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Four knock-out winter desserts you need in your life

Cold winter days can be a real drag. Sometimes, all you need to lift the spirits is a quick little pick-me-up. Something home-baked. Something just like grandma used to make.

And the sweet smell of a home-cooked pie wafting through the kitchen is what Sundays (or any days!) are made of. Pure bliss – a total treat for the tastebuds and smiley faces all round.

Which is why we’re sharing the Top Four winter desserts you totally need this season. So stock up on all your baking essentials at The Growers, Coles, Aldi and Woolworths, and whip up one of these timeless classics whenever you fancy a little extra sweetness in your life.

Sticky Date Pudding

This classic family favourite is hard to beat. A light, moist sponge and pure oozey gooey caramel sauce will excite just about anyone. Luckily for you, this recipe does not hold back on the sauce either, so lather on shamelessly.

Who knew? This dish is 'Sticky Toffee Pudding' to everyone but Australians and New Zealanders.

What you'll need

Pudding:

  • 280g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 80g softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g loosely packed brown sugar
  • 2 room temperature eggs (pop them gently in hot water for a couple of mins to take the chill off)
  • 185g self-raising flour, sifted

One-Pan Butterscotch Sauce:

  • 375ml thickened cream
  • 200g brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 70g unsalted butter

Essential (yes, essential) extras:

  • Vanilla ice cream or cream

Get cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Grease and line a 22cm cake pan (7cm deep)
  3. Place dates and bicarb soda into a bowl. Add boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes
  4. Using an electric mixer (or guns of steel), beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy
  5. Beat eggs in, one at a time (if the eggs are cold, the butter will harden)
  6. Fold date mixture and flour through
  7. Spoon into your pan
  8. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer into the centre comes out clean
  9. Turn onto a plate.

For the sauce:

  1. Put all ingredients into a saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes.
  2. Pierce pudding all over with a skewer (try not to have too much fun with this)
  3. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over pudding (while both are still warm)
  4. Stand for 10 minutes
  5. Slice, and serve with remaining sauce and a MASSIVE dollop of ice cream.

Tip: Feeling fancy? Use pudding moulds, ramekins or even a muffin tin and make mini versions (bake for about 10 mins less). Make your guests go oooh.

Top Ryde City Woolworths, Coles and Aldi all have dairy and lactose-free milk, as well as everything else you need for this irresistible dessert.

No-Fuss Apple Pie

With only nine ingredients, you can make this with your eyes closed (although we don't recommend it).

Or, be a big cheat and buy premade pastry and apple pie filling from Top Ryde City Coles, Aldi or Woolworths. We won't tell a soul.

Whichever way you make it, make it top of your shopping list for a sweet way to kick the winter woes out of town.

Who knew? The earliest apple pie features in a 1381 manuscript written by Henry Chaucer. It had figs, raisins, pears and saffron – but no sugar.

What you'll need

Pastry:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp iced water
  • Or 1 pack frozen shortcrust pastry

Filling:

  • 7-8 apples (Granny Smiths ideally), peeled
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (plus 2 tbsp raw sugar for sprinkling)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • And 1 egg, beaten (to brush on the pastry and make it golden)
  • Or 800g canned pie apple

What to do

For the Pastry

  1. Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and make fine breadcrumbs
  2. Slowly add the iced water and mix for a smooth dough
  3. Knead the dough into a ball on a floured surface
  4. Place in a sealable container and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. When you're ready to use your dough, divide it into two portions (2/3 for the base and 1/3 for the top)
  6. Roll out each portion until 3-5mm thick. (If using frozen pastry sheets, get them out to defrost)
  7. Preheat oven to 180°C 
  8. Grease a 24cm pie dish.

For the Filling:

  1. Place apples and water into a saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally for five minutes or until the apples start to soften
  2. Mix through the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon
  3. Place the larger piece of pastry over the pie dish and press down so that it covers the base and sides. Trim
  4. Drain excess liquid from the apple mixture
  5. Put the apple mixture into the pie dish and spread out
  6. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the pie
  7. Sprinkle over some raw sugar
  8. Cut 3-4 slits into the top of the pastry
  9. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the pie pastry is golden and crispy.

Serve:

  1. A la mode (with ice cream), cream or custard. Over to you.

Tip: You'll find everything you need – cheats' ingredients included - at Top Ryde City Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

Baileys Self-Saucing Pudding

Oh no you didn't. Yes, we did. And it can be all yours in a matter of hours.

Such a smart little dish. The baking powder in the self-raising flour makes the sponge rise while the heavy sauce falls. The result? Nothing short of wizardry. A perfect pudding, complete with its own sauce ready to go. Pure saucery.

And as if that wasn't enough already. Our version has added Baileys-style oomph that screams well-deserved winter treat. If you don’t have any Baileys on hand, you can always pick some up at Liquorland or Dan Murphy's.

A cheeky swig from the bottle? We saw nothing.

Gather your ingredients

Pudding:

  • 60g butter
  • 125g milk – non-dairy is fine too
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50ml Baileys Irish cream
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 110g caster sugar

Sauce:

  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 100ml (Baileys Irish cream
  • 350ml boiling water

Serve:

  • Icing sugar & ice-cream or custard

Ready, steady, bake

  1. Preheat oven to 160C
  2. Grease a large (6 cup capacity) baking dish
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave (half power, microwave-safe bowl)
  4. Allow to cool a little
  5. Add the milk, vanilla extract, egg and Baileys
  6. Whisk
  7. Sift the self-raising flour and cocoa powder into the mixture
  8. Add caster sugar
  9. Whisk
  10. Pour into the baking dish
  11. Sprinkle the extra cocoa powder and caster sugar over the pudding mixture
  12. Add Baileys Irish cream and boiling water
  13. Bake for 30 minutes or until firm on the top but liquid remains underneath, as this is the sauce
  14. Allow to cool a bit, then dust with icing sugar
  15. Serve with vanilla ice-cream or custard.

Pecan Pecan Pie

This pie is the nuts. Buttery, flaky pastry and a delicate, creamy filling. The unmistakable flavour that only the pecan (a king among nuts in our opinion) can bring. Topped off with whole pecan nuts and glistening with syrupy goodness – go ahead and try to stop at one piece.

The mother of all pies, this is so good, you might need to make two.

Who knew? Native Southern Americans introduced French settlers to the Pecan in the late 1800s.

What you'll need

Shortcrust pastry (or buy premade)

  • 1¼ cups plain white flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 2.5 – 3 tbsp iced water

Pecans

  • 1 ¼ cups pecans, enough to decorate top
  • 1 ¼ cup pecans for filling

Filling

  • 3 eggs
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 185ml golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp bourbon or rum (optional, of course).

Plus, a rolling pin, baking paper and a pie dish.

What to do

Pie crust:

  1. Place flour, salt and sugar in a food processor
  2. Pulse twice
  3. Scatter in butter
  4. Pulse 5 times until you get pea-sized crumbs
  5. Turn food processor on low and add 2.5 tbsp water
  6. Keep blitzing for 7 to 10 seconds until it forms crumbly clumps
  7. Pinch with your fingers – it should come together. If not, add 1/2 tbsp water (don't blitz longer than 20 seconds though)
  8. Turn out crumbs onto work surface, using hands to bring together into a ball
  9. Pat into a 1.5cm thick disc
  10.  Place into a sealable container and fridge for 30 mins.

Nuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Scatter 1 ¼ cups pecans on baking tray and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until you smell them
  3. Remove from oven and roughly chop
  4. Remaining 1 ¼ cups don't need toasting – they're for decoration.

To roll out pie crust (tricky because it's soooo lovely and crumbly, but give it your best shot and don't sweat it):

  1. Dust work surface with flour
  2. Place dough on work surface, dust top with flour
  3. Roll out into 25cm circle, patching up cracks if you need
  4. Roll the pastry on your rolling pin, then roll it back into your pie tin like a pro
  5. Press in, then trim edges with scissors (leave about 1cm overhang – you can tuck these under if you're neat like that)
  6. Place two large pieces of baking paper over the pie crust
  7. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice (to stop pastry shrinking)
  8. Bake 20 minutes
  9. Remove pie weights
  10. Cool for 5 minutes before filling.

Filling:

  1. Whisk eggs
  2. Add remaining Filling ingredients and whisk
  3. Stir through chopped pecans
  4. Pour into crust – leave 1cm from the top
  5. Top with whole pecans.

Bake:

  1. Check after 40 mins. If it doesn't jiggle too much, and the centre is soft to touch, it's ready.

Tip 1: When it comes to the pastry-making, work like the wind so the butter stays nice and cold.

Tip 2: If your pastry or pecans are browning too much, cover with an oven proof lid or foil.

So there you have it – the top four essentials comforting foods to warm you up during a cold winter night. Best of all, Top Ryde City has it all – you don't need to go anywhere else for all your winter pick-me-up ingredients.

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