We don’t have many traditions in my family of origin; we are more likely to eschew a tradition than maintain one – non-conformist is our rule of thumb! Growing up we never had a Christmas tree (except the year when Mum, in desperation, strung together a few palm fronds and draped them with tinsel). We rarely celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and you may or may not get a present on your birthday! But there is one practice that we adhere to as a family… and that is meeting up for coffee.



My father and brother started it, a few years back. When Dad was Mum’s full-time carer (before she moved into a nursing home), he would get a few hours respite each week while a lady came in to sit with Mum and do the ironing. While she was there, Dad and Phill would head out for a long bicycle ride, which was broken up with an equally long coffee break. They became quite the connoisseurs, and have their favourite cafés, where the coffee can be guaranteed to be up to standard.



Nowadays, the coffee break may or may not be bookended with a bike ride. But all the same, it’s an enjoyable way to meet up, chat and connect. I now too, though living some distance away and not really a coffee drinker, will meet them to chat and pass the time of day. Now that I’m a stay-at-home mum, it’s a great excuse to get out of the house, and for Theo to connect with family on a regular basis. We’ll often meet at Cibo, where I’ll order an iced coffee, and on the rare occasion, a snack.


One day, I decided to try a patisserie item called the ‘mezzaluna’. Mezzaluna is actually the name of a crescent shaped knife, but at Cibo it’s a fruit-filled shortbread cookie. I was immediately smitten, and have ordered it several times since. Basically, it’s a shortbread pastry enclosing a not-too-sweet compote of wild cherry. Of course, now they’ve taken it off the menu, so I’ve nothing to check my version against. No matter though, because these jammy biscotti have everyone reaching for more.


Mezzaluna {shortbread jam turnovers}

Prep time: 1 hour
Total cooking time: 12 – 15 minutes
Makes about 30

2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
½ cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
185g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg
½ cup black cherry jam (I used St. Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit Black Cherry Spread)
1 egg, extra, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to moderate 180degc. Line two trays with baking paper.

If you have a food processor, place flour, sugar and butter in food processor bowl. Using the pulse action, press button for 20 seconds or until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add egg, process for a further 15 seconds or until the mixture comes together.

{Alternately, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour and sugar. Follow up with a pastry cutter until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add the egg and stir with a wooden spoon, then get your hand in there and bring it together with your fingers.}

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 minutes or until dough is smooth. Leave dough, covered in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Divide pastry in two. Roll half the pastry on a sheet of baking paper to 4mm thickness. Cut out circles with a 7cm diameter cutter. Brush pastry edges with egg. Spoon half a teaspoon cherry jam into the centre of each circle. Fold over one half of the circle onto itself, to make a crescent shape. Press down to seal edges. (To minimise jam leakage, begin at the edges and work around towards the middle). Repeat with remaining dough.

Place on prepared oven trays and bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until pale golden. Cool biscuits on trays. Dust liberally with sifted icing sugar before serving.

Storage time: Biscuits may be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

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