Christmas Black Forest Parfait


 It’s only six more days until Christmas and I’ve already had to let out 1 more inch from my (already) stretchy pants. What the heck, one more rich dessert couldn’t possibly hurt my waistline, could it?

This recipe is so easy that even Santa (aka ‘Father Christmas’) could whip up this dessert in a hurry in-between his drops down the chimney.

This Black Forest Parfait combines layers of crushed chocolate wafers (or brownies), a creamy ricotta mixture and cherry compote. This recipe evokes the wonderful flavor of a Black Forest Cake, without the fuss of having to make one.

Counting down to Christmas, five, four, three ……

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Parfait (2 of 2) (1 of 1)


Black Forest Christmas Parfait
Yields 4
Layers of cream, cherry compote and 'cheats' Black Forest cake make this a perfect dessert for Christmas
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For the cherry compote
  1. 2 cups fresh cherries
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 2 tbsp sugar
  4. 1 tsp lemon juice
  5. Pinch salt
  6. 1 tbsp blueberry or strawberry preserves (optional)
  7. 1 tbsp. cornstarch
For the Parfait
  1. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  2. ½ cup cream cheese
  3. 2 tbsp sugar
  4. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  5. 1 tsp lemon juice
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  8. 12 chocolate wafers, crushed or 1 ½ cups chocolate brownies, crumbed *
  1. Remove stems and pits from the cherries; place cherries in a saucepan with water, sugar, lemon juice, salt and preserves (optional). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes until the cherries soften.
  2. Mix the cornstarch with a little water to form a paste, then add to the pan. Simmer for a few more minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract and process until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream with electric beaters until peaks form. Fold in the whipped cream to the ricotta cheese mixture.
  5. To assemble the dessert, place approximately 2 tablespoons of the crushed chocolate wafers (or crumbed chocolate brownies) in the bottom of each parfait glass. Top with 2 – 3 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta cheese mixture, followed by a heaping tablespoon of the cherry compote. Repeat the layers and top with a mint leaf for decoration (optional). Refrigerate for several hours prior to serving.
  1. * Here, you could substitute crushed chocolate Oreo cookies.
G'day Soufflé

Southwest Corn Pudding


Corn Pudding 2

On a recent trip to Borrego Springs in the California desert, I was inspired to try some rustic Southwestern cooking. ‘Southwest cuisine’ is a blend of Spanish, Mexican and Native American food and is popular in New Mexico, California, Arizona and Utah. It is similar to Mexican cuisine and is known for its use of spices, such as chile peppers.

Although this recipe is called ‘Corn Pudding’ it is not a sweet dish. Creamed corn is blended with cream, eggs, cheese and green chiles to form a firm pudding. This dish pairs beautifully with chilli con carne or any other spicy meat dish.

Some corn pudding recipes call for white flour, but I think that yellow cornmeal gives a richer texture. I’ve used one can of creamed corn for my recipe, but you can use a can of ordinary corn or fresh corn, if desired.

Corn Pudding (1 of 1) (1 of 1)


Here are some photos from my recent trip to Borrego Springs, located in the Anza Borrego desert in California. The brilliant sunrises and sunsets, the red mountains jutting up from the desert floor, the feeling of solitude within the vast expanse of the desert, all gave me inspiration to try conjuring up some new Southwest recipes.

 Borrego 1 (2)Borrego 2Borrego 4Borrego 5


Southwest Corn Pudding
Serves 6
A creamy corn pudding beautifully paired with chili or any spicy meat dish
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  1. ¾ cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. ½ tsp salt
  4. Pinch of ground black pepper
  5. 1 (15-ounce) can creamed corn or regular corn
  6. ½ cup chopped green onions (spring onions)
  7. ½ cup roasted red bell pepper, diced
  8. 1 roasted green or red chile, peeled, seeded and diced
  9. 1 cup cheddar cheese
  10. 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  11. ½ cup melted butter
  12. 1 cup heavy cream
  13. 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Lightly brush the inside of a Dutch oven or casserole dish with melted butter or vegetable oil.
  3. Combine the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. In order to roast the green or red chile pepper, slice it in half and remove the seeds. Rub the skin with olive oil and bake in oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the skin blisters. Remove from oven and let cool; peel the skin off and dice into small pieces.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the corn, green onions, roasted red bell pepper, diced chile and cheeses. Stir in the dry ingredients, then add the melted butter, cream and eggs and mix well.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the Dutch oven or casserole dish, cover and bake for around 30 minutes. Remove the cover from the dish and let bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until the mixture firms and turns golden on top. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  1. You can use a can of ordinary corn instead of creamed corn, if desired.
G'day Soufflé