12 BAKES OFJOHN WHAITE
DOUGHNUTTIRAMISU STACKServes a crowdChristmas is the perfect excuse for complete culinary laziness. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed ofusing shop-bought anything during the manic festive season. This impressive yuletide showstopper is reallythe work of minutes, but will wow your Christmas party crowd no end.Ingredients2 large egg yolks125g sweetenedcondensed milk3tbsp Kahlua coffee liqueur,plus extra for drizzling1-2tsp instant espressopowder, to taste500g mascarponecream cheeseAbout 60 mini doughnutsIngredients for theChocolate Sauce100g double cream100g dark chocolateGold edible glitter(optional, but Icertainly can’t resist)MethodFor the mascarpone cream whisk the egg yolks and condensed milk together(preferably in a freestanding mixer with whisk attachment, though a handheldmixer will work) until pale. Add the Kahlua and espresso powder and whisk in,before adding the mascarpone. Whisk until the mixture is pale though holdsits shape, albeit reluctantly – about a minute or two.For the chocolate sauce, simply place the cream and chocolate into a heatproofbowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water – the bowl mustn’t touchthe water. Stirring with a spatula, bring together into a smooth, glossy saucethen remove from the heat.To assemble, take a plate or cake stand of approximately 20cm in diameter.Arrange some of the doughnuts in concentric circles until the surface of theplate/cake stand is covered. Drizzle over a festively generous sloshing of coffeeliqueur to dampen the Doughnuts. Dollop on a little of the mascarpone cream,then repeat using fewer doughnuts per tier to create a conical mound.To finish, pour the chocolate sauce over the top of the mouth-wateringmountain, and sprinkle over the gold glitter with glorious gay abandon.
FIG, STILTON &PEAR FILO TARTServes 10I could eat this tart all year round, but there is something fairly festive about these ingredients. I think it’sthe balance between those subtly sweet figs, with the refreshing pear against that tangy Stilton cheese whichmakes my heart - and stomach - burst into a yuletide melody.I like the filo pastry here because it is lightly crisp around the edges, but yielding to the filling. This reallyis best made the day before eating, so that the flavours can mingle overnight and the tart can set.Ingredients6 sheets filo pastry60g unsalted butter, melted4 rashers pancetta/streakybacon, finely chopped150g Stilton cheese300ml single cream3 large eggs50g fresh parmesancheese, gratedSmall pinch salt1/2tsp cracked black pepper1/4tsp ground nutmeg4 figs, halved½ conference pear, peeledand sliced into 8 thin slicesOil for fryingMethodPlace the filo pastry onto the countertop – unwrap if rolled – and paint eachsheet with melted butter, stacking the leaves of pastry on top of each other.Use this multi-layered filo sheet to line the tin, though don’t be too pedantic;the more rustic this looks the better.Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the pancetta/bacon until it is crispy.Allow to cool, then scatter into the tart shell and crumble in the Stilton cheese.In a jug, beat together the cream, eggs, Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg,and then pour it all over the bacon and cheese. Arrange the fig halves and thepear slices randomly.Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is swollen, and wobblesslightly when moved. Allow to cool completely then chill in the fridge forat least 2 hours before serving.Essential Equipment35 x 12cm/14 x 4.5-inchtarte maison tin – the AlanSilverwood range is fabulous
PEAR CRISPBROWNIESMakes 8With their intense chocolate flavour and rich gooeyness, brownies are the perfect treat at Christmastime. Especiallywhen topped with a lightly spiced ganache, and a crisp slice of pear. I always think it’s important to chill thebrownies in the fridge before slicing, this just helps to achieve neat slices. If you want incredibly perfect slices, thendip the knife in a jug of hot water in between each cut - that gives sharp, almost professional edges.Ingredients forthe Pear Crisps100g caster sugar100ml water3 Star anise flowers1 conference pear, unpeeledIngredients forthe Brownies200g dark chocolate200g salted butter, cubed3 medium eggs265g caster sugar150g plain flour100g dark chocolate chips100g milk chocolate chipsIngredients forthe Spiced Ganache150ml double cream2 star anise flowers100g dark chocolate100g milk chocolateIcing sugar, to dustEssential Equipment20cm square cake tin,greased and linedPiping bag fitted withlarge star nozzleMethodPreheat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas mark ½. Boil together the sugar, waterand anise flowers in a medium saucepan for a minute, then reduce to a meresteam. Slice the pear as finely as possible – I use a mandolin – then poach inthe steaming syrup for just a minute. Arrange onto the wire oven shelves,and dry out for 2 hours. Set onto a wire rack to cool and crisp further.Increase the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.For the brownie batter place the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl setover a pan of barely simmering water. Stirring constantly, melt together until verysmooth and shiny. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then add the eggsand beat in until smooth. Beat in the sugar until it is more or less dissolved. Siftover the flour and fold in with the chocolate chips.Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes. When ready, thebrownie should be a cracked, paler brown on top, and dark brown, dense andgooey underneath. Allow to cool until completely cold, then chill in the fridgebefore cutting.For the ganache, bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan with the anise flowersthen turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the anise. Putthe cream and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmeringwater. Stir together until you have a smooth glossy ganache. Remove from theheat and allow to cool to the thickness of nutella.Slice the brownie into 8 equal pieces. Fill the ganache into the piping bag and pipea generous swirl of ganache on top of each brownie. Top each with a pear crispand finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
GINGERBREADLATTE CAKEServes 12Whilst my Christmas revolves, primarily, around my family and food, I can’t help but let out a little squeal ofexcitement when I see the coffee shops doing their festive ranges.One of my favourite Christmas coffees is the Gingerbread Latte, and so I just had to put those flavours into acelebratory cake. The cake is gently warming, and the frosting is perfectly sweet and spiked with a subtle coffee hit.Ingredients for the Cake250g unsalted butter,softened at room temperature225g dark muscovado sugar120g golden syrup50g black treacle6 large eggs340g plain flour1tsp baking powder1tsp bicarb2tsp ground ginger1tsp ground cinnamon1/2tsp ground nutmegIngredients forthe Frosting60g unsalted butter,softened at room temperature200g sweetenedcondensed milk2tsp instant espresso powder500g mascarponecream cheeseIcing sugar to dustEssential Equipment3 x 20cm sandwich tins,greased with the bases linedA long, sharp serrated knifeMethodPreheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Beat the butter andmuscovado sugar until smooth and fluffy – ensure you beat all the lumpsout of the sugar. Beat in the golden syrup, treacle and eggs until reasonablysmooth, then sift over the flour, baking powder, bicarb and spices, and foldin to a smooth batter.Divide the batter between the cake tins as evenly as possible and bake for20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in their tins, then invert onto a wirerack to finish cooling.For the frosting, whisk together the butter and condensed milk until fairlyfluffy – about 2 minutes. Add the espresso powder and whisk in, beforewhisking in the mascarpone until you have a very smooth, fairly thick frosting.Once the cakes have cooled, very carefully slice each cake in half so that youhave 6 thin slices of cake. The best way is to place a cake onto the counter,one hand flat on top of it. With a long and sharp serrated knife, slice a markall the way around the edge of the cake as evenly as possible. Use that scoremark to guide your knife all the way through the cake, sawing very gentlybut confidently.Set one layer of cake to one side for the crumb finish. Take the other five layersand start to assemble. Place one cake onto a plate or cake stand, spread it withfrosting and repeat until you have five slices of cake sandwiched together. Chillfor 10 minutes and then spread the remaining icing around the entire cake asneatly as possible. I find a small offset/crank palette knife works wonders.For the crumb finish, crumble the reserved layer of cake into small crumbsand gently press these, with a slightly cupped hand, around the cake. If anyfrosting peaks through, just cover it with crumbs. Finish with a generoussnowfall of icing sugar.
PEANUT BUTTERMARBLE TARTServes 12As though we should ever need an excuse to indulge, but Christmas truly is a time of unashamed indulgence.This tart is the epitome of indulgence and is perfect for a ‘drinks and nibbles’ party (a fatty night as my friendsand I call them).If you’re really well organised, and can resist the undying temptation to scoff, this tart will freeze beautifullyif well wrapped in cling. Just defrost overnight in the fridge and get ready to be fulfilled.Ingredients for the Base400g bourbon biscuits75g smooth sweet peanutbutter (Sunpat is best)Ingredients for theChocolate Filling250g milk chocolate, chopped250g dark chocolate, chopped500ml double cream100g smooth sweet peanutbutter (Sunpat is best)Ingredients for thePeanut Butter Marble50g smooth sweet peanutbutter (Sunpat is best)25g white chocolate, chopped25g double creamMethodFor the biscuit base, place the bourbon biscuits into a food processor fittedwith blade along with the peanut butter. Blitz to form a fine, damp sandconsistency. Tip into the prepared flan tin, and press it tightly onto thebase and up the sides, until it evenly lines the entire tin. Chill in the fridgeuntil needed.For the chocolate filling place the chocolates, cream and peanut butterinto a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water.Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, allow the ingredients to melttogether into a smooth and glossy ganache.For the peanut butter marble mixture, put the peanut butter, white chocolateand double cream into a small bowl and set over a pan of hot water. Stirringconstantly mix the ingredients together until they form a smooth paste.To assemble, pour the ganache into the biscuit tart shell. Dollop the peanutbutter paste mixture here and there, then with the end of a teaspoon dragand swirl the peanut butter and chocolate together, though don’t take ittoo far; once you have a marble pattern, stop. Set in the fridge overnightbefore serving.Essential Equipment23-25cm loose bottomed flantin, greased with the base lined
VIENNESE WHIRLMINCE PIESMakes 12Mince pies are quite simply a must at Christmas. And don’t worry, I’ll let you use shop bought mincemeat. In fact,the cheapest, sweetest mincemeat is best here to balance with the crisp pastry and the buttery biscuit top, which justdisappears in the mouth like a snowflake on the tongue.Ingredients forthe Pastry200g plain flour1tsp mixed spice100g unsalted butter, cubed1 large egg(Or use 300g shop-boughtShortcrust)Ingredients for theFilling and Topping12tsp mincemeat (about 170g)150g unsalted butter150g plain flour70g icing sugar,plus extra to dustEssential Equipment12-hole bun tray, greasedPiping bag fitted with largestar nozzleMethodFor the pastry, toss together the flour and mixed spice then rub through thebutter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the egg then add thatand cut it in using a dough scraper or butter knife - if a little dry, add coldwater a drop at a time. Once the pastry comes together, flatten into a diskwrapped in cling, and chill for at least 30 minutes.For the Viennese whirl topping, beat the butter until it is very soft indeed.Add the flour and icing sugar and beat until you have a very smooth paste –like a thick buttercream. This is best done in a KitchenAid fitted with paddleattachment, though can be done with a handheld electric whisk.Once chilled, roll out the pastry as thin as you dare on a floured surface, anduse to line the bun tray holes – use a cookie cutter to ensure perfect disks. Filleach pastry case with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Load the piping bag with theViennese paste, and pipe a neat spiral on top of each mince pie – don’t worryif the spiral doesn’t totally cover the mincemeat, as it will spread in the oven.Place into the fridge for 30 minutes to harden. Preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/gas mark 6.Once the mince pies have chilled, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the biscuittops are just starting to turn a light golden brown. Cool in the bun tray, thenremove and dust with icing sugar.
MINCEMEAT& MARZIPANCINNAMON BUNSMakes 12At Christmas, every single meal should count. I’m never one to skip breakfast, but sometimes it’s a meagre offering,or a quick fridge raid. During the festive period though, I wake up knowing that I have the time to make somethingindulgent and worthwhile. These buns are perfect with the strongest of coffees, and will keep in an airtightcontainer for a few days.Ingredients for the Bread500g strong white flour,plus extra for dusting5g salt10g caster sugar7g fast-action yeast150ml tepid water120ml milk1 large egg40g unsalted butter,at room temperatureFlavourless oil, for greasingIngredients for theFilling and Icing350g luxury mincemeat150g marzipan,cut into 5mm cubes1tsp ground cinnamon100g icing sugar1-2tsp orange juiceMethodTo make the dough, place the flour in a bowl and stir in the salt and sugar.Add the yeast and stir it through the flour. Add the water, milk and egg andmix well with a wooden spoon or your hands until you have a scraggy dough.Squeeze in the softened butter, then knead until the mixture is smooth andelastic – about 10 minutes. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover withcling and allow to rise until doubled in size – usually an hour but could bemore if your kitchen is cool.Once the dough has risen, flour the worktop and roll the dough out into asquare of about 45cm/18-inch. Spread the mincemeat all over the dough, thenscatter on the marzipan cubes, before dusting over the cinnamon. Roll up intoa tight spiral. Trim off the messy ends, then cut the roll into 12 equal-ish slices.Place these, spiral sides up, into the greased muffin tray. Allow to rise foranother 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 8. Bake the buns for 15 minutes,or until risen and golden. Remove from the tin immediately and place onto awire rack to cool.For the topping, simply mix together the icing sugar and orange juice toa thick, but pourable icing. Ice the cool buns before serving.Essential Equipment12 hole deep muffin tray,very well greased
WAFFLE & WHISKYPUDDINGServes 8This even more indulgent version of a bread and butter pudding is simply divine. The flavour is mildly sweetfrom the syrup and white chocolate, whilst delivering a certain wintery warmth from the whisky and ginger.I think my favourite thing about it, apart from its taste of course, is how it looks like an abstract mountain range,with each peak gently dusted in an icing sugar snow.Ingredients12 (approx.)rectangular waffles60g white chocolate chips40g stem gingerfrom a jar, chopped300ml double cream300ml whole milkZest of 2 oranges150g golden syrup3 large eggs60ml whisky1tbsp caster sugarIcing sugar to dustMethodSlice the waffles in half diagonally and arrange them in the tray. I arrangethem two slices side by side, overlapping slightly, with the right anglespointing upwards. In between each layer of waffle sprinkle a few chocolatechips and pieces of ginger.For the custard, place the cream, milk, orange zest and golden syrup intoa saucepan and heat on medium until the mixture beings to simmer.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a heatproof bowl then slowly pour the creammixture over the eggs, whilst whisking to avoid scrambling the eggs. Oncewell mixed, stir in the whisky then pour over the waffles. Allow to soak fora good 2 hours in the fridge.Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6, and remove the soakedwaffles from the fridge. Once the oven is hot, sprinkle the caster sugar overthe pudding, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and slightlywobbly. Allow to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.Essential EquipmentMedium roasting tray,well greased
CARAMELISEDPOPCORN YULE LOGServes 12In our house, the chocolate Yule log was always my sister’s duty. I would sit at the kitchen table, seething with jealousy asshe scraped a fork back and forth to create wood like ridges in the chocolate frosting. My version of this tightly spiralledcake is gloriously rich, so a little goes a long way, though the buttermilk ganache gives a touch of sourness to cut throughit all. You may be surprised at just how much the popcorn flavour comes through.Ingredientsfor the Sponge5 large eggs135g caster sugar115g plain flour20g cocoa powderIcing sugar to dustIngredientsfor the Filling125g caster sugar100g toffee popcorn,plus extra for decoration2 x 227g tubs of clotted creamIngredients for theButtermilk Ganache100g dark chocolate, chopped100g milk chocolate, chopped150ml buttermilk25g unsalted butter, softenedEssential Equipment25x35cm/10x14-inch bakingtray, greased and lined withbaking paperClean damp tea towelMethodPreheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas mark 7. Whisk together the eggs and sugaruntil the mixture triples in volume and you achieve the ribbon stage – when you liftthe whisk from the mixture and draw a figure of eight with the falling mixture, itshould sit proudly on the surface for about 3 seconds before sinking away.Sift over the flour and cocoa powder and fold in making sure the mixture is smooth,though try not to deflate those bubbles too much. Spread into the prepared tin,smooth over the top, and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the sponge springs backwhen gently touched.Whilst the sponge is baking place a clean, damp tea towel onto the worktop, andcover that with a sheet of baking paper dusted liberally with icing sugar. Once thesponge is baked, invert immediately onto the baking paper, then wrap into a verytight spiral inside the baking paper and tea towel. Allow to cool completely.For the filling, heat the sugar in a dry saucepan over a medium/high flame. Thesugar will start to melt and cook. Stirring, allow the sugar to dissolve completelyand turn into a caramel, then add the popcorn and stir to coat each piece. Pouronto a heatproof mat or tray and allow to cool. Once set, blitz to a fine sand ina food processor, add the clotted cream, and blitz again into a gritty, popcorn paste.When the cake has cooled, unroll and spread with the filling, then wrap tightly up.Make the frosting by heating the chocolates and buttermilk in a heatproof bowl overa pan of barezly simmering water. Stirring, allow the mixture to turn into a smoothglossy ganache, then remove from the heat and beat in the butter. Allow to cool,then use that to spread over the log. Slice off each end to neaten, and top with somechopped popcorn.
ARABIAN NIGHTSPAVLOVAServes 10-12Pavlova seems an obvious choice at Christmas, not least because of its bleak, snowy whiteness and post-roastlightness. But this, I like to believe, has a more profound Christmas symbolism: it is an ode to the three wise men.Though really there needs to be no excuse for making it.Ingredientsfor the Meringue6 large egg whites340g caster sugar1tsp cornflour1tsp white wine vinegarIngredientsfor the Topping600ml double cream4 fresh figs, quarteredKernels from 1 pomegranate50g dried apricots,finely chopped75g pistachio kernels1 persimon, finely sliced½ tsp rose water1tbsp pomegranate molassesIcing sugar to dustEssential EquipmentLarge baking sheet,lined with greaseproof/baking paperMethodPreheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3.Whisk the egg whites to medium peaks, then slowly add the sugar in a steadystream whilst whisking constantly. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved andyou have a very glossy meringue. Add the corflour and vinegar, folding ingently.Take a fingerful of meringue and dot a little bit onto each corner of thebaking paper, then place that down onto the baking sheet to make sure itsticks. Dollop the meringue into the centre of the baking sheet then smoothit into a thick disk of about 23cm in diameter – I use a small crank handlepalette knife, but a large flat spoon would work. Place the meringue into theoven, turn the oven down to 140C/120C fan/gas mark 1, and bake for 1 hour30 minutes, then turn the oven off but leave the meringue inside to coolcompletely, preferably overnight.Once cooled, invert the meringue onto a cake stand or plate. For the topping,whisk the cream to soft, floppy peaks and dollop it on top of the meringue.Scatter over the figs, pomegranate kernels, chopped apricots, pistachios andpersimon slices. Dribble the rosewater and drizzle the pomegranate molassesover the fruits, before finishing with a snowfall of icing sugar.Tip: the meringue can be made up to a month beforehand, if stored in anairtight container in the freezer. Though don’t top until an hour beforeserving, to avoid a soggy mess.
DOUBLE CHOC &GINGER BISCOTTIMakes 28Whether these are intended as a gift to another, or a treat for yourself, no Christmas coffee should be withouta biscotti to dunk. These aren’t incredibly sweet, but the chocolate flavour is fulfilling and the warmth from theginger is comforting.Ingredients230g plain flour20g cocoa powder150g caster sugar125g milk chocolate chips(or a mixture of milk and white)2 large eggs2tbsp milk50g stem ginger from a jar,finely choppedEssential EquipmentLarge baking sheet,lightly greasedMethodPreheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. In a mixing bowl, tosstogether the flour, cocoa powder and sugar until evenly dispersed, thenstir through the chocolate chips.In a small cup, beat together the eggs and milk, and add the chopped stemginger. Pour this into the dry ingredients and bring together, with your hands,into a fairly smooth dough. This takes a little bit of kneading and force, but itwill come together.Roll the dough into a fat sausage about 28cm/11-inch long, place onto thebaking sheet and flatten down slightly. Bake for 25 minutes, then removefrom the oven and with a sharp serrated knife, gently but firmly slice thebiscotti into thin pieces about 1cm thick. Place these, flat onto the bakingsheet and bake for a further 15 minutes.Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
ULTIMATE SPICEDHOT CHOCOLATEServes 1Imagine a cold hand cupping a mug of hot chocolate to gain warmth and gratification, and you have theultimate image of cosiness. This hot chocolate is, without any shame of my big headedness, the best hotchocolate I’ve ever had. It’s a spicy, gently sweetened drink, topped with a fluffy meringue. If you’re a cautiouscreature, or serving this to kids or the elderly, please use pasteurised egg whites from a carton for the topping.Ingredients forthe Drink, per person400ml whole milk1 cinnamon stick2 cardamom pods, bruised1 star aniseZest of 1 tangerine/clementine1 clove25g dark brownmuscovado sugar50g 70% cocoa solid darkchocolate, chopped or gratedMethodPlace the milk into a saucepan along with the spices and warm very gently forabout 10 minutes, covered with a lid to avoid evaporation. You don’t want themilk to even simmer, just steam delicately. After infusing, fish out the spices– though reserve the cinnamon stick - then add the sugar and chocolate. Stiruntil the chocolate has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Decant into yourfavourite mug.For the topping, whisk the egg white to a stiff foam, then slowly add thesugar whilst whisking constantly. When you have a smooth, stiff and glossymeringue, pile it carelessly on top of the hot chocolate. Burnish the meringuewith a cook’s blow torch - if you have one - and pop the cinnamonstick into the merringue before sipping in complete festive bliss.Ingredients forthe Meringue Topping1 egg white50g caster sugar
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