New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As are culinary leaders in capturing the intense flavours of fresh fruits, herbs and many other food delicacies – literally frozen in time. Their products including freeze dried food segments and powders give chefs a new set of creative powers – enhancing dishes with both flavour punch and great textural accompaniment.

Thanks to Essentials’ in-house chef Megan Chalmers, and an Essentials collaboration, several Fresh As products have recently ended up on menu at the Whitsunday’s most exclusive new resort Elysian Retreat. The following is one of our favourites.

Poolside at Elysian Retreat
Poolside at Elysian Retreat

Jaffa Chocolate Tarts

500g chocolate shortcrust pastry
(see recipe page below)
300ml thickened cream
2 tsp caster sugar
1 pinch Murray River salt flakes
50g unsalted butter, softened
200g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
Fresh As Freeze Dried Blood Orange Slices and Mandarin Segments
Fresh As Freeze Dried Plum Powder and Nicholson Fine Foods Golden Vanilla Pearls to garnish

Preheat oven to 180C.


1. Roll out the shortcrust pastry to approximately 2-3mm thickened and use it to line individual greased tart tins. Cover with baking paper, fill with dried beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove beans and bake for another 10 minutes until golden.
2. In a medium saucepan add cream, caster sugar and salt; slowly bring to the boil. Remove from heat and while stirring with a spatula add the chocolate and butter. Continue to stir until the the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture becomes smooth and shiny.

3. Allow the chocolate mix to cool slightly, then pour into the baked tart shell.

4. Leave at room temperature to set, approximately 2-3 hours.

Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry

Makes enough for ten x 6cm individual tart cases

2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp icing sugar
200g (1 cup) plain flour
1 good pinch salt
150g chilled unsalted butter, diced
2-2½ tbsp iced water


1. In a medium mixing bowl add cocoa powder, icing sugar, flour and salt. Next add the chilled butter and with your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture has the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.

2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the iced water over the flour and butter mixture. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers: if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water. If it doesn’t, add the remaining ½ tbsp water and combine. The pastry should be soft but not sticky.

3. Bring the pastry together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured, cool benchtop. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 30 seconds or until smooth and soft. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the refigerator for 20 minutes to rest.

About Fresh As

Fresh As produces a retail range including whole/sliced fruits and fruit powders, along with herbs and a fantastic snack range. Made in New Zealand, Fresh As source the highest quality produce when it’s in season and then freeze-dry it to produce intensely flavoured products that can be used in a wide range of creative cooking applications.

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