rind and juice in a food processor until smooth. Add the eggs, yolk and flour. Mix until smooth then pour into the biscuit crust. Bake until just set with a slight wobble in the centre (1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes).
3. Whisk the remaining sour cream, sugar and vanilla paste in a bowl until smooth. Spread over the cheesecake and return to the oven for 10 minutes until just set. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there to cool for 1 hour. Run a knife around the tin to loosen before placing it in the fridge until completely chilled. The cheesecake will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Choose the straightest stems of rhubarb that you can find to create the pattern. You can thinly slice some of the offcuts and fold through the cake batter to increase the rhubarb flavour, or simmer them with sugar and water to make a tangy rhubarb syrup to serve alongside the cake.
250g softened butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
225g caster sugar
55g brown sugar
1 lemon, rind finely grated
1 tsp vanilla-bean extract
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
80ml well-shaken buttermilk
Yoghurt or thick cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan-forced and butter a 25cm cake tin. Line the base with baking paper. Brush the baking paper with extra butter. Scatter 2 tbsps of the caster sugar evenly over the base of the tin, then trim the rhubarb to fit the base in a single layer and arrange snugly. Scatter with 1 tbsp caster sugar and repeat the layer of rhubarb.
2. Beat the butter, brown sugar, remaining caster sugar, lemon rind and vanilla-bean extract in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, baking powder and buttermilk and beat until just combined. Spread the cake mix evenly over the rhubarb.
3. Bake until golden brown (50 minutes to 1 hour, and when a skewer pushed into the cake comes out clean). Cool in the tin then invert and turn out. Serve with yoghurt or thick cream.