Working on a daily breakfast show on any given day, my colleague Zola and I churn out close to 5 recipes a day which amounts to about 25 recipes per week, 100 a month. That is a lot. And with that many recipes being developed, we sometimes have to get a little more creative (and sometimes - okay most times- we have some down right crazy ideas). This morning's show was all about 'Christmas with a South African twist' because although we love traditional dishes like mince pies and christmas cake, let's be honest, they're not our traditions but rather very European. Enter our local 'n lekker milk tart and hertzoggies. Zola had the genius idea of crumbling up Christmas cake and blending it into the pastry of milk tart; imagine all that fruity flavour stuffed into the crust with the creamy cinnamony smoothness of the milk filling. Yummo! I could eat a whole tart. But then I'd have no space for the pies. I loooove mince pies but sometimes the flavour of the filling can be overpowering and it just needs that something extra - enter the coconut meringue topping which I borrowed/stole (thank you Afrikaans tannies) from the humble hertzoggie. Our camera crew devoured them all with gusto and they're always our harshest critics. So, why not serve something traditional (because, let's face it, for some of us Christmas isn't Christmas without the fruit cake or mince pies) but with a local twist and let's start our own South African festive food traditions!
Zola's Festive milk tart
Makes 2 tarts125g butter, softened
½ cup castor sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup Christmas pudding, crumbled
Pinch of salt
Cream butter and sugar together and add the egg, beating well to combine.
Add all the other ingredients – to form a stiff dough.
Divide the dough into two, then press into 2 round sandwich cake tins.
Dock the pastry base then blind bake at 180C for 30 min or until the pastry is golden and crispy.
4 ½ cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup sugar
2 ½ Tbs flour
2 ½ Tbs corn flour
1 tsp vanilla paste
Large Tbs butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place milk, cinnamon stick and cloves into a pot and bring to the boil.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, corn flour and vanilla.
Pour the boiling milk into the egg mixture, while continuously whisking.
Pour the mixture through sieve to remove the spices and return to the pot and cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Add the spoonful of butter and stir through.
Pour into the baked pastry shell and sprinkle with the ground cinnamon.
Allow to cool completely cool at room temperature before storing in the fridge.
Photography by Günther Schubert of www.vorsprungstudio.com
Katelyn's Hertzoggie mince pies
210g cake flour
90g corn flour
100g icing sugar
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
250g soft butter, in blocks
1 cup fruit mince
3 egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
2 cups coconut
Combine dry ingredients in a mixer and gradually add the butter until the shortbread comes together.
Press tablespoon fulls of dough into mini muffin tins. Using your finger, make a hole in the centre of each shortbread and fill with fruit mince.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage then beat in the castor sugar until thick and glossy. Fold in the coconut and spoon small amounts on top of the fruit mince (just enough to cover).
Bake at 150˚C for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin before removing and dusting with icing sugar.