Monthly Archives: September 2011

south african chelsea buns

Remembering the composition of these sticky buns takes me straight back to high school. Hot, highveld lunch breaks in Greenside, Johannesburg spent sitting in the sun in the concrete flag stone quad with class mates – idle chatter interspersed with quiet munching. The bell would ring shrilly signally break and on days when I had tuck money I would tear down to the tuck shop to avoid the queue. Lunch would consist of the special of the day and an ice-cold coke or frozen slushy. Mondays hotdogs… Tuesdays hamburgers… Wednesdays chutney mince rolls… Thursdays… Thursdays and Fridays I forget. And if I had scrounged enough money together lunch would be finished off with a big chunk of sticky chelsea bun.

The buns would come pre-wrapped in cling film, and I remember them being much bigger than any others I have seen in the last few years, and certainly bigger than the ones I recreated. Sitting cross-legged on the warm concrete I would discard the unwanted cling film and then start devouring my bun by carefully peeling away and eating it layer by layer, spiralling down through moist yeasty bun infused with cinnamon, sweet vanilla custard cream and raisins – all stuck together by the sugary icing on the top. Pure bliss. And certainly enough calories to power me through the next four periods before home time.

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creamy peanut butter pie

This is a pie for Mikey. This is a pie for everyone I love. I never met Mikey, nor his beautiful wife Jennie and their two daughters, but I identify immensely with their story. Jennie is a food blogger in New York whose world changed instantly when Mikey died very unexpectedly four weeks ago today. A heart attack, like my Dad ten months ago. Both brutally decades too early.

Jennie had been meaning to make Mikey’s favourite peanut butter pie for him and now it’s too late. So she put it out to the food blogging community – a strangely close community separated by millions of miles yet tied closely together by their shared love for food – to make this pie and share it with those they love, “then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on”.

So I made this pie and shared it with those I love who are close enough to have tea and pie with – and sent virtual hugs to those not close enough. It’s sweet and delicious and comes from In Jennie’s Kitchen.

225g chocolate cookies
4 tbs butter, melted
115g finely chopped dark chocolate chips
60g chopped peanuts
240ml heavy cream
225g cream cheese
225g smooth peanut butter
225g confectioner’s sugar
420ml sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.


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