Christmas is not Christmas if there is no pudding. The Christmas pudding is filled with load of sultana, raisins and glazed cherries soaked in grand mariner overnight. The following day I beat the butter and brown sugar until it becomes creamy, than add the eggs and flour, bread crumbs and chopped almonds. I placed the mixture in a lined tin and steamed it in the oven for an hour.
Once it had cooled down I I made a caramel sauce which is made by placing brown sugar and butter in a saucepan and once it is melted I added masala.
My second gingerbread center piece is a reindeer on on a sledge flying through the sky. Everything is edible, the bottom is a square gingerbread covered with a simple icing glaze, icing sugar and water. The reindeer and gingerbread biscuit is coved with royal icing. The snowflakes is made with fondant and I dusted it with icing sugar.
Every year I look forward to buying delicious Christmas fruit mince tarts. This year I decided to make my own tarts. It’s simple to do and the tart tasted better, crumbly and melts in your mouth, than the store bought one, mine had less sugar.
To make the tart I made sweet pastry which consists of flour, butter, egg and sugar. I rolled out the pastry to a thin layer and set it in the fridge to firm. Greased a small tart pan and used the cutters to make the shapes. Placed a spoonful of the fruit mince. One it was done I cut out decorative shapes and placed it on top of the fruit mince. I placed it back in the fridge and after 30 minutes baked it for 20 minutes,
Lesson I learnt
Made sure the butter is cold, you need a sand like mixture when mixing the butter and flour,
Put mixture back in the fridge when pastry is too soft
This was my first attempt doing a meringue/macaroon tower. It’s not perfect but I am glad I gave it a try and look forward to trying it again. . The meringue came out well on my second attempt. My first batch burnt because I left the oven too high. It has to be in a low oven and once you remove put the oven off, you should leave the meringue in the oven for an extra two hours.
The macaroons came out well, no crack. Once I made the meringue I let it set for an hour. and I used the French meringue recipe to do the macarons. I sandwiched the macarons with white chocolate ganache. Chocolate ganache is made by boiling thick cream and pouring it over white chocolate.
I bought the cone and covered it with fondant, placed toothpicks and stuck the meringue amd macarons onto the cone.
The lessons I learnt:
Make extra meringue and macarons
Make different sizes of macaroons and meringue
Avoid over beating the egg whites or it will become runny
Add color towards the end and use a whisk to mix
The oven should not be too hot for the meringue or it will burn and the macaron will crack.
Let the macarons rest for 30-60 minutes. the longer the better. before baking it
Make sure the consistency for the merigue and macarons are not to runny or they will not hold their shapes
Make sure the chocolate ganache is fully set before pipping on to macaron shells
Always work in a cooler kitchen or merigue and ganache will melt
Make sure there are nu lumps in the chocolate ganache
The gingerbread wreath makes a beautiful center piece on the dinning table and it has a delicious ginger taste. It has two component, I made the base of the wreath first, I used a 20 cm ring to cu out the outer shape and a 12 cm ring for the middle shape. I used different star shapes cutters to make the different shapes. Once I was done I made royal icing and decorated the cookies. Once the royal icing had set, I placed a dollop of royal icing on the ring and stuck the stars. Dusted the wreath with icing sugar.
Points to consider
Icing sugar dries very fast, place a cling wrap on the icing sugar or cover it so it does not dry out.
I attempted to make a Yule log this year for Christmas. It is a simple and easy Christmas threat that take a few hours to do. To make my yule cake I baked two Genoese sponge sheets, which consisted of eggs, flour, sugar and cornflower, once they were ready and cooled I made chocolate ganache, which is made by boiling thick cream and pouring over the chocolate. I spread the cholate ganache on the the two sheets and rolled them like a swiss roll. Placed it in the fridge to sheet overnight, (You can let it set for two -four hours). Once it was set I cut one of the rolls diagonally to make three small branches. Iced the longer log with ganache and attached two of the three pieces of the branches on to the longer log and spread more ganache. Placed it in the fridge again to set. Melted dark chocolate and I used my spatula to spread it evenly on a flat board. I let the cholate harden and broke the pieces to make small backs. Trimmed the ends of the cakes and placed the cholate pieces on the cake and placed it in the fridge to set. Dusted icing sugar before serving it.
Points to consider:
Do not overbake genoise sponge because it will become dry and hard to roll
Make sure the sponge is not too thick or it will crack when you roll
Place a bit of sugar on a non stick paper so the cake will not stick
Do not melt chocolate on a hot flame it will burn
Make sure all the chicalote is melted and no lumps
The consistency of the ganache should be smooth and spreadable should not be too watery or hard
Make sure the chocolate shades are thin and easy to break and not to thick and hard to snap