Cookbook Extract: Fruit, by Bernadette Wörndl

We’ve got three recipes for you to try from this new cookbook that celebrates nature: Bircher Muesli with Grated Apple, Pepitas, Yoghurt and Fresh Grapes; Zander Fillet with Strawberry and Capsicum Salsa; and a tempting Raspberry and Chocolate Tart.

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Celebrate fruit in your everyday cooking with 120 beautifully crafted sweet and savoury recipes that celebrate nature.

Bernadette Wörndl
Bernadette Wörndl

We often associate fruit in recipes with preserves, cakes, sorbets, and desserts – all sweet dishes. However, fruit can be an incredible complement to savoury dishes too. Adding blackberries to a duck breast and chard recipe or caramelised pears to a pork and sage recipe creates an incredibly tasty dish with a great depth of flavour. We are already familiar with some classic pairings, of course, such as lemon and chicken, apple and pork, and cranberries and turkey, but there is a whole world of flavour combinations we’re missing out on. This book shows you how to best incorporate fruit into your everyday cooking – whether the dishes are sweet or savoury.

The book is arranged alphabetically by the central fruit used in the dish – twenty different fruits in total, which includes apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, citrus fruits, figs, peaches, plums, quince, rhubarb, and strawberries, as well as dried fruits – while the recipes themselves are generally contemporary versions of Mediterranean classics (with some inspired by places further afield, such as an apricot-sweetened chicken korma curry).

Author Bernadette Wörndl is a food writer, food stylist, avid gardener, and cookbook author based in Vienna, Austria. Before becoming a cookbook author, Bernadette worked in some of the best kitchens in Vienna and Austria and later worked at famed San Francisco restaurant Chez Panisse under the tutelage of iconic and influential chef Alice Waters.

With 120 delicious recipes, we can only share 3 of them below, thanks to Simon & Schuster, but stay tuned for our upcoming review. This book looks like it promises to be a kitchen staple that will be used again and again.

Bircher Muesli with Grated Apple, Pepitas, Yoghurt and Fresh Grapes

My favourite breakfast. It easily lends itself to seasonal combinations using different grains, seeds and nuts or fruits. A grated apple always makes an appearance, though.

  • 2 apples
  • 1 handful walnuts
  • 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) rolled (porridge) oats
  • 2 tablespoons linseeds (flax seeds), roughly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons wheat bran
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) milk
  • 300 g (10½ oz) yoghurt
  • pinch of salt
  • small handful shelled pistachios
  • small handful grapes
  • honey, for drizzling

Coarsely grate one of the apples and roughly chop the walnuts. Place in a bowl and add the oats, linseeds, wheat bran, pepitas, milk, 200 g (7 oz) of the yoghurt and the salt. Stir well to combine, then cover and refrigerate overnight to soak.

The next day, roughly chop the pistachios and coarsely grate the second apple. Finely slice two grapes. Serve the muesli in shallow bowls and top with the apple, remaining yoghurt, grapes, pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Zander Fillet with Strawberry and Capsicum Salsa

The capsicum (bell pepper) works to perfectly harmonise the flavours of the strawberries and fish in this wonderful dish.

Salsa

  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • ½ French shallot
  • 8–10 strawberries, plus a few whole baby strawberries to serve
  • 1 handful red sorrel, plus extra whole leaves to serve
  • 2–3 parsley sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fish

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 500–600 g (1 lb 2 oz–1 lb 5 oz) zander fillet
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • strawberry flowers (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (conventional). For the salsa, place the capsicum in a roasting tin and roast until the skin turns black. Allow to cool, then remove the skin and seeds and finely dice the flesh. Peel and finely dice the shallot, then finely dice the strawberries. Finely chop the red sorrel and parsley. In a bowl, combine the chopped herbs with the capsicum, shallot and strawberries, then toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

For the fish, heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over

low–medium heat. Cut the zander into 4 portions, then lay, skin side down, in the pan. Season with salt and pepper and gently fry for

3–5 minutes, until the skin is nice and crisp and the flesh is still a little translucent. Baste the fish regularly during cooking with the olive oil and butter mixture.

Serve the fish with the salsa spooned over the top. Garnish with whole baby strawberries, a few sorrel leaves and strawberry flowers, if desired.

Raspberry and Chocolate Tart

Chocolate and raspberries really, really like each other!

Pastry

  • 100 g (3½ oz) cold butter
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk, as needed

Chocolate filling

  • 300 g (10½ oz) bitter dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of finely grated orange zest
  • 125 g (4½ oz) thickened (whipping) cream
  • ½ teaspoon orange-flavoured liqueur

Topping

  • 1–2 tablespoons raspberry jam (jelly) or Lemon marmalade (page 78)
  • 250 g (9 oz) raspberries
  • 1–2 teaspoons honey

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (conventional). For the pastry, chop the butter into cubes. Place the butter in a large bowl, along with the flour, icing sugar and salt. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the egg and knead into a smooth dough, adding milk if the dough is too dry. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 3 mm (⅛ in) thick. Line a large pie dish or 4–6 small flan (tart) tins with the pastry and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Cover the pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or baking beads and blind bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 10–15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake the pastry for a further

10–12 minutes, until the edge begins to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the chocolate filling, chop the chocolate and place in a bowl with the salt, cinnamon and orange zest. Heat the cream in a small saucepan, then pour it over the chocolate mixture and allow everything to melt together for 2–3 minutes. Stir until smooth, then stir through the liqueur.

Spread the jam over the pie base. Pour over the chocolate cream and leave at room temperature until set. Top with the raspberries and serve drizzled with the honey.

Edited extract from Fruit by Bernadette Worndl, published by Smith Street Books, $55. Photography © Gunda Dittrich. Out November 2018

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