Apricot Tarte Tatin



The story of the Tarte Tartin gives hope to everyone who is absent-minded in the kitchen. This “accidental” dessert is credited to the sisters Tartin who ran a hotel in the town of Lamotte-Beuvron, in France’s Loire Valley. One of the sisters, Stephanie, was known as an excellent cook but also a bit of a scatterbrain. As the most popular version of the story goes, one day she left the apples for her apple pie in the pan for too long and so they over-caramelised.

Not wanting to waste the apples, but wanting to hide the mishap, she covered them with tart pastry and placed the whole pan in the oven to bake. Once cooked, she flipped her concoction back over to serve in order to make it look like a normal tart.

If only every kitchen disaster could be such a hit with guests!

The great thing about this recipe is that it works just as well with any fruit that caramelises nicely. I was lucky enough this summer to have a bumper crop of apricots on my tree and they worked beautifully for this Tarte Tartin. Peaches also work a treat and for the savoury lover, some juicy cherry tomatoes rival their sweeter cousins.



  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • 15-20 apricots
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 ml rum
  • 1 sheet butter puff pastry



  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Put the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan, give it a stir and cook the sugar until it caramelize.
  3. Pour the caramel into a tart dish, glass or non stick is preferable, and make sure it covers the entire base.
  4. Cut the apricot in half, remove the stone and place them on top of the caramel cut side towards you. Once you’ve layed down the first layer of apricots, repeat the process once more. When you flip the Tatin you’ll see the nicer side of the apricots.
  5. Dice the butter and place it on top of the apricots. Pour the rum on top of the fruit.
  6. Place the pastry over the apricots, tuck the sides in and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Once cooked, leave it cool down a little bit then carefully flip it over. A good way to do it is to place a tray on top of the tart and using two towel flip in one move.
  8. I suggest you serve the Tarte Tatin with a delicious vanilla bean ice cream and a glass of Chateau “Suduiraut” Sauterne available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au .



Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas cake, which hails from the city of Milan. Despite having some Italian ancestry myself, I’d never tried this light and fluffy cake loaf. Madame Fermier on the other hand, couldn’t celebrate Christmas without it, and so I was introduced to this breakfast come dessert by her family and now, I couldn’t go without it either. Traditionally in Italy it’s taken with a side of limoncello as more of an after meal dessert, but I love mine with a side of freshly brewed black coffee for breakfast – perfect for Christmas morning while unwrapping gifts! They make great gifts too, and you can even buy molds in mini-versions for a one-serve wonder.



  • 6 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 packet dry yeast (7 g each)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 125mL warm milk
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 yolk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 30 ml vanilla essence
  • 170g butter
  • 3 oranges zest
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 200g mixed peels
  • 80g sultanas or raisins
  • 80g glace cherries
  • 60mL Limoncello




  1. To make a starter sprinkle 1 packet of dry yeast over the warm water in a small bowl and let it dissolve. Then mix through 60g of flour, cover with cling film and leave it to rest until it doubles in size.
  2. Sprinkle the left over yeast over the warm milk and let it dissolve
  3. In an electric mixer bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, vanilla seeds and limoncello for 2 minutes on medium speed, just enough to dissolve the sugar, then add the milk/yeast mixture
  4. Dice the butter and combine it with the remaining the flour. With the tip of your fingers mix them together until you have a sand-like mixture.
  5. Add the starter to the egg mixture and whisk on medium speed until well combine.
  6. Slowly add the butter/flour mix and knead on high speed until the dough become slightly elastic, then add the mixed peels, cherries and raisins, mix well until combined.
  7. Form a uniform ball and place it in a slightly oiled bowl, brush the top with vegetable oil, loosely cover with glad wrap and leave to rest until it triple in size (about 2-2 ½ hours in a warm place).
  8. Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a lightly floured bench. Divide it into 70g portions for mini Panettone or 800g for big ones.
  9. Lightly spray the mold and place a ball in each one. Loosely cover with glad wrap and leave to rest until double in size (about 1 ½ hours for the minis 2 ½ for the big ones).
  10. In the mean time preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
  11. With oiled scissors, cut a cross on top of the Panetone. Gently brush them with egg wash (2 eggs whisked with 50mL milk).
  12. Bake for 9 minutes at 200 degrees and then a further 9 minutes at 180 (350 F) for the mini ones. For the big Panettone, bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees, and a further 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Use a skewer to know if it’s cooked, if it comes out clean when you pick through the Panettone then it’s ready!
  13. Once cooked place them on a cooling rack.
  14. Serve with fresh coffee for a Christmas morning breakfast treat or as dessert with a glass of Limoncello after a delicious Christmas lunch or dinner.


Christmas Day Lunch “Aussie Style”: Part 3

Christmas Triffle:


Ingredients for the custard:

  •  1 L full fat milk
  • 250 g Caster sugar
  • 55 g plain flour
  • 6 free range eggs


  1.  Bring the milk to the boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs and sugar. Sieve the flour and add it to the egg mix. Whisk until combined.
  3. Add the hot milk to the egg mix and whisk until dissolved.
  4. Pour the mix back in the saucepan and cook on medium heat, while whisking. The custard will start to thicken up when it get close to the boil. Once it starts boiling cook it for about 3 minute on medium heat while whisking.
  5. Pour the custard in clean bowl and leave to cool.


Ingredient for the jelly:

  •  1 L water
  • 200 ml black currant cordial
  • 7 Teaspoon gelatin powder



  1. Combine the cordial and water.
  2. Bring the water to the boil, then slowly sprinkle the gelatin on the water while whisking.
  3. Make sure all the gelatin has dissolved, and then divide the gelatin mix in two trays, and place in the fridge to set.


Ingredients for the Triffle:

  •  1 sponge roll
  • ½ cup port
  • 2 nectarine
  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 1 tin peach in syrup


  1. Thickly slice the sponge and arrange it at the bottom of the triffle bowl.
  2. Drizzle the sponge with the port and 1/3 of the half set jelly. The sponge will soak the jelly giving it an even better texture.
  3. Arrange the custard over the sponge, you want your custard to be a little looser than usual to keep the trifle saucy and not dry.
  4. Then dispose the fruit on top of the custard and finish by adding the jelly for the last layer!

I recommend a Chateau Coutet 2006 (Sauternes) available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au




Waffles Liègeoise


Waffles Liègeoise. NOT to be confused with Belgian waffles or the numerous other variations that exist. The Liège variety is slightly sweeter (thanks to the chunky pearl sugar unique to its recipe), has a chewier texture and is a little denser than your stereotypical waffle.

Waffles are making a bit of a comeback on the food scene, and possibly not for the first time, considering how long they’ve been around. The waffle has existed in some form since the early Middle Ages in Europe, starting as a simple wafer made in decorative iron clamps and eventually becoming the sweet breakfast icon that it is today. The original recipes have been evolved along the way as people added levening agents like yeast, sugar and a key ingredient in Liège waffles, butter (this is literally not a dish for the faint hearted!). You can find the pearl sugar from Essential ingredients shop or online at: http://www.essentialingredient.com.au.

With this dish I recommend a Chateau Viranel “ Gourmandise” , Wich is a fortified red wine from the Languedoc region in France, available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

But that’s enough waffling on from me (I know, I should be ashamed of myself, ha)…Bon Appétit!


  • 1 kg bakers flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g fresh yeast or 25g dry yeast.
  • 500 ml warm milk
  • 500 hail sugar (pearl sugar)
  • 100 ml honey
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 500g melted butter



  1. Dilute the yeast with a little bit of the water. If you are using dry yeast you’ll need to leave it to activate for about 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble on top.
  2. Put half the flour, the milk and the yeast in a mixing bowl and stir the mix until well combined. Leave to proof, covered with a teatowel for 20 minutes in a warm place. This is known as a starter.
  3. Meanwhile,  combine the rest of the ingredients together except the hail sugar. Add the ingredients to the starter and knead well for about 5 minutes. Then add the hail sugar and knead until the sugar is well incorporated.
  4. Portion the dough in 150g balls. You can cook them straight away or leave them in the fridge for a few hours. If you leave them in the fridge you’ll need to take them out about 20 minutes to warm up before cooking.
  5. Cooking time will depend on the waffle iron you have at home, but as a guide it should normally take about 8 minutes per waffle.
  6. Plate the waffle on a dessert plate or a sharing tray, drizzle the chocolate sauce over the top, arrange the orange segment around it and the Chantilly cream on top!


Chocolate and orange sauce:

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 300 ml thickened cream
  • 2 orange zest


  1. Bring the cream and orange zest to the boil.
  2. Once boiled pour it over the chocolate and leave for a couple of minutes to rest to allow the chocolate to melt. Give a quick whisk and keep aside.

Chantilly cream:

  • 500ml thickened cream (full fat)
  • 50g icing sugar

Method :

  1. Pour the cream and the icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer starting on a low speed and slowly increase the speed until the cream holds its shape. A good way to know is to tip the bowl upside down, if the cream stays in the bowl, it’s ready!







Blood Orange and Vanilla Crème Brûlée

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Crème Brûlée | Le Fermier

Crème brûlée…just saying the words out loud is enough to glaze over the eyes of most dessert lovers as they start to daydream about the <crack> of the toffee crust as it’s tapped with their spoon, or how the velvety vanilla cream almost dissolves as it hits their tongue, and the surprising <crunch> every now and again as their teeth find a shard of toffee.

Having grown up and studied cooking in France, this quintessential dessert has always been a big part of my life – both the cooking of and eating of it (eating it is definitely my favourite of the two).

Though the origins of this dish may not in fact be French at all (there are strong claims from both the English and the Catalans and its inventors), it’s safe to say the crème brûlée as it exists today is almost so synonymous with French dessert, it could be considered cliché.

I really enjoy making this dish for family and friends as there is an anticipation that builds up when guests know it’s on the menu, a kind of gastronomic foreplay if you will that makes the air feel electric. Thankfully, this little ramekin of decadence always satisfies, while still managing to leave the diner longing for just one more spoonful…


  • 600 ml Thickened Cream
  • 2 orange zest and segments ( blood orange if in season)
  • 1 vanilla bean ( cut in half and seeded)
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks

Le Fermier _creme brulee3_200914   Le Fermier_cremebrulee2_200914

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Method : In a medium saucepan bring the cream and vanilla bean to the boil. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla seeds and the orange zest until the mixture become slightly white. Once the cream has boiled pour it over the egg mixture while whisking. Mix well for about a minute to make sure everything is dissolve. Pour the mix back into the saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon, occasionally whisking as well. Cook until you see a swirl of fat at the top, or, using a digital thermometer, until the mixture reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Then, pour the crème brûlée mix into a clean bowl and whisk for 2-3 minutes to cool it down. Put a couple of orange segments at the bottom of some ramequins and pour the mix over the top and leave to rest overnight. Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of caster sugar over the top of the crème brûlée and caramelise it using a cooking blow torch. A glass of chilled sweet white wine would compliment this wonderful dessert perfectly.

Bon Appétit,
Le fermier

Cannelé de Bordeaux



A Cannelé is a small French pastry with a soft, custard centre and a dark, caramelised crust. Modern versions are cooked using special moulds, ideally made from copper that are sort of a circular shape with a scallop-edge. This shape is widely thought to come from the fact that the word Cannelé in French is very similar to the word “cannelure” which translates to corrugation (think of a classic Aussie tin roof).

The origin of the Cannelé dates back to 1519 when nuns from a Bordeaux convent started to make cakes from flour they’d found on the quay, rhum from the islands and egg yolk left over from winemaking because they used egg white to purify the wine so they would have a lot of egg yolk left over in Bordeaux.

The dish, which is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, is made from eggs, sugar, milk and flour, and flavored with rum and vanilla. Today, cannelés are so popular that they can be even bought at Bordeaux McDonald’s!

As you might assume, Cannelés are often served for dessert but mini versions also make the perfect canapé to serve with champagne at a cocktail soirée.

This dish can be a challenging one to make, as put too much mix in the mold and you will get oddly shaped muffins instead of delicate fresh pastries, or put your oven at the wrong temperature and your caramel will go too far (charcoal Cannelé, anyone?). However, the crusty exterior texture and the almost unexpected soft, “vanillary” inner make it worth all the effort!


  • 1L full cream milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 280g plain flour
  • 475g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 10cL rum
  • 2 tbsps vanilla extract
  • 2 vanilla beans

1821                     1835                    1866


  • Add the milk, butter, rum, vanilla extract and vanilla beans (seeds removed and placed to the side) all to a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the gas off when it starts boiling and leave on the stove to infuse for 15 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl add the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mix become slightly white.
  • Reheat the milk mix in your saucepan on a medium heat until it starts to simmer, turn the gas off again to let it cool down just a little (the milk needs to be quite hot, but not boiling, when you pour it in as this will slightly cook the eggs, giving the Cannelés the perfect consistency)
  • Add about 1/5 of the liquid to the mixing bowl with the eggs and sugar, while whisking.
  • Whisk well, then add the flour, then whisk again and finally add the rest of the milk (by doing it this way you’ll avoid having lumps in the mix).
  • Leave the combined mixture to rest in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • While the mix is finishing its resting, grease the moulds with melted butter, put them upside down to get rid of excess butter, let it set and repeat the process one more time
  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. The Cannelés have to be baked at 2 different temperatures. The cooking starts at a high temperature to caramelise the outside, then lower to cook the inside.
  • For a 5cm high cannelé mould, fill the mould with mixture up to the 4cm mark, and no more. Filling the Cannelé moulds precisely is critical to the success of the finished product.The cannelé mixture will rise in the first stage of the cooking process and if the mixture rises above the lip of the mould it will get stuck and you’ll end up with a “rustic” looking cannelé muffin instead.
  • Place the Cannelé into the oven and cook at 250 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes, then lower temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and cook for another 35 minutes.
  • Take the Cannelé out of the oven and unmould them straight away and place them on a cooling rack, leaving to rest for 2 hours before tasting.