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"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

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Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

Semolina custard in kataifi with wild figs and Turkish apricots


You'll need

250 gm butter, melted 375 gm kataifi pastry (see note) To serve: vanilla bean ice-cream   Semolina custard 800 ml milk Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean 6 egg yolks 4 eggs 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar 100 gm fine semolina 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped   Wild figs and Turkish apricots in syrup 375 ml dessert wine, such as botrytis 230 gm caster sugar 1 tsp orange-blossom water 150 gm each semi-dried wild figs and small dried Turkish apricots (see note)

Method

  • 01
  • For semolina custard, bring milk and vanilla seeds to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk yolks, eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale, add milk mixture, whisk to combine, then return to pan. Gradually whisk in semolina and butter, whisk continuously over medium heat until very thick (5-10 minutes), then divide among six 9cm-diameter ramekins lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm (2 hours). Turn out onto a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until required.
  • 02
  • For wild figs and Turkish apricots in syrup, combine wine and sugar in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, add orange-blossom water and fruit and simmer over low heat until fruit is plump (10-15 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 170C. Place butter in a bowl and dip kataifi in butter to coat thoroughly. Place six 11cm-diameter ring moulds on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Divide half the kataifi among moulds, top with semolina rounds, then finish with remaining kataifi, tucking in edges. Bake until bases are golden (10-15 minutes), then carefully turn over and bake until bases are golden (10-15 minutes). Serve warm with fruit in syrup, with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream.
Note Kataifi, a shredded pastry, is available from select delicatessens. Semi-dried wild figs and dried Turkish apricots are available from select delicatessens and Pariya.

This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Plush late-harvest viognier.

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