I do enjoy winter in Brisbane. The sun shines and although the west wind blows with force in August, life is pretty pleasant. This kind of weather inspires long walks and great food.

Last week I made a lovely dessert with three elements. The addition of coffee crumble gave it a lovely crunch. Crumbles being added to a dessert plate are very “in” at that moment. I visited Darren’s Purchese’s sweet studio in Melbourne and I bought the cook book so I could learn how to make crumbles. Once you master them you can store them in an airtight jar and use them on other occasions. You could even sprinkle this one on savoury meals.

You can prepare this dessert before hand and then plate the three elements before serving. Here is the recipe for you.

Poached Fruit (Quince, Pear and Strawberries)

3 cups of water
1 1/3 cup (265g) sugar
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Quince peeled, cored and cut into slices
8 Strawberries, hulled and quartered

Add one cinnamon quill, one split vanilla bean and 2-3 star anise.


1. In a large saucepan, heat the water and sugar until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon quill, a split vanilla bean and 2 or 3 star anise.

2. Slide the pear and quince pieces into the sugar syrup

3. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the slices.

4. Remove from heat and let the fruit cool in their liquid. This is when I add the strawberries.

Coffee chocolate crumble (This is from Darren Purchase Sweet Studio Cook Book)

Image 1

75g plain flour ( make this gluten free flour if you need to)

30g unsweetened cocoa powder

5g table salt

75g caster sugar

50g muscovado sugar

125g ground almonds

30g freshly ground coffee

100 g unsalted butter melted and cooled

55g candied cocoa nibs finely chopped.


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Sieve the flour cocoa powder and salt together into a large bowl. Add the sugar, ground almonds and coffee and mix to distribute evenly.

Add the butter and mix with your fingertips until all of the ingredients form a coarse crumb.

Sprinkle the mixture on a baking tray lined with baking paper to a thickness of 1cm and rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool naturally. Pulse the cooled crumbs in a food processor for a few seconds until fine crumbs are formed.

Add the chopped candied cocoa nibs for texture. Store in an airtight container.

Vanilla Panna Cotta


2 cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans
1/2 cup sugar
3 sheets of titanium gelatine sheets
2 cups whole milk
Place the cream and milk in a saucepan. Halve the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a knife then add the seeds and pod to the saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Discard the vanilla pod. Soak the gelatin in water until soft, then squeeze out excess water and add to the warm milk mixture. Stir the mixture until dissolved. Divide among six to eight 4-ounce ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
IMG_9831 To assemble, place Panna Cotta on a serving plate, sprinkle some coffee crumble on top of Panna Cotta, add  the sweet fruit syrup then the fruit. Finally, place some crumble on the plate and some fruit around the Panna Cotta.
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