A New Zealand Bush inspired dessert…
Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©
I have never seen so many kahikatea berries like this year…I love them,
I dreamed of making jam…
But the Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (kahikatea in the Māori language), a coniferous tree endemic to New Zealand, is a very tall tree, and the ones in my bush are particularly tall…no chance for me to pick the red fleshy arils from the branches…
I had to pick them from the ground. After 20 minutes and sore legs I had just filled
the bottom of a bowl…mmmmhhh, no jam, I think.
So I made a flan using some frozen puff pastry as a base,
filled with crème flavoured with the peppery and aromatic leaves of another New Zealand plant: kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum).
To make the crème I mixed 3 eggs with 4 tbsp of sugar,
1 tbsp of flour, 500 ml of full fat milk, 100 g of butter
and a few leaves of kawakawa.
Bring to simmering point and stir until the crème is velvety.
Line a flan dish with baking paper, roll in the puff pastry, cover with more baking paper and add baking weights or beans. Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans and paper from the top and add the crème (remove the kawakawa leaves). Bake on low for 15-20 more minutes.
Let the flan cool down completely and decorate with the kahikatea berries.
It was truly delicious!