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Pineapple Christmas CakePineappleXmas_4322

The Iconic Kiwi Christmas cake, first made by Alison Holst around 30 years ago!


Cake Mix:

700g Alison’s Pantry Sultanas
500g Alison’s Pantry Raisins
250g Currants
50g mixed peel

432g can crushed pineapple in juice
3 cups high-grade flour
1 tsp each cinnamon and mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
225g butter
1 cup sugar
½ tsp each vanilla, almond and lemon essences
6 large eggs
50g Alison’s Pantry Roast Unsalted Almonds, to decorate (optional).

The day before mixing the cake, put the dried fruit and undrained pineapple in a large fry pan.  Cover pan, heat until liquid boils then simmer until all juice is absorbed.  Leave overnight, or until cold.

Next day, combine flour and spices and set aside.  In a very large bowl, cream butter, sugar and essences until light.  Beat in eggs one at a time, adding 2 tablespoons of the spiced flour with each.

Stir in prepared (cold) fruit and remaining spiced flour.  If the mixture seems too soft, add extra flour until mixture will just drop from a spoon.  Put in a lined tin, levelling the surface.  Decorate with blanched almonds.

Bake at 150°C for 1½ hours, then 130°C for 2 hours longer, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  (Brush hot cake with ¼ cup brandy or sherry if you like.)

Note:  We usually bake this cake without using fan bake.

Once cooled, remove from tin and wrap in greaseproof paper and tea towels. Leave in a cool place, if kept in the correct environment, the cake will keep for weeks. Perfect recipe to get a head start on Christmas prep!


For a twist on an old classic try this Toffee Fruit & Nut Topping by Julie Le Clerc

Download the PDF version: Alison Holst Pineapple Christmas Cake





Panaforte - webChristmas Panforte

This chewy, very firm, dark and compact flat cake, of Italian origin, is flavoured with chocolate, nuts and fruit.  Carefully gift-wrapped it makes a dozen or so special and unusual gifts for good friends.

For about 12 – 15 servings:
75g butter
½ cup dark chocolate drops
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Natural Almonds
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Pecans
1 cup dried fruit (we suggest Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots, chopped)
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Crystallised Ginger
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon


Heat oven to 150°C.  Melt butter and chocolate chips together in a large bowl in the microwave oven at 50% power for 2 minutes, or over a pot of hot water. Roast nuts in a shallow baking dish as oven heats until lightly coloured, about 10 minutes.  Tip hot nuts into melted chocolate mixture.  Stir in your chosen dried fruit and chopped ginger.

Stir sugar and honey over low to moderate heat, until sugar dissolves.  When mixture bubbles all over the surface, stir hot syrup into nut mixture.

Sift in flour, cocoa and cinnamon until blended, then pour the warm mixture into a round tin about 24cm round, or 23cm square tin with bottom and sides lined with a Teflon liner or baking paper. Pat out evenly, with a piece of plastic between the cake and your hand, if necessary.

Bake at 150°C (on fan bake if possible) for 30 – 45 minutes, or until centre looks and feels as cooked as the part 5cm from the edge. Longer cooking gives a firmer, more toffee-like cake. Mixture will feel much softer than usual for a cake, but firms on cooling.  Leave at least 24 hours before cutting with a very sharp or serrated knife. Dust with icing sugar before serving.  Store wrapped pieces in the refrigerator or freezer, if you are making it some weeks before it is needed.

Notes: Replace half the cocoa with same amount of extra flour for a milder chocolate flavour.  Mixture contains no baking powder, soda or eggs.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Christmas Panforte




Mango-and-Passionfruit-Panacotta_WEBMango & Passionfruit Panacotta

This quickly made and delicious dessert is just the thing to serve to friends on warm summer evenings!

For 4 ½ cup servings:

25 g (¼ cup) finely chopped Alison’s Pantry Sliced Mango
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
3 level tsps gelatine
2 Tbsps water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsps passionfruit pulp
1 ¼ cups cream
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chop the mango into pieces the size of passionfruit seeds. Put in a medium-sized pot with the orange juice and first measure of water and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until nearly all the liquid has been soaked up and the mango is tender. Meanwhile, mix the carefully measured gelatine with the next measure of COLD water in a small container and leave it to swell. Add the sugar and passionfruit pulp to the pot and stir gently over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatine until it melts.
Take the pot off the heat and stir the cream into the warm mixture. (If you have big enough moulds, you can add up to ¼ cup of extra cream.) After the cream is stirred in, stir in the milk and the vanilla. Stand the pot in a bigger bowl of cold water and ice blocks and cool, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens just enough to hold up the seeds and mango pieces. Pour into four cleaned, wetted small glasses or bowls, each of which holds ½ cup (or a little more). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Dip moulds in water just warm enough to soften the outer layer of each dessert, then un-mould onto flat plates. Pour a little coulis over each dessert just before serving.


Chop 50g Alison’s Mango slices into very thin slices with scissors. Simmer with ½ cup each of orange juice and water for about 10 minutes, then puree fruit and liquid until smooth. Stir in about 2 tablespoons of passionfruit pulp, and leave to cool, then thin to pouring consistency with extra juice if necessary. Keep in a covered container until required.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Mango & Passionfruit Panacotta




Date and Walnut Cake - WebDate & Walnut Cake

You can’t actually see the fruit and nuts in this delicious cake, because they are so finely chopped. Serve it for dessert or for a special occasion, with coffee. (You need a food processor and beater to make it).


1 cup (150g) Alison’s Pantry Dates (chopped)
1 cup (90g) Alison’s Pantry Walnuts
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsps flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla


Turn oven to 180°C, or 170°C if using a fan oven.

Line the bottom of a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper and spray sides with non-stick spray. Measure the dates and nuts into a food processor. Add half of the measured sugar, the flour and baking powder then chop until dates and nuts are as fine as rolled oats. In another bowl beat the egg whites with half (2 Tbsp) the remaining sugar until their peaks turn over when the beater is lifted from them.  Beat egg yolks with the rest of sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy. Combine the three mixtures, folding them together lightly, and turn mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the centre springs back when pressed. Leave for 10 minutes then turn onto a rack to cool.

Serve topped with whipped cream, quark or ricotta, decorated with an interesting selection of chopped dried fruit and nuts, such as dates, dried apricots, walnuts and pecans.

NOTE: This cake may be made ahead and frozen.  It is best decorated within three hours of serving.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Date & Walnut Cake




Cranberry & Orange Muffinscranberry muffins

100g (¾ cup) Alison’s Pantry Cranberries
¼ cup water
2 oranges, rind and juice
75g butter
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 cups self-raising flour

Turn the oven to 170°C with a rack in the middle.
Put the cranberries in a microwave-proof container, pour the water over them, cover them and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Take out and put aside about a tablespoon of the cranberries.
Finely grate the orange rind into the bowl with the cranberries, then squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Measure juice carefully, adding extra water if necessary to make it up to ½ cup. Add this to the cranberry mixture.
Melt the measured butter until just liquid and put it aside, meantime.
Beat the eggs until well blended in the measuring cup, and put aside, as well.
Into a large bowl (big enough to hold everything) measure the sugar and the self-raising flour. (Stir the flour in its bag with a fork, then fork or spoon some of it into a measuring cup, filling it. Level it off without banging or pressing it down. )  Toss the sugar and flour together with a fork.
Coat the muffin pan with non-stick spray or oil.
Add to the flour mixture, without stirring, the orange and cranberry mixture, the melted butter, and the mixed eggs.   When everything is added, fold the liquid and dry ingredients together with a flexible stirrer, until no streaks of flour are visible. (At no time beat the mixture or the muffins will be tough and rise in peaks.)
Spoon the muffin mixture into the muffin pans using two household tablespoons. Help the mixture off the first spoon with the second spoon.  Put a few of the put-aside cranberries on each muffin.
Bake the muffins at 170°C for about 12 minutes, until the muffins spring back when pressed. Leave muffins in their pan for a few minutes, so they are easy to lift out.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Cranberry & Orange Muffins




Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownies

Everyone loves these! They have just the right texture and really good flavor.

¾ cup Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts
½ cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs
½ tsp salt
1 cup standard flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup cocoa

browniesHeat oven to 180° (or 170° fanbake) with the rack just below the middle. While it heats, lightly brown the hazel nuts on a baking tray for 5-10 minutes. (Do not overcook!) When cool, place nuts in a folded, clean tea towel and rub off the skins. Line the base and sides of a baking pan about 20cm square with baking paper.

Combine the next five ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and beat with a fork. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa and stir until evenly mixed. Chop the nuts as finely as you like, then stir them in, too.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean. (Don’t worry if the sides rise higher than then middle). Cool, then lift from the pan and cut into pieces of the size you like.

Serve large pieces with vanilla ice-cream for dessert, drizzling a little hazel nut liqueur over the ice-cream if you like. OR cut in smaller bars to serve with coffee. Store in an airtight container in a cool place, up to 5 days.

Variations: Replace hazel nuts with chopped almonds, pecans or macadamias.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Chocolate & Hazel Nut Brownies




Apricot Slice

This slice tastes of apricot and caramel – yum! New Zealand Apricots give the slice more intense flavour.

150g Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots
¼ cup orange juice or sherry
75g butter, melted
½ a 400g can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup brown sugar
250g packet of malt or wine biscuits
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Shredded Coconut
extra coconut

apricot-sliceLine the base and long sides of a pan about 18x18cm with baking paper. Finely chop the dried apricots and heat them in the orange juice or sherry in a large pot until there is no liquid left. Add the butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add condensed milk and brown sugar and heat gently, stirring often until the condensed milk is golden brown, then take off the heat.

Crumb the biscuits, and stir them and the coconut into the apricot mixture. Sprinkle the lined baking pan with extra coconut, then tip in the mixture. Press in evenly to the depth you like (it need not cover the whole tin). Sprinkle the top with more coconut, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into pieces the size you like. Serve with tea or coffee, or pack in lunches. Refrigerate in a covered container, up to a month.

Variation: For apricot and Almond Slice, add ½ cup Alison’s Pantry Sliced Almonds (lightly toasted and chopped) with the crushed biscuits.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Apricot Slice




Apricot & Almond CakeApricot & Almond Cake

This special occasion cake tastes very good!  Don’t crush the biscuits too finely, or the cake will be too firm and dry.


140g (1 cup) Alison’s Pantry Sliced Natural Almonds
20 “Snax” crackers (75g)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Alison’s Pantry Apricots, chopped small
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence


Turn oven to 180°C or 170°C fan bake. Toast almonds until straw-coloured in a frypan over low heat, or in a sponge roll pan under a grill. Put toasted nuts and biscuits in a large (Alison’s Pantry) plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Or chop nuts and crackers in a food processor. In either case, mixture should be in small pieces coarser than breadcrumbs. Add baking powder and chopped apricots.

In a large, grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat again until peaks stand up when beater is removed. Fold in the crumb mixture, then spoon mixture into a ring pan, well coated with non-stick spray. Bake for 30 minutes then carefully tip on to a rack.

When cold, turn right way up on to a flat serving plate. Decorate with whipped cream, and garnish with more apricots and lightly toasted almonds. Serve the day it is made.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Apricot & Almond Cake




Apple and Hazelnut Filo Pie

This pie is quite spectacular and is rather fun to make. I make the filling using the first Cox’s Orange apples that I pick from our own tree.

If time is short, or if you don’t have fresh apples, make the pie using a can of apple pie filling, preferably with the suggested added


500-600g Cox’s Orange or other apples
1 Tbsp butter
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup white wine
8 Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots (chopped), optional
¼ cup sugar
1Tbsp flour
¼ cup toasted Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts (chopped)
8 sheets filo pastry
About 2 Tbsps melted butter or olive oil
4 Tbsps apricot jam, sieved
Icing sugar for dusting


Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Cut the quarters in half again. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and turn the apple pieces in it, over a fairly high heat. Add the orange juice and wine, then the finely chopped dried apricots. Sprinkle the apples with the mixed sugar and flour, stir in, and cook gently until the apples are just soft, in a small amount of lightly thickened sauce. Stir in half the chopped hazelnuts.

Trim the rectangular sheets of filo pastry into squares, then place one sheet on a dry surface and brush it lightly with melted butter or olive oil, using about a teaspoonful per sheet. Place another square over it so you have a filo “sandwich”. Use the remaining sheets to make three more sandwiches.

Lie the first sandwich in a lightly buttered or oiled 20-23cm pie plate or low-sided cake tin. Place the next sandwich over the first, but at a different angle. Continue layering the sheets until the four sandwiches are used up.

Pile the prepared filling into the filo lined pan, and sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts.

Working carefully and gently, fold the filo corners and edges back over the apple filling, one at a time, frilling and arranging them attractively. Bake at 190°C for 20-30 minutes until the filo in the tin is golden. If the top filo browns too fast, cover it with foil or spray it with water at intervals.

When the pie is cooked, brush the exposed apple filling with warmed apricot jam to glaze it, dust the filo edging with icing sugar, and serve warm or reheated, cut into wedges.

VARIATIONS: Put the filling into a single or double crust made of homemade short pastry or bought flaky pastry, if you like. Alter cooking times and temperatures to suit the pastry you use.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Apple and Hazelnut Filo Pie




Persian Couscous Salad

1 cup Alison’s Pantry Israeli CouscousPersian Couscous Salad - web
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, heated
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp each of Alison’s Pantry Sliced Almonds, Sunflower, Sesame & Pumpkin seeds
(makes ½ cup)
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Jumbo Raisins & diced Alison’s Pantry Apricots mixed.
¼ cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped

Optional extras: cubed carrots, finely chopped celery, chopped sundried tomatoes, diced red capsicum, lemon juice.

Cook onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Add fruit and couscous, cover with heated stock and cook until couscous is al dente, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the lid for a few minutes to reduce all the liquid. Stir in nut and seed mixture and herbs. Season with pepper.

Recipe makes: 2-4 servings

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Persian Couscous Salad




Pasta with Pistachio Pesto

The pistachios, parsley and avocado oil give this, our best pesto ever, a vibrant green color as well as a delightfully nutty flavor.pasta-with-pesta

For 4 Servings

1 cup (100g) Alison’s Pantry Pistachios
400g packet fresh pasta
1 cup (60g) parsley
2 cloves garlic
½ cup avocado oil
½ tsp salt
extra avocado oil

Shell the pistachios (this yields about ½ cup). Boil the pasta according to packet instructions. While it cooks, put the parsley, garlic, and oil in the food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the shelled nuts and salt, and process until nuts are chopped finely but not puree. (Add more oil if mixture seems too dry).

Drain cooked pasta leaving 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid in the pot. Toss the pistachio pesto through the pasta, with extra oil if you like. Serve topped with shavings of parmesan and a few extra chopped pistachios, and salad if desired.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Pasta with Pistachio Pesto




Dee’s Curried Cashew & Carrot Soupsoup

Cashews transform everyday soup into something really delicious, unusual and exotic.


For 4-6 Servings

1 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp curry powder
2 small onions, chopped
500g carrots (3 large carrots) chopped
3 cups vegetable or soup stock
100g Alison’s Pantry Roast Cashews


Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot, and the curry powder and chopped onions.
Cover and cook until the onions are soft but not brown. Add the carrots and stock and simmer until the carrots are tender.

In a blender or food processor, process the roasted cashew nuts to the consistency of ground almonds (the finer the grind, the smoother the soup). Drain the cooked carrots and onion and put into the food processor with the ground cashews. Process, adding enough cooking liquid to reach the thickness you like. Taste and season if necessary.

Reheat and serve as is, or top each serving with a spoonful of yoghurt and a little chopped mint or coriander, or more chopped cashews.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Dee’s Curried Cashew & Carrot Soup




Chicken in Pastry

There are times when you want a small group of people to sit down for a festive dinner which looks special, but is not too complicated or time consuming. Here is a recipe which fills these requirements.

It consists of four flattened chicken breasts. Two are placed on pastry and topped first with stuffing, then with the remaining breasts. They are wrapped in pastry, garnished then baked. The package is best served hot and when sliced should show colourful stuffing between layers of chicken, the whole thing surrounded by pastry.


For 3-5 servings:

4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 large onion
1 cup parsley sprigs
1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
¼ cup Alison’s Pantry Pine Nuts
6 spinach leaves
12-15 pieces sun-dried tomatoes OR a jar of sliced red peppers
400g puff pastry
1 egg


Pound each boneless, skinless breast between two plastic bags using a rolling pin, until the breast is double its original length and width.

Chop the onion, parsley and sage finely. This may be done in a food processor or by hand.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently cook the onion and herbs until the onion is soft and transparent but not browned. Add the pine nuts and brown very lightly.

Wash and chop the spinach. Cook briefly until wilted, then drain and stir into the onion mixture.

To make a red layer use sun dried tomatoes or a drained jar of sliced red peppers. If using the tomatoes, chop them and soak them in a little boiling water for 15 minutes. Roll the pastry out thinly and evenly on a floured and double strip of baking paper until it is 45cm square.

Place two of the flattened fillets side by side on the centre of this, patting them into an oval shape. Spread the spinach an onion mixture evenly on top, leaving the edges clear, then arrange the drained tomatoes or peppers on this. Place the two remaining fillets of chicken on top, covering the stuffing. Pat into a neat shape.

Now cut the four diagonal lines from the corners of the pastry to the chicken.

Beat an egg with 2 teaspoons of water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Keep this on hand to brush the pastry layers to help them stick to each other, then later to brush the surface.

Now fold the pastry over the chicken. Fold the ends in first, trim away excess, then fold the longer sides of pastry over the chicken. Again trim away excess pastry, but leave enough to fold under the ends. You should finish up with an oval package. Brush the surface with egg mixture. Cut whatever shapes you like from the pastry offcuts. Place on the egg-brushed surface and brush again.

Lift the baking paper and the pastry package onto a sponge roll tin and bake at 220°C for 45-60 minutes until golden brown. Lower the heat or cover the pastry loosely if the top browns too fast.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving. This is nice served with new baby potatoes, baby carrots and seasonal green vegetables.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Chicken in Pastry




Chicken & Waldorf Salad

 1-2 crisp red apples 1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice ¾ tsp salt
2 stalks celery 1 tsp curry powder or paste
200g sliced cooked chicken meat 2 tsp Dijon or mild mustard
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Walnuts 2 Tbsp each lemon juice
sour cream & canola oil 2-3 Tbsp chicken stock or water
 3 cups salad greens


chickenFirst make Curried Sour Cream Mustard dressing. Whisk all dressing ingredients except water or stock together until smooth. Thin to coating consistency with water or chicken stock.

Assemble salad just before serving. Cut unpeeled apples into wedges or cubes and toss in the lemon juice.  Slice celery 5mm thick. Add celery, cooked chicken and half the walnuts to apples. Gently toss together, adding enough dressing to coat. Spoon onto salad greens (torn or chopped if necessary) on individual plates and sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Let diners spoon extra dressing over salads if desired.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Chicken & Waldorf Salad




10 Minute Salmon & Couscous Salad

Just the thing when you don’t want to cook at the end of a hot summer day!Salmon-and-Couscous-Salad


1 can (100-200g) salmon
1 ½ cups liquid (see below)
½ tsp minced chilli (optional)
¾ cup Alison’s Pantry Couscous
2 spring onions and celery stalks, sliced
3 cups torn or roughly chopped lettuce leaves
1 cup each cubed cucumber and tomatoes
chopped fresh coriander, basil, dill, etc.
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive (or other) oil


Use whatever sized can of salmon suits you (red salmon looks best).  Drain salmon liquid into a measuring jug and make up to 1 ½ cups with chicken stock (or 1 teaspoon instant chicken stock and water).  Stir in the chilli, then bring mixture to the boil in a microwave oven or pot.  Pour the boiling liquid over the couscous in a large shallow, heatproof bowl.  Cover with a plate and leave to stand for 5-6 minutes.  Meantime, prepare the vegetables and herbs.

When couscous has soaked up all the liquid, break the drained salmon into chunks and mix half of it through the warm couscous with half the lemon juice and oil.  Taste, season if necessary, then mix in the prepared vegetables and herbs.  Top with the remaining salmon and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and oil.  Serve piled in shallow bowls, with crusty bread rolls.

Variation:  Add cooked prawns, mussels, surimi, or chopped hardboiled eggs.  Replace lemon juice and oil with your favourite salad dressing.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s 10 Minute Salmon & Couscous Salad




Walnut Pate

This unusual meatless pate looks rather like chicken liver pate. Its flavour is excellent when you make it with light coloured, full flavoured Alison’s Pantry Walnuts.

¼ cup olive oilWalnut Pate
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ cup celery, chopped
1 cup (100g) Alison’s Pantry Walnuts, chopped
Pinch of chilli powder
¼ tsp dried thyme
4 hard boiled eggs
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the chopped garlic, onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the chopped walnuts and continue to cook until the walnuts are brown slightly. Stir in the chili powder and thyme, remove from heat, then transfer mixture to a food processor fitted with its metal chopping blade. Process briefly then add the roughly chopped eggs, salt and pepper, and process until the mixture is fairly smooth – whatever you consider to be pate texture. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerate up to 4 days.

Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Walnut Pate