Puddings, gifts and treats
250g caster sugar
600g plain flour
100g corn flour
1tsp mixed spice
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Zest of one orange
4 oz dried mixed fruit
50g flaked almonds, roughly chopped
50g chopped hazelnuts, skins removed
Beat the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the flours and spices, mix together then add the dried fruit and zest. Turn out onto floured surface and bring together, kneading gently.
Roll out into a log and slice up or cut out using festive cutters
Chill in the freezer and then cook from frozen for eight minutes at 170c and then reduce the heat to 140c and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sugar.
These make lovely gifts, tree decorations or stocking fillers. Once cooled, wrap in some clear cellophane and tie up with ribbon.
CINNAMON CRÈME BRULEE
8 egg yolks
1 whole egg
60 caster sugar
500ml double cream
2 cinnamon sticks
Zest of one orange
Beat eggs and sugar into a bowl until pale and incorporate as little air as possible. Bring the cream to the boil with the cinnamon and orange zest. Strain through a sieve and then beat the cream into the egg mix. Sit the pan over boiling water on a low heat until it starts to thicken.
Pour into ramekins. Cook in a bain marie in the oven for 20 minutes at 130c \ GM 4 until just set and then remove from the oven and cool. Once cooled slightly place in the fridge.
When you are ready to serve dust with icing sugar and place under a hot grill to caramelise or dust with caster sugar and use a blow torch to get the same effect – a nice crisp crunchy top.
DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE WITH CARAMELISED PASTRY WAFERS
550ml double cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks
4 tbsp rum or brandy
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Add the rum and fold in the cream.
Whisk the eggs until stiff and take ¼ of the eggs and beat in to the chocolate cream mix and then carefully fold in the rest. Pour into 7cm by 2cm rings.
For the pastry wafers
Block of puff pastry
Roll out the puff pastry so that its 200mm long by 300m wide and 3-5mm thick.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and roll up tight along the long edge, slice into 5mm pieces.
Dust a work surface with icing sugar and place a disc of the pastry into this and sprinkle a bit more icing sugar on the spiral facing up to you and roll out until its 2mm thick. Repeat until all discs are done.
Cook in a hot oven, at 180c until golden brown and remove. Working quickly with a flat implement press down on each disc and cut out using a cutter that’s slightly bigger than the rings you used for the mousse.
Place a disc on a plate, turn out a mousse on top and then place another disc on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve with warm poached cherries and freshly whipped cream.
WINTER FRUIT PAVLOVA WITH CHESTNUT CREAM
6 egg whites
375g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
½ tsp lemon juice
250ml double cream
100g sweetened chestnut puree
Dried apricots, figs, golden raisins and clementines
¼ pint of fresh orange juice
Pre heat the oven to 140c
Whisk the egg whites slowly until thick but not dry. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, allowing a couple of seconds between each addition. At the end, add the cornflour and lemon.
Pipe or smooth into a dish so that the meringue is about 1 ½ inches deep.
Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and cool.
Poach the dried apricots and raisins in a little orange juice and slow to cool – this should soften the fruits and plump them up.
Whip the cream until semi-whipped then add the puree, carry on whisking until fully whipped and pipe onto the meringue. Arrange the clementine segments on top, add the poached fruits and a small amount of the poaching liquor and top with candied nuts such as macadamias.
ICED CRANBERRY PARFAIT
450g (16 oz)frozen cranberries
225g (8 oz) sugar and 4 fl oz water cooked to jam (105 degrees celsius)
4 egg yolks
1 pint (500ml) double cream whipped to soft peaks
Take the cranberries and bring to the boil in 2 fl oz water until soft, liquidise and then pass through a sieve.
Whisk the egg yolks in a mixer and when the sugar syrup reaches jam consistency pour over the yolks whisking all the time, keep whisking until the egg is cool, light, fluffy and will leave a trail when the whisk is lifted out.
Fold in 8oz of the cranberry puree, followed by the cream and then pour into one large tin or individual moulds and freeze.
When you are ready to serve, run some warm water over the tin or moulds to release the parfait. Sweeten the remaining cranberry puree and serve with the dish.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND MARZIPAN TRUFFLE
450g (16oz ) good quality white chocolate
150ml double cream
32g nut brown butter, melt in a pan until it starts to colour
1.25 fl oz brandy
113g (4oz) Marzipan
Roll out the marzipan thinly and line a tray.
Break the chocolate up and place in a bowl
Bring the cream to the boil (it is important that the cream boils) and along with the brandy and the butter pour onto the chocolate and allow to stand for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture until the chocolate has completely dissolved.
Pour onto the marzipan, then drizzle lines of dark chocolate, draw a skewer through to create a feathered effect. Allow to cool and cut up into squares. Serve after dinner with coffee.
JASMINE TEA CREAMS
300ml double cream
1 tablespoon of jasmine tea leaves
4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
Bring the cream to the boil with the jasmine tea leaves and set aside to infuse for ten minutes.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale, re-heat the cream a little and pour over the eggs and mix together. Return to a low heat and stir, this can take a little while but the slower you do it the better the set. Once it starts to thicken pour through a sieve to remove the tea and pour into ramekins (4). Leave to set overnight. Serve with thin and crispy shortbread.
225g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
50g hazelnuts, chopped
50g whole almonds, chopped
100g mixed fruit (glace cherries, plump raisins and chopped dates)
2 free-range eggs
Zest of one lemon
25g flour, mixed with 25g icing sugar for dusting
Icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 180c / GM 4 / 350f
For the biscotti, mix together the flour, sugar, spices, nuts, lemon and fruit in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs and butter together until pale and fluffy then add to the flour mixture, mixing to form a dough. Roll the dough into a ball. Flour a work surface with the flour and icing sugar mixture. Turn the dough out onto the work surface, halve it and roll each half into a 24cm/10inch rectangle that is 1cm / ½ an inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, remove and leave to cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Cut 12 biscuits out from each sheet with a biscuit cutter. Return them to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp
ZABAGLIONE SEMI FREDO
4 egg yolks
125g golden caster sugar
150ml dry Marsala
142ml pot of whipping cream
Put the egg yolks into a large bowl that will fit over a saucepan, add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale and thick and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted. Whisk in the Marsala, then put the bowl over a pan of simmering water and continue whisking until the mixture has at least doubled in volume.
Remove from the heat, stand in a bowl in cold water and whisk until cool. Whip the cream until it just holds it shape. Add to the cold zabaglione and whisk together.
Pour into a container and freeze for about 1 to 1½ hours or until firm. Serve in small glasses or bowls with a piece of Christmas biscotti.
CHOCOLATE MINCE PIES
For the chocolate mince meat
½lb bramley apples
4oz shredded suet
3oz strong bitter chocolate
4oz mixed peel
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
6oz soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest of one orange and one lemon
1oz whole almonds cut into slivers
2tsp ground mixed spice
40g white chocolate chips
40g bitter chocolate chips
Combine all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips and brandy, cover and leave in a cool place overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 120c place all the ingredients in an oven tray, cover with foil and place in an oven for 1½ hours.
Remove from the oven it may look very fatty, don’t worry this is OK. As it cools, stir the mixture and the fat will coagulate. Once the mince meat is completely cold, stir in the chocolate chips and the brandy, pour into clean jars and use as required.
350g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
125 icing sugar
Zest and juice of one orange
Place flour, cocoa and icing sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Mix the egg and orange together then add to the crumbs, knead into a dough but don’t overwork as it will become tough.
Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out and line tart tins with the pastry keeping a piece aside to make into lids.
Once your tin is lined place a heaped teaspoon of the chocolate mince meat into each case, wet the rim of the pastry with your finger and pop a lid on top of each pie.
Bake in a moderate oven, 160c, for 10-12 minutes until cooked. Serve with a dollop of brandy butter or whipped cream flavoured with a bit of brandy.
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TORTE
410g good quality chocolate
550ml double cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks
4tbsp rum or brandy
2 egg whites whipped
One large Genoese sponge – 10mm thick – still in the tin
4tbsp stock syrup – 50:50 sugar to water mixed with 2 tbsp rum
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – don’t let the water boil or touch the base of the bowl.
Add the rum to the melted chocolate and then fold in the cream
Whisk the eggs to stiff peaks. Take a quarter off the egg whites and whisk into the chocolate mixture and then fold in the rest.