Lifestyle, Recipe, Uncategorised

Your step-by-step guide to a dreamy autumn picnic

Bask in orange hues and kilos of cheese as we sneak in one last picnic before the cold sets in. We’ve got a tried ‘n tested guide to orchestrating the perfect autumnal picnic, so there’s no more difficult dining decisions or harrowing hassles on your weekend horizons. Pile blankets high on a backdrop of burnt orange, grab your gals and indulge in the finer things in life, without hemorrhaging your mula on an underwhelming bottomless brunch. Ladies, let’s get leisurely.

The location.

Where to? It’s a no brainer – pick somewhere all grassy, greeny and sun-loving. In Australia, we’re spoilt for choice, with copious lush picnic playgrounds like the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Centennial Park in Sydney, Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Hobart’s St David’s Park. Once you’ve got a meeting point in place, make sure to pack a charged-up portable speaker, a ​KOLLAB Picnic Mat​ and a quaint, cane basket for your stash of supplies.

Royal Botanical Garden – Melbourne

The food.

Approach your picnic platter with the philosophy that more is indeed more. ​Pair the classic Mersey Valley cheddar with Maggie Beer’s delectable quince paste, atop an Ob Finest cracker. Creamy brie from King Island Dairy adorned with prosciutto, delicately balanced on a Waterthins Fine wafer. Don’t forget Obela hommus, pitted olives, stuffed peppers, fresh fruit and Hey Tiger chocolate for good measure. (Take a screenie of this and head straight to the shops now, would you?).​ If you’re still peckish, designate a ‘plate per person’ and assign your girlfriends to tasty bites like mini sausage rolls, pancakes and delectable sanga triangles. Whatever you pack, make sure it’s fuss-free, finger-licking and upholds a No Cutlery Policy.

The showstopper.

It’s not really a party without something tarty. Our slice of the season has to be a Normandy Pear Tart. For a magnificent, flaky, golden, oozy-centred tart, it’s all about opting for a recipe that heroes the fresh fruits of the summer-autumn transition.

This dreamboat of a Normandy Pear Tart recipe serves 10 hungry picnic-goers.

Fill your basket with:

Filling​:

  • 5 pears, peeled, cored, halved
  • 1 cup (250ml) of the Jericho Fiano (from our ​Fresh Whites Pack​)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1egg
  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • 1/4 cup (40g) plain flour
  •  2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/2 cup (170g) apricot jam

Shortcrust pastry:

  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (55g) almond meal
  • 1/3 cup (60g) icing sugar mixture
  • 125g chilled butter, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Pie weights or rice for baking

This is how you do it:

STEP 1

Place pears, wine, water, cinnamon and half the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove from heat, set aside to cool in the syrup.

STEP 2

Meanwhile, to make the shortcrust pastry, place the flour, almond meal, icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process until the mixture just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

STEP 3

Roll on a lightly floured surface to a 5mm-thick disc. Line a 10x34cm fluted tart tin with removable base with the pastry. Trim edges. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to rest.

STEP 4

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line the pasty with baking paper and fill with pie weights or rice. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and pie weights or rice, and bake for a further 8 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Reduce oven to 180°C.

STEP 5

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and remaining sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add the almond meal, flour and brandy and stir until well combined. Spoon into the pastry case and smooth the surface. Strain the pears and arrange over the tart. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until deliciously golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.

STEP 6

Place the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until jam melts and is smooth. Strain through a sieve into a jug. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the top of the tart with the warm jam. Cut into slices and voilá!

The wine.

Sunday, wine and a picnic is a trio written in the stars. To ensure there’s enough wine (and variety) to go ‘round, call on our ​Easy Like Sunday Pack​. Top up your party glasses with a relaxed white (​Blind Corner Blanc, Margaret River, Western Australi​a), a heavenly rose (​Jericho Rosé, Adelaide Hills, South Australia) and a medium-bodied red (Brent Rosenberg x Kate Hill Pinot Noir, Southern Tasmania). With all tastes catered for, it’s a laissez-faire, feel-good Sunday session in full swing.

All that talk of pear tart and pinot has us in the mood for some picnic pandemonium. Let’s embrace the last flickers of sunshine and seasonal delights before all those auburn leaves begin to fall.

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