Whether it’s a butter-kissed date scone to tide you over till lunchtime, or a cheeky afternoon pie, everyone knows the best food at cafe counters is made with butter. Give your counter some love with these twists on classics:
The humble Kiwi pie is no longer simply the domain of lunch bars and bakeries; cafes too do a roaring trade in them, because who can resist a great pie?
The key of course is in using premium ingredients, not skimping on the butter and coming up with interesting fillings to pique curiosity.
No one is kidding themselves that pies are virtuous, so the general rule to follow is “more is more”.
Be generous with the butter in that pastry - you want that lovely golden crust and crisp flake on top. Using Anchor butter sheets is a sure way to get a beautifully layered pastry that flakes on command. If there’s a cheese element, don’t skimp - get it oozing out.
The classics will always have a fanbase; try pimping them up with premium ingredients - Angus beef mince with Kapiti Tuteremoana cheddar, Slow cooked brisket with rosemary and Mainland creamy blue. Experiment a little: cider-baked pork with apple and Kapiti gouda, Korean barbecue beef with kimchi and Kapiti Pakari smoked cheddar, or Mexican pulled pork with jalapenos and oozy Perfect Italiano mozzarella.
Making a great scone is an art, and every cook has their secret, whether it’s grating in the butter or dicing it, adding fizzy lemonade, buttermilk or cream to enrich the dough.
Once you’ve got your perfect base there’s plenty of room for delicious fun. Try forming the scones as two rectangles of dough sandwiching a filling: mashed potato with spring onion and Kapiti emmental cheese, blueberries with Perfect Italiano ricotta and Manuka honey or medjool dates with orange blossom water and flaked almonds.
Or spike your plain dough with pockets of interest: feta, roasted cherry tomatoes and leeks; prosciutto with Kapiti bocconcini and Sicilan olives; raspberries, soft salted caramel pieces and Kapiti mascarpone.
Tart it up
Tarts of both savoury and sweet are a brilliant way to make use of seasonal produce and look enticing on any cafe counter.
The key, of course, is to start with great pastry, and great pastry starts with great butter, well-chilled of course.
For sweet short pastry Mainland unsalted butter is best and for plain short, go for Mainland salted butter.
For flaky pastry, Anchor butter sheets are your time and patience-saving best friend.
To make sweet tarts more interesting, you might like to add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and crushed nuts, to the pastry.
Try fillings like Black Doris plum with ricotta, pineapple and lemongrass caramel, or cardamom and ginger-spiked caramelized pear.
Serve sweet tarts with a quenelle of mascarpone (try spiking it with brandy, orange zest or rosewater).
On the savoury front, try working Mainland Parmesan into the pastry, and consider fillings like roasted leek with Kapiti Emmental, creamy Portobello mushrooms, Kapiti Awa blue and walnuts, or slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, Coppa ham and Kapiti bocconcini.