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Allyson Gofton's chocolate slice & bacon and egg pie recipes - 27 November

Classic egg and bacon pie

Chocolate, nut and orange slice

Chocolate, Nut & Orange Slice

Serves 10-12 generously
Preparation time 30 minutes
Chilling time 4 hours

3/4 cup whole almonds
125 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
50 grams butter
1 egg white
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup mixed glacé peel
3/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, optional

175 grams white chocolate, chopped
25 grams butter

- Preheat the oven to 180degC.
- Place the whole almonds in one layer on an oven tray and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden.
- Remove from oven and cool.
- Chop evenly into small pieces.
- Heat the chocolate and butter in the microwave for 60 seconds and stir.
- If large pieces of chocolate remain, heat a further 30 seconds.
- Stir until smooth.
- In a scrupulously clean bowl, beat the egg white with an electric beater until it forms a stiff peak.
- Beat in the sugar to make a thick meringue-like mixture.
- Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture, chopped and ground almonds, and mixed peel.
- Turn the mixture onto a piece of baking paper and, using the paper to assist, shape into a thick 30-36-cm roll.
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Remove and, using your hands, shape into a triangle.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Unwrap the chocolate log, but leave on the paper.
- Spread all three sides with the white chocolate coating.
- It will set quickly as the chocolate log is cold.
- Press the flaked almonds onto the outside, if using.
- Refrigerate until firm.
- Serve cut into thin slices.

White Chocolate Coating
- Heat the white chocolate and butter together for 1 minute in the microwave or until the chocolate is almost melted.
- Stir to make a smooth mixture.

Use roasted hazelnuts in place of almonds.
Coat the outside with dark chocolate in place of white.
Use walnuts, roasted and chopped, and ground walnuts in place of almonds.

Allyson's tips
- To toast flaked almonds, follow the instructions for whole almonds, but reduce the cooking time to 6-8 minutes.
- Alternatively, these can be toasted in a frying-pan over a direct heat, stirring or shaking regularly.
- Once toasted, remove from the pan and place on a plate to arrest any further cooking.
- When beating egg white, a stiff peak is reached when the beaters are lifted from the beaten egg white mix and the peak that forms stays upright and doesn't flop over.
- The whole almonds can be blanched or unblanched.

Classic Egg and Bacon Pie

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes
Serves 6

During my childhood this simple classic dish was often a weekend feature in winter or on picnics in summer.  Thankfully it's still a hot favourite today and it's truly simple to make.  Kids love this no-fuss style of food.

400 gram packet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
6-8 eggs
4-6 rashers bacon, diced
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Milk or beaten egg to glaze

- Preheat the oven to 220degC (200degC fan bake). 
- Place the oven rack just above the middle of the oven. 
- Lightly grease the base and sides of a 20cm round, shallow-sided cake tin or line with baking paper.
- Cut the pastry into 2/3rd & 1/3rd portions. 
- Roll the larger portion out on a lightly floured bench to a 3mm thickness or until large enough to line the base and sides of the prepared cake tin. 
- Brush the edges of the pastry with a little milk.
- Crack the eggs one at a time into a teacup and then transfer to the pastry-lined tin. 
- Scatter the bacon and parsley evenly on top. 
- Season with pepper.
- Roll the remaining piece of pastry out to a 3mm thickness and cut out a 21cm circle. 
- Arrange on top of the pie and press the pastry edges together. 
- Trim with a sharp knife to ensure a neat edge.
- With any remaining scraps cut out decorations like leaves, or use small cutters to make shapes to decorate the top of the pie with. 
- Use a sharp knife to cut a small cross in the centre of the pastry top.
- Brush with beaten egg or milk to glaze.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the pastry is well-risen, golden and the filling set.

Allyson's tips
- Breaking the eggs individually into a cup ensures that should you find a 'bad' egg, you will not have ruined the entire dish.
- The pie can be prepared earlier in the day or a full day ahead and cooked later or the following day.
- A more golden pie top will be achieved by using a beaten egg to glaze.
- There's no need to season with salt as the bacon will add sufficient salt.
- Other herbs or herb mixes that are delicious in an egg and bacon pie are chives in place of parsley, half chives and half tarragon, half tarragon and half parsley, a mix of basil, parsley and tarragon or marjoram
- Add 1 tablespoon chopped, well rinsed green peppercorns
- Use ham, salami or pastrami in place of bacon
- Add a few anchovies, chopped capers and sundried tomatoes
- Nestle quartered, well drained canned artichokes around the eggs
- Use filo pastry in place of puff.  Allow 8-9 sheets, each buttered for the base and 6-8 sheets for the top.  Cook at 190ºC for around the same time.

Copyright © Allyson Gofton, 2009.