Sick of cookies? The best recipes for traditional Christmas desserts
Which desserts are you planning to whip up for the Christmas dinner? 2020 has been the year of baking – we all went through a banana bread phase, a cookie phase, even possibly a mug cake phase. So the desserts section for the holiday meals should be something special.
What’s better than going authentic with traditional Christmas desserts? Isn’t that the very ethos of the holidays? Going back to our roots, honoring our traditions? Food tells us a lot about our traditions & culture. Traditional cuisine is passed down from one generation to the next.
Cooking traditional food, therefore, is also about the preservation of inheritance as much as it’s about having delicacies on the table for the feast. If you’re tired of baking simple cookies & want to go back to the roots, here are some traditional Christmas recipes to try for the most wonderful time of the year.
No British Christmas is complete without the quintessential Christmas pudding. The pudding has a lot of ingredients, so you might find yourself going on a grocery store hop, but the best part is that it can be made well in advance. So if you get panicky with last-minute cooking, pudding is the dessert for you. The longer it rests, the more its flavors develop.
The ingredients will include mixed dried fruit, candied fruit peel, apple, and citrus zests, along with brandy & spices for the deep flavor & color of the dense sponge. The recipe is simple: butter a pudding basin, then add our flavorful ingredients – dried fruits, candied peel, apple, and orange & lemon juices into a large mixing bowl, soak in brandy, cover with a tea towel & let it marinate overnight.
In another mixing bowl, stir the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, suet, sugar, lemon & orange zests, breadcrumbs, nuts. Transfer the marinated dried fruits from the small mixing bowl to this one & stir again. Add beaten eggs to the mix. Pour this all onto the greased pudding basin, cover with greaseproof baking parchment paper, and wrap a string around the basin.
Let it simmer for around 7 hours on a steamer, then let it cool, refresh the baking parchment, re-tie a string, and store in a cool, dry place until the Christmas feast. Remember, you cannot have it immediately. When serving it, feel free to top it off with festive sprinkles or the like.
Love cake? Love ice-cream? Then you’ll love Baked Alaska. You can choose to prepare it the way you want to serve, either as a large cake or small pieces of dessert. Going all out with a meringue torch is also on the table.
On one hand, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. On the other side, get a layer of sponge cake. Cut the cake in the shape of an ice-cream brick, only make it bigger. It’s very important for the cake to be about half an inch longer on each side. Place it onto the baking tray. Get the jam out, warm it up, and brush it over the cake. On top of it, place the ice-cream brick. So far, so good.
Now place the whole arrangement in the freezer for at least half an hour. Make sure the structure is firm by that time. In the meantime, prep for the meringue: beat eggs until you get a foamy, lathery element. Once it’s foamy, start adding sugar & continue to beat it until the meringue gets stiffer & starts giving you an identifiable design.
Take out the sponge cake from the freezer & spread the meringue all over the ice cream as well as the cake. This is where it can get tricky. Make sure you seal the cake and ice cream completely. Not even a little bit of either should be exposed. As a ballpark figure, the meringue should be about half an inch in thickness around the cake on all sides. Finally, bake until the meringue is light brown.
Word of caution: the meringue should be properly baked because consumption of raw or uncooked eggs comes with its own set of problems. Place Baked Alaska on the table to see the family drooling over it.