Christmas 2018 pudding recipes: From festive croquembouche to ginger millionaire slice

Swap your classic cake, pud or trifle for one of these elegant desserts

Thursday 29 November 2018 17:45
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Mixed berry pavlova wreath

This mixed berry meringue wreath is a great dessert option for the festive season. Simple but delicious, it’s bound to impress dinner guests.

Prep: 30 minutes plus 2 hours cooling
Cook: 1 hour

Serves 6-8

For the meringue

3 large egg whites
150g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour

For the topping

300g cranberries
1 large orange, zest and juice
180g caster sugar
250ml double cream

Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries to serve.

Pre-heat oven to 130C. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until they become stiff. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and cornflour, then gradually add one spoonful at a time to the egg whites, whisking well in between each addition until all the sugar is combined and the whites are stiff and glossy. This is your meringue mixture.

Spoon the meringue into a ring shape on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper. Run the back of your spoon around the top of the ring to create a furrow all the way round so when cooked, there will be an indentation to hold the topping.

Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour then turn off the oven, do not open the oven door, instead leave the meringue in to cool for a further two hours. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Put the cranberries, orange zest and juice in a saucepan and sprinkle over the sugar. Heat the mixture to a simmer then bubble for 10-12 minutes until the juices thicken but the fruit retains some shape. Set aside to go cold.

When the meringue has cooled, take it out of the oven and carefully slide off the paper onto a serving plate. It should be crisp and slightly golden, but it will still be soft in the middle. Beat the cream to soft peaks and spread over the meringue ring. Drizzle over the cold cranberry sauce, decorate with fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries and serve.

Note: Make sure the bowl and whisk you use for the egg whites are very clean. If there’s any residual grease or oil then it will inhibit the volume of the meringue. Leaving the meringue in the oven to cool slowly will help make sure it doesn’t crack. If it does crack, don’t worry, it will be covered with the cream and toppings.

Recipe from Berryworld.com

Ginger millionaire slice

With a thick, lightly salted date caramel and a textured nutty base of almonds and ginger biscuits, this is a delicious festive treat to have with tea or an ideal homemade gift when presented in a box or brown paper bag tied with string.

Makes 25-30 small bites

Base

250g ginger biscuits, crushed
250g skinned almonds, roughly chopped
50g shelled pistachios
50g candied ginger
Grated zest of 1 orange
200g unsalted butter, melted

Caramel

250g pitted Medjool dates
100g smooth almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
¼ tsp sea salt
100g unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate topping

250g dark chocolate

For the base, pulse the ginger biscuits in a food processor to small chunks. Add the remaining ingredients and lightly pulse until incorporated. Grease and line a brownie tin with baking parchment and pour in the mixture. Spread it around the tray and press into the edges until even and smooth, then place in the fridge to set.

Place all of the ingredients for the caramel in a high-speed blender and blend until you have a thick, smooth paste. Remove the tray from the fridge and spread over your layer of caramel, using a palette knife dipped in hot water to smooth the top, returning the tray to the fridge once more.

Melt the chocolate by placing it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and return the tray to the fridge to set for 1-2 hours. Once set, cut into neat slices or chunks to serve or gift.

Recipe from Daylesford.com

Festive croquembouche

Serves 10-12

This is a challenging recipe and it does take a considerable amount of time, effort and patience. However, the results are spectacular and your guests will be incredibly impressed! Nothing this good comes easy!

Choux buns

240g milk
240g water
8g sugar
8g salt
225g butter
270g flour (bread)
480g eggs (approx 8)

Place the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring to the boil. Pull away from the heat and stir in the flour, return to a medium-high heat and cook stirring constantly until it starts to leave a film on the bottom of the pan. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to cool slightly and then beat in the eggs gradually until fully incorporated. You should have a dropping consistency: take a spoonful and tip the mix off, it should slowly drop, not pour or stay on the spoon. Transfer to a container and chill for at least half an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 190C.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe into 2.5cm rounds on silicone paper or mats (if using paper use a little of the mixture to stick it to a baking tray), leaving at least 2.5cm between each. Bake for 10-15 minutes until well puffed then reduce temperature to 160C and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes until well dried. Allow to cool.

Mincemeat filling

240g egg yolks
240g caster sugar
100g flour
800ml milk
250g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
312g mincemeat

Bring the milk to the boil. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and flour. Pour the milk onto the egg yolks and mix well. Return to the pan and bring back to the boil, whisking constantly, reduce the heat and cook gently for 3 minutes continuing to whisk. Transfer to a container, press cling film onto the top to cover and chill. Blend the custard with the butter and mincemeat, transfer to a piping bag and chill. Make a small hole in the bottom of the choux buns and fill with the mincemeat cream.

Caramel

300g caster sugar
100ml water

Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to enable you to plunge the base of your sauce pan in. Place the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil, cook without stirring until you have a light caramel. Plunge the base of the pan into the ice water to halt the cooking, the caramel will continue to colour for a little while. Once the coloration has stopped but the caramel is still liquid remove from the ice water and start dipping your choux buns into the caramel to coat the top, lay them caramel down on a lightly greased sheet of silicone paper. Once all the buns are dipped and set you are ready to construct.

Start construction with the dipped choux buns and caramel in a liquid state. If it sets just warm it gently to melt. To construct the tower, you can use a purpose-made mould, a homemade mould using acetate or freestyle it.

Use the caramel to stick the buns together and build up in a cone shape. Once the tower is built you can decorate with whatever you like, I used some chocolate stars and some of the caramel spun from two forks over the handle of a wooden spoon. You could use sugared nuts, crystallised fruits or flowers, you could even stick an angel on the top!

Recipe from Steve Groves, head chef at Roux at Parliament Square

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