Breakfast Treats, Savory

    Tomato Calafoutis with Pines Nuts and Oregano


    Calafouti, or as the French call it – Calafoutis, is a traditional pancake-like batter dessert, dotted with cherries. Traditionally baked with black cherries from the Limousin region in France (and in some versions with the actual cherry pits), it is an easy, summertime dessert that you can make in a breeze and serve with chilled Riesling as an afternoon treat. A dollop of crème fraiche is also a lovely accompaniment.

    This next recipe is a different take on the traditional calafouti. It’s savory, studded with veggies and cheeses and can easily become a favorite dinner or  breakfast.

    The basic batter is creamy with the addition of cream cheese (or Mascarpone if you really want to go over the top), cheeses, herbs, veggies and a little bit of a nutty-crunch. It is totally up to you what to put in it -it will work extremely well with diced pumpkin, sweet potatoes, sage and walnuts. You can also add some diced ham or sausage and pair it with different herbs and veggies.

    With my Calafouti I went a little Italian with fresh cherry tomatoes, carrot roses*, Oregano, Mozzarella, Parmesan and pine nuts.

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    Tomato Calafoutis with Pines Nuts and Oregano

    serves 4


    • Butter, for greasing the pan
    • 5 Eggs
    • ½ cup Mascarpone/cream cheese
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup Buttermilk
    • ¾ cup Flour
    • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved.
    • 1 carrot, sliced to thin strips with a potato peeler*
    • 1 cup mix of shredded cheeses (I used Mozzarella & Parmesan)
    • Fresh oregano
    • Handful pine nuts
    • Mini fresh Mozzarella balls


    preheat oven to 400 c/200 f.

    In a blender, blend the cream cheese/Mascarpone, eggs, salt, buttermilk, flour and 1 cup shredded cheese mix.

    Pour the batter into a greased pan/cast iron skillet. Arrange the tomatoes, oregano, carrot roses*, fresh Mozzarella balls and pine nuts.  Season with freshly ground black pepper and bake for 20 min, until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm (or cold) with a drizzle of olive oil and some more fresh oregano.

    *To make the carrot roses, cook the strips of carrots for 5 min in boiling water. Strain, chill, and coil around your finger to create roses.




    Pies & Tarts

    Lime-Yuzu Meringue Pie

    This next pie has definitely steered some attention in social media!

    It’s a funny thing about lemon pies. They tend to go under the category of either “love it” or “hate it” pies. It seems that the tartness and occasional over sweetness deters quite a few people.

    My household is also divided into 2 camps.  I’m the one who’s absolutely in love with lemon pies and tart fruit cakes in general, while my other half prefers his fruits fresh and would definitely go for a piece of chocolate cake instead.

    Being the lemon addict that I am, I still can’t help not to make an occasional good lemon pie. When I browsed my Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop bakebook the other day, I knew that the lemon pie in the book would be my next creation.

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    Being the occasional pastry-chef that I am, it’s very hard for me to leave recipes “as is”. In this one, I did left the graham cracker base and frosting as is, but replaced some of the lime juice in Yuzu (Organic Yuzu Juice From Kizu – 3.52 Oz), which is a Japanese lemon with the aroma and taste of a lemon-orange hybrid. You can of course use just lime juice or even replace all or some with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The graham cracker crust will be sufficient for two 7-inch tarts or a dozen 3 1/2-inch tartlets. You can use the extras to bake the most incredible home-made graham crackers. I  doubled the quantity of the lemon curd because I prefer a higher curd-to-frosting ratio. Plus – it’s always useful to have extra lemon curd in the fridge.

    Lime-Yuzu Meringue Pie

    (adapted from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop)

    Graham Cracker Crust

    Makes about twenty-four 3 1/4-inch cookies, two 7-inch tarts or a dozen 3 1/2-inch

    1 1/2 cups/200g/ 7 oz. all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup /42 g/1.5 oz. whole-wheat flour
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2/3 cup/170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup/100 g/4 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons honey

    Sift together the flours, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown
    sugar, and honey and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

    Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, beating just until
    combined after each addition. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for
    at least 30 minutes before rolling, or for up to 2 days.

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you need and again pat gently into disks. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough disk into a round about 1/4 inch thick and about 1 inch greater in diameter than the pan you are using (8 inches for a 7-inch pan; 4 inches for 3 1/2-inch tartlet pans). Drape the rolled-out dough into the tart pan(s), gently pushing it into the bottom edges and against the pan sides to make a strong and straight shell. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the pan(s) using a sharp knife, or roll the rolling pin over the edges to cut off the excess dough. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 350  F/175 C.

    To fully blind-bake the shell, line the shells with parchment paper and weight with dried rice, beans, or pie weights. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about
    10 minutes. Remove the parchment with the weight and bake for an additional 5-7 min, until golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.

    Lime-Yuzu Cream

    1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (or a mixture of 3/4 cup lime + 1/4 cup yuzu)
    3 tablespoons grated lime zest
    1 cup plus 4 tablespoons/ 250 g/9 oz. sugar
    6 large eggs
    1 cup/240 g/9 oz./2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed

    To make the Lime Cream:

    In the top bowl of a double boiler or bain-marie, whisk together the lime juice, zest sugar, and eggs. Fit the top bowl into the bottom pan over gently simmering water and warm the mixture, whisking occasionally, until it registers about 172 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer or coats the back of a wooden spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 15 to 20 minutes.

    Remove the lime curd from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Let cool slightly, to about 140 degrees F, about 20 minutes.

    Add the butter to the curd, a few cubes at a time, and, using a whisk or an immersion blender, blend until it dissolves completely after each addition. Strain the curd again to remove any lumps of butter, then let cool to room temperature. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

    Boiled Icing

    Makes about 4 cups or enough to frost two 6-inch cakes

    1 1/2 cups/ 280g/10 oz. sugar
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/4 cup water
    3 large egg whites
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Stir the sugar to dissolve and begin to heat it over medium-low. Have a heatproof measuring cup sitting nearby.

    Put the egg whites and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the sugar reaches 240 degrees F, immediately pour it into the measuring cup to prevent it from getting hotter. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the side of the bowl rather than the whisk. When all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to medium-high and whisk until the icing becomes thick and holds a firm peak. Continue to whisk until the icing is just slightly warm and very thick, about 10 minutes total. Do not continue to beat, or the icing will become too thick to spread and pipe.

    Boiled icing must be used fresh and cannot be stored.


    Spread the chilled lime curd into the cooled graham crust. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium (1/2- or 5/8-inch) round tip. Fill the bag about halfway with the boiled icing. Pull up the cuff and twist it to seal and tighten the icing down into the cone. Purge the bag of air bubbles by squeezing the bag until there is a burst of air and icing sputters out of the bag. Pipe the icing on top of the tart, and then use the back of a spoon to press it down to meet the edges of the crust. Make a decorative swirl on top. Using a small kitchen torch, brown the surface of the icing, moving the flame in a circular motion to burn the ridges of the swirl until lightly browned. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

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    פאי ליים-יוזו עם ציפוי מרנג

    מספיק לשני טארטים בקוטר 20 ס”מ

    בסיס גראהם

    1.5 כוסות קמח לבן

    1/3 כוס קמח חיטה מלאה

    ½ כפית מלח

    ¼ כפית קינמון

    170 גרם חמאה, בטמפרטורת החדר

    ½ כוס סוכר חום (לא דמררה)

    2 כפות דבש

    מחממים תנור ל175 מעלות. מנפים את החומרים היבשים בקערה. בקערת מיקסר, מקציפים את החמאה, הסוכר והדבש עד שהמסה הופכת לתפוחה ואוורירית. מוסיפים את החומרים היבשים ומערבלים עד לכדי איחוד.

    מעבירים למשטח העבודה, יוצרים דסקית, עוטפים בניילון נצמד ומכניסים לקירור של כחצי שעה.

    כאשר הבצק התקרר והתמצק, מרדדים לעובי של 1 ס”מ. משמנים תבנית פאי ומשטחים את הבצק בתבנית. אופים אפייה עיוורת (עם נייר אפייה שעליו משקולת של שעועית יבשה או כל קטניה אחרת) במשך 10 דקות. מורידים את נייר האפייה ואופים כ 5-7 דקות נוספות, עד להשחמה. מוציאים מהתנור ומצננים.

    קרם ליים-יוזו

    1 כוס מיץ ליים/לימון/יוזו או תערובת של ההדרים

    3 כפות גרידת לימון/ליים

    1 כוס/250 גרם סוכר

    6 ביצים גדולות

    240 גרם חמאה, חתוכה לקוביות

    מרתיחים מים בסיר בגובה של כ7 ס”מ. בקערה חסינה לאש שמים את כל חומרי הקרם ובעזרת מטרפה ידנית מערבבים היטב. מניחים את הקערה מעל הסיר, מנמיכים את הלהבה וטורפים את התערובת עד להסמכה (תהליך שיכול לקחת 10-15 דק). נותנים לתערובת להצטנן כ-20 דקות, ובהדרגה מכניסים פנימה את קוביות החמאה. מכסים בניילון נצמד ומצננים עד לשימוש.

     ציפוי מרנג

    1.5 כוסות/ 280 גרם סוכר לבן

    ¼ כפית קרם טרטר

    ¼ כוס מים

    3 חלבונים

    כפית מחית/תמצית וניל

    בקערת מיקסר טורפים על מהירות נמוכה את החלבונים וקרם הטרטר. בסיר קטן, מניחים את הסוכר והמים ומבשלים אותם עד שהתערובת מגיעה ל 120 מעלות. מעלים את מהירות המיקסר למהירות גבוהה, ובהדרגה שופכים פנימה (מבלי לגעת במטרפה עצמה, זה ייצור גושי סוכר!) את הסירופ החם. ממשיכים לטרוף את התערובת על מהירות גבוהה עד שהקערה קרה למגע, כ-10 דקות. מעבירים לשק זילוף עם צנתר עגול.

    מרכיבים את הטארט:

    שופכים מקרם הלימון על בסיס הטארט ומעליו, בתנועה סיבובית, מזלפים את המרנג. בעזרת מבער ידני משחימים את המרנג. בתיאבון!

    Creams & Puddings

    Two-Tone Magic Bundt Cake


    Happy Thursday all! As the weekend draws near I have an amazing simple yet impressive cake for you to make.

    I’ve been fantasizing about a bundt cake pan for a while now, but have yet had the courage to buy one due to its relatively high price. I’ve been eyeing this Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan , but the shipping price deterred me from making a purchase. If you hear of a website that offer low worldwide shipping options then please let me know!

    Anyways, so I was at a shopping centre the other day and couldn’t resist entering a homeware store that had a huge 50% off banner up front. So I did end up purchasing a fairly nice non-stick bundt pan for a very good price, and went home happily to play with my new toy. There is something magical about bundt pans – they look so majestic in my eyes and give you that tall castle look without looking too childish. And the options are endless – lemon pound cakes, dotted with blueberries or raspberries, yeast cakes, marble, green tea and so much more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to these cakes. Their real advantage is also in the ability to fill the cake’s center after it’s baked with fresh fruits, whipped cream, edible flowers and more.

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    This next cake I found in the amazing blog Sweet Gula, which, although in Portuguese, is so beautiful, that I couldn’t help not to make it and used google translate feverishly until I cracked the recipe.

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    This cake is from the “magic pudding cake” family, in which the pudding sinks down to the bottom of the pan during the baking process and the cake part end up at the top. Once turned over on a serving plate, the cake part becomes the base of the cake and the pudding part its top.

    What I liked about this cake is the fact that the “pudding” part has a real body and is an actual creme caramel/ flan which is enriched with condensed milk and cream cheese. The cake part has a strong strawberry taste and a pink hue so you end up -in my eyes- with the perfect strawberries & cream dessert.

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    Two-Tone Magic Bundt Cake

    {for the flan}
    1 can sweetened condensed milk (397 grams/ 14 oz.)
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    4 Large eggs
    200 grams/7 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
    1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1 vanilla pod, cut lengthwise and seeds scraped)
    pinch of salt
    {for the cake}
    4 Large eggs
    140/ 5 oz. grams sugar
    3 tbsp  strawberry Jam, blended until smooth
    1 pack instant strawberry flavored pudding (80 grams)
    200 grams/ 7 oz. cake (soft) flour
    16 grams/0.5 oz. baking powder
    200 ml heavy cream
    pinch of salt
    Few drops red food color (optional)

    {flowers/fresh fruits/whipped cream for decoration}



    preheat the oven to 175C/345F.

    make the flan: in a bowl, mix the cream cheese with the salt and gradually add in the sweetened condensed milk (to avoid a lumpy texture). Once combined, add the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, milk, and cream. Set aside.

    Make the strawberry cake: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whipping attachment, beat the eggs on medium high speed. Gradually rain in the sugar and keep beating until the mixture becomes light, fluffy and double in size. Sift the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. blend the heavy cream with the strawberry puree. In three additions, gradually fold in your dry sifted ingredients and heavy cream into the egg mixture, beginning and finishing with the dry ingredients.

    Assemble the cake: Butter a bundt pan. Pour in the cake mixture and top with the flan mixture. Bake for 45-50 min until the cake is springy to the touch and baked throughout. Chill in the pan overnight (or at least 6 hours). Flip the cake on a serving plate, decorate and serve.



    Breakfast Treats

    Fig, Brie & Jamón Croissant

    Have I got the ultimate breakfast sandwich for you today!

    I’ll be travelling to Paris soon, so this sandwich is a homage to this beautiful city and its incredible culinary scene.

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    It is very common to have a platter of fruits and cheeses as a typical french dessert or mid-day snack. I personally favor that combination and am particularly fond of figs & nectarines.

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    this sandwich will work great with every semi-soft fruit though, and if you’ll choose to layer it up with a little smoked & finely sliced meat (such as Jamon Serrano or Prosciutto), peppery greens and a generous slather of honey-butter, you will sure have a great head-start for your day.

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    Fig, Brie & Jamón Croissant

    serves 2



    2 Butter croissants

    2 figs, finely sliced

    6 slices of Camembert/Brie/blue cheese

    4 slices Jamon Serrano/Prosciutto

    1 small bunch Arugula leaves

    2 tablespoons/1.5 oz/40 grams salted butter, at room temperature

    1/2 tablespoon honey



    Mix together the butter and honey. Slice the croissants lengthwise and spread a generous layer of the honey butter on both sides. Arrange the cheese slices diagonally on one side, layer with the figs, Arugula and finish with the Jamon/Prosciutto slices.



    Simple Cakes

    Yellow Pound Cake with Molten Brownie Center

    Often times, by combining two great components, you can create something which is greater than the sum of its parts. That was the case with this moist yellow cake .

    I really do believe taste is the most paramount factor (which is why I rarely use fondant or other overly-sweet concoctions in my everyday baking), but I do have a soft spot for beautiful, visually attractive food. My Pintrerest page is filled with Japanese cute (or “Kawaii”) dishes.

    So I was really in the mood to have a simple pound cake to serve with my coffee, one which won’t require hours in the kitchen, but still going to be super moist, and somewhat decadent. The end result was this brownie filled yellow cake, which combines my favorite brownie recipe (adapted from “Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop“) and a simple super moist yellow cake.

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    To give the cake a twist, I decided to cut the baked brownie to little rabbits and submerge them in the yellow cake batter.   You can use any cookie cutter you wish to create this effect, just make sure you thoroughly freeze the cut outs so they won’t lose their shape while baking. Alternatively, use a different, more stable (that is, less chocolate and more cocoa) brownie recipe.


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    Yellow cake with molten brownie center

    Enough for one large pound/English cake pan


    Brownie center (adapted from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop):

    •  1 cup/120 g/3 oz. all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon/7.5 g/0.25 oz. baking powder
    • 2 cups/450 g/1 pound high quality (70%) chopped chocolate
    • 2½ cups/ 500 g/ 1 pound + 1 oz.  sugar
    • ¾/180 g/6 oz. cup unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon/7.5 g/0.25 oz. vanilla extract
    • Generous pinch of kosher salt
    • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

    Yellow cake:

    • 3 cups/345 g/9 oz. cake flour
    • 1 tablespoon/15 g/0.5 oz. baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon/6 g/0.2 oz. salt
    • 5 tablespoons/100 g/3.5 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla paste/ 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
    • 2 cups/400 g/14 oz. granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup/125 ml/4 fl oz. vegetable oil
    • 3 large eggs + 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
    • 1 cup/250 ml/8 fl oz. heavy cream + one teaspoon lemon juice (alternatively, use buttermilk)


    Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Spray oil/ butter the pan and dust with cocoa powder. Tap excess powder and set aside.

    In a double boiler/microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, chocolate, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Remove from the heat. Beat the eggs in and finish with the sifted dry ingredients. Bake for 25-30 min and set aside to cool completely. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the brownie mixture to the desired shapes and freeze until firm.

    to make the yellow cake, cream the butter until light and fluffy with you mixer’s paddle attachment (about 2-3 min). Rain in the sugar, then the eggs + yolks (one at a time) and beat until thoroughly combined. Increase mixer speed to medium high and slowly pour in the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Add the vanilla and salt. While the mixer is on low, add the dried ingredients in three additions, alternating with the heavy cream. Finish with the flour.

    While the oven is set for 350f/180c, pour one 1/3 of the yellow cake batter into your pan. remove the frozen brownie cut outs from the freezer and tuck them in the batter. The cut-outs should be upright and squeezed against one another. Pour in the remaining cake batter (should reach 3/4 of the pan, no more), and bake for 60 min, until top is springy to the touch. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before you remove and slice it.

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    Mango-lime frozen bites

    Summer is rapidly creeping back into our lives and I am fortunate enough to have the ultimate summer fruit in my backyard –  mangos!

    I adore mangos – I think they’re amazing and versatile – they go extremely well with both sweet and savoury dishes, and you are not going to get enough of them this summer.  Mango chicken, mango salsa, mango lassi and more – so many great things can be created with this amazing fruit!

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    the following recipe is a simple summer refresher – one that can be easily prepared on a lazy summer afternoon when you crave something sweet, delicious and easy to make.

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    Mango-lime frozen bites

    One ice tray/ 4 small popsicles

    • 2 large ripe mangoes
    • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
    • 2 tbsp light corn/glucose syrup

    Method of preparation

    Whiz up the ingredients in a blender. Pour into an ice tray/popsicle molds and freeze until firm.


    Goat Cheese & Passion Fruit Cheesecakes In a Jar


    About a month ago, I was asked to participate in a project that required me to create a new interpertation to good ole “cheesecake”.

    So instead of making the regular baked cheesecake (which I LOVE), I decided to do individual cheesecakes in a jar, but instead of using cream cheese, I chose to use tangy goat cheese and to pair it with the creaminess of passion fruit curd (with some lavender notes) on top of a crunchy Kadaif noodles base. Oh and to give the whole dessert another fancy kick – I sprinkled the curd with some granulated sugar and used my burner to give it that creme brulee taste and finish.

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    The outcome? absolutely and utterly delicious – the tang of the goat cheese mousse went perfectly with the passion fruit curd, the lavender (which is totally optional) gave another summery boost and the crunchy kadaif base made everything a lot more interesting (and delicious).

    Funny, but as complicated as this dessert may sound, it is one of the simplest yet most impressive desserts one can execute. the crunchbase doesn’t require kneading, rolling and forming, the cheese mousse involves just a handful of ingredients and utensils, and even the passionfruit curd, which is the most time consuming of them all can be made well in advance and used for so many other great things that I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a staple in your kitchen.

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    Goat cheese & Passion Fruit Cheesecakes in a Jar

    serves 4


    Kadaif noodles* base:

    • 250g dried/thawed Kadaif noodles
    • 4 tbsp white sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 100g melted butter
    *Kadaif noodles – the noodles are wheat based and can be found in the frozen section at Middle Eastern/Arab grocery stores. The base can be easily substituted for your preferred crumble/cookie base.

    Goat cheese mousse:

    • 250 crumbled goat cheese (I prefer Chevere style goat cheese)
    • 1 cup/ 250 ml heavy cream
    • 3 tbsp instant vanilla pudding powder/ whipped cream stabilizer
    • 3-4 tbsp powdered sugar, to taste
    • pinch of salt

    Passion fruit – lavender curd:

    Brulee caramel



    Preheat oven to 160C/320f. Mix the noodles, melted butter, sugar and salt in a bowl. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown. Cool to room temperature.

    For the goat cheese mousse, mix the cheese, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl until combined. Whip the heavy cream and the powdered pudding until firm yet soft enough to handle (careful from over mixing!). Fold the cream into the cheese mixture. Chill until ready to assemble.

    To make the curd, heat water in a small pan (no more than 2 inch /5 cm or so). Create a double boiler by placing a glass bowl over the pan with the simmering water. Add the passion fruit juice/puree, egg yolks, sugar and lavender and mix constantly until thickens (can take up to 10 min). Strain the mixture into a bowl, add the butter, mix and chill.


    Layer the Kadaif noodles base in the jars. Top with the mousse and curd. Sprinkle the top of the curd with one tbsp sugar and scorch with a blow torch until the sugar caramelizes.  Serve.