The Festive Food To Make Now

Chances are you’ve got a bit more spare time on your hands over the weekend right now – so what better way to use it than for getting ahead for Christmas? Just in time for Stir-Up Sunday – traditionally the best time of year to make Christmas pudding – we asked some of our favourite chefs to share their top festive recipes that can be made in advance…
Mincemeat: Twelve Triangles

Yield

Makes 24 mince pies

Total Time

2 Hours 10 Minutes

Ingredients

500g of eating apples
300g of cooking apples
150g of plums
200g of cranberries
100g of cherries
525g of sultanas
300g of currants
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ tbsp of mixed spice
½ tbsp of mace
½ tbsp of cinnamon
½ tbsp of ginger
1 tsp of coriander
1 tsp of clove
225g of veggie suet
300g of dark brown sugar
150g of light brown sugar
150g of flaked almonds
150g of sherry

Method

Step 1

Peel, core and finely chop the apples, chop the plums and mix everything together apart from the sherry. Leave overnight.

Step 2

Bake at around 150°C covered with foil for one hour and then stir and bake for another hour.

Step 3

Leave to cool and stir every now and then.

Step 4

When cold, stir through the sherry.

Step 5

Store in a cool dry place for around 2-3 months for the best flavour.
Sourdough Christmas Pudding: Twelve Triangle

Yield

Serves 8-10

Total Time

5 Hours

Ingredients

175g of sultanas
175g of currants
75g of dried figs, roughly chopped
60g of mixed peel
50g of dried apricots, roughly chopped
40g of glace cherries, halved
75g of brandy
1 quince, grated (or apple if you can’t find quince)
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 eggs
125g of suet
175g of soft dark brown sugar
125g of sourdough breadcrumbs
½ tsp of ground mixed spice
90g of self-raising flour

Method

Step 1

Mix together all your ingredients apart from the self-raising flour and let it sit overnight in a covered bowl.

Step 2

The next day, line two 700g pudding basins with ceramic or plastic and then brush them with melted butter.

Step 3

Stir the self-raising flour through your pudding mix and then split evenly between your lined pudding basins.

Step 4

Cut a greaseproof disc to cover the top of your basin and place it on top of your pudding mix. Then make a lid out of foil, crimping it around the edges of your pudding basin to make sure no liquid can get in. Wrap some string around the foil and make a handle to make it easier to lift from the steaming pot.

Step 5

To cook your pudding, fill a pan with a few inches of simmering water and place your pudding basins inside, cover your pan with a lid and steam on a low heat for 4 hours, occasionally checking to make sure the water doesn’t boil dry.

Step 6

Leave this to mature until Christmas Day, then either re-steam for an hour and a half or else microwave. Serve with plenty of brandy butter and double cream.
Christmas Stollen: Miele Der Kern

This bake can be made and stored up to three months in advance.

Yield

Serves 8-12

Total Time

2 Hours

Ingredients

150g of raisins
100g of mixed peel
75g of almonds, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp of rum
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of almond extract
500g of plain flour
75g of golden caster sugar
1 tsp of salt
20g of fresh yeast
1 lemon, zest only
150ml of lukewarm milk
1 medium egg
200g of unsalted butter, softened
100g of marzipan
50g of icing sugar and melted butter to coat

Method

Step 1

Mix the raisins, lemon peel and almonds with the rum and vanilla extract and keep aside.

Step 2

If using a food mixer, mix the flour, sugar, salt, crumbled yeast and lemon zest and pour in the milk and the egg. Start kneading using a low to medium speed until it starts to come together as a dough.

Step 3

Add the softened butter and the marzipan a little at a time until it is fully incorporated and increase the speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Step 4

Add the dried fruits and the chopped almonds and mix in the dough. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to prove until it doubles in size (you can either do this by placing the bowl in a steam oven at 40°C or in a warming drawer using the lowest setting).

Step 5

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and shape it into a large oval. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and press the folded side slightly to help the loaf keep its shape. Carefully lift and place onto a baking tray.

Step 6

Slide the tray into the oven and cook at 160°C Fan for 30 minutes.

Step 7

Remove the stollen from the oven, place on a wire rack and brush all around with melted butter. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
Brandy Butter: Paulene Enigboken, Dualit

A good recipe to make in advance, brandy butter will keep for two to three weeks in the fridge or a couple of months if frozen. 

Yield

Serves 4

Total Time

10 Minutes

Ingredients

100g of salted butter
100g of icing sugar
2 tbsp of water
1-2 tbsp of brandy

Method

Step 1

Beat together the butter and icing sugar.

Step 2

Slowly add the water, mixing until well combined.

Step 3

Lastly, add the brandy. Continue to mix until your butter is a smooth consistency.

Step 4

For quick and easy serving, place into baking parchment and roll into a small sausage. Chill and ensure the mix has set before cutting into slices and placing on top of your favourite desserts. Alternatively, place into a small jar and store in the fridge.
Coconut Ice: Paulene Enigboken

Coconut ice is a great idea to give as a homemade gift at Christmas. You can make this several weeks in advance of the big day and store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Yield

Makes 12

Total Time

1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

200g of desiccated coconut
250g of royal icing sugar
150g of condensed milk
75g of chocolate drops, cranberries or topping of your choice
2-4 tsp of warm water
Pink food colouring

Method

Step 1

In a large bowl combine the icing sugar and coconut.

Step 2

Slowly pour in the condensed milk and bind the mixture. This is where you can add a little water to help the mixture along.

Step 3

When the mixture becomes firm, divide in half and set aside one part.

Step 4

Colour one half of the mixture with a few drops of the pink food colouring and mix in the cranberries, chocolate pieces etc.

Step 5

Using a metal spoon, press the pink mixture into a lined traybake tin, making sure it is evenly spread.

Step 6

Take the white mixture and press over the top of the pink. Smooth over with a palette knife.

Step 7

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for around an hour to set, or preferably overnight.

Step 8

When set, cut into small squares. Try scattering some cranberries or chocolate pieces on top for decoration.

Visit Dualit.com

Caramelised Apple & Maple Marmalade: Maple From Canada

Pair this festive marmalade with your favourite cheese for a sensational treat.

Yield

Makes 6-8 portions

Total Time

2 Hours 20 Minutes

Ingredients

750g of braeburn apples, peeled and roughly chopped
2 brown onions, roughly chopped
500g of dried cranberries
2 satsumas
350g of maple sugar
5 tbsp of pure Canadian maple syrup (preferably amber syrup for its rich taste)
1/5 tsp of ground cloves
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
400ml of red wine vinegar
2 tsp of sea salt
250g of pitted dates

Method

Step 1

Add the apples, onions, cranberries and dates into a pan.

Step 2

Add the zest of the satsumas then squeeze in the juice and pulp.

Step 3

Add the maple sugar, maple syrup, spices and salt. Pour over the red wine vinegar and stir together.

Step 4

Bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Step 5

Turn off the heat, place lid onto the pan and leave to stand for 1-2 hours.

Step 6

Once completely cool, serve or store in a sterilised jar or a plastic tub and refrigerate.
Winter Spiced Pear Tarts With Pine Nuts & Chocolate: Macknade

If you’re not mad about rich, dried fruit, Christmas desserts can often be quite a challenge – pudding, stollen, mince pies – they’re not for everyone. We’ve taken the comice pear, in season throughout October to February, and given it a festive dressing inside a crumbly, shortcrust pastry. This little tart is much like a mince pie, only fresher, and we like to serve it with some brandy cream. 

Yield

Makes 9 tarts

Total Time

1 Hour

Ingredients

For the pastry:
170g of plain flour
100g of cold butter
1 tbsp of caster sugar
1 large free-range egg yolk
For the filling:
2 comice pears, sliced
Zest of one clementine
Pinch of cinnamon
6 whole cloves
1 vanilla pod, scraped and split
75g of toasted pine nuts
3 sprigs of thyme, stripped and chopped
1 tbsp of brown sugar
100g of dark chocolate, melted

Method

Step 1

Begin with the pastry by rubbing the flour and cold butter into crumbs.

Step 2

Stir the sugar through. Add the egg yolk and cut the mixture with metal knife until incorporated. Add a little cold water at a time to bring just bring dough together.

Step 3

Wrap and store the pastry in a fridge overnight.

Step 4

For the filling, slice pears and add zest, cinnamon, cloves, thyme and vanilla seeds plus pod and leave to infuse overnight.

Step 5

When ready the next day, preheat oven to 180°C /Gas mark 4 and grease a muffin tin.

Step 6

Roll the pastry onto a floured surface, reserving a small chunk to make pastry stars later.

Step 7

Cut 9 discs of pastry and line muffin tin. Cut 9 pastry stars from remaining pastry.

Step 8

Blind bake for 8 minutes. You can use baking beans or protect your pastry with greaseproof paper and use clean, spare coins.

Step 9

Meanwhile, remove and discard the cloves and vanilla pod from the pear mixture and stir in toasted pine nuts.

Step 10

Fill the tarts and add a pastry star to each, brushing with a little cold milk to help browning in the oven.

Step 11

Bake for 10-14 minutes, checking to see how they brown.

Step 12

Remove from oven and to sit for a few minutes before turning out on a rack to cool.

Step 13

Drizzle with the melted chocolate.

Step 14

Serve plain, or with brandy cream (and don’t forget to dip any other fruit to hand in the spare melted chocolate).

Visit Macknade.com

Christmas Apricot & Carrot Cake: Bonne Maman

This is a festive spin on a classic recipe and a delicious alternative to the traditional Christmas fruit cake. It’s spiced with fresh ginger and layered with creamy frosting and Bonne Maman apricot conserve. This cake will keep in the fridge for up to one week or freeze for up to three months. 

Yield

Makes 10-12 slices

Total Time

1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the cake:
200g of dark brown sugar
50g Bonne Maman Apricot Conserve
3 large eggs
225ml of sunflower oil
80g of desiccated coconut
250g of carrot, coarsely grated
1 tbsp of fresh ginger, finely grated, or 1 tsp of ground ginger
200g of self-raising wholemeal flour
1 ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp of mixed spice
Zest of 1 large orange
For the frosting and filling:
250g of mascarpone cheese
300ml of extra thick double cream
180g of light soft cheese
2 tbsp of icing sugar
150g of Bonne Maman Apricot Conserve

Method

Step 1

To make the cake, heat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/Gas mark 3. Line a 20cm round, 10cm deep cake tin with baking parchment.

Step 2

With an electric whisk, beat together the sugar and conserve with the eggs and oil for 3-4 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in all the remaining ingredients until evenly mixed and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for about 1 ½ hours or until golden brown and firm to the touch. A skewer pushed into the centre should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning out.

Step 4

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Put the mascarpone in a bowl and gradually beat in the cream with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth. Now beat in the soft cheese and icing sugar. Chill the mixture for 15 minutes.

Step 5

Cut the cold cake into three layers. Set aside the top of the cake and spread the bottom and middle layer generously with the apricot conserve. Lightly dollop about a third of the frosting onto the conserve and spread evenly. Layer up the cake again and lightly cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Some of the cake should show through. Decorate as you like.
Panettone & Cognac Bread & Butter Pudding: Dominic Taylor

Yield

Serves 6-8

Total Time

1 Hour 45 Minutes

Ingredients

25g of soft unsalted butter
8 thin slices of panettone
2 tsp of mixed spice
350ml of whole milk
50ml of double cream
2 eggs
50ml of cognac
30g of white sugar (keep 5g separate for dusting on top)
Nutmeg to taste, freshly grated

Method

Step 1

Butter each slice of panettone on each side and cut into triangles. Layer the panettone in a greased ovenproof dish, sprinkling with mixed spice and some grated nutmeg in each later until you have used all the panettone. Leave to one side.

Step 2

Warm the milk and cream in a sauce pan on a low heat until almost at boiling point.

Step 3

In a mixing bowl break the eggs, 25g of the sugar and whisk until the mixture becomes pale. Then add the warm milk and cognac and whisk to combine.

Step 4

Once well mixed, strain the mixture and pour over the buttered panettone. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and some more grated nutmeg and leave to stand for about 45 minutes to allow the custard to soak into the panettone.

Step 5

Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and the custard has set.

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