We all have those special festive dishes that we love and are close to our hearts, and the team behind the Townsville Food Magazine are no different. From delicious drinks to sumptuous side salads, beautiful bird and delectable desserts, together, our teams’ favourite dishes create the perfect festive spread.


•  2 1/2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
• 1 cup cold unsalted butter,  cut into large chunks
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice cold water

• 4 cups pitted cherries
• 3/4 cup granulated white sugar, or to taste
• 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon cherry brandy
• 2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces

• 2 tablespoons cream
• granulated white sugar

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and combine. Add the butter and process until crumbly, Gradually add 1/4 cup water until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.

Once chilled, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a 30cm circle. Transfer to a 23cm pie pan. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, while you roll out the remaining pastry and make the filling.

Meanwhile, remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 30cm circle. Using a star cookie cutter, cut out about 20 stars. Place the stars on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 220C.

Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract and brandy, gently toss to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes and then pour into the prepared pie shell and dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Place the pastry stars in a circular pattern on top of the cherry filling. Brush the entire surface with the cream and sprinkle with a little granulated white sugar.

Place the pie on a larger baking pan, lined with parchment paper, to catch any spills. Bake the pie for about 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 180 C. Continue to bake for about 25 – 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cherry juices are starting to bubble.

Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool, serve with fresh cream or ice cream.


To round out your Xmas feast, see also:

• Josh’s Roasted Chicken with Orange and Cherries
• Sarah’s Prosciutto, Fig and Goat’s Cheese Salad
• Kate’s Xmas Sangria