When Jamie and Chuck make dessert recipes seemingly easy-to-follow, a spark of hope is all I need to make this holiday season a festive one! Tried, tested and rewarded with plausible results, here are a few of my favourite holiday ‘star’ treats courtesy of those in-the-know: Jamie Oliver’s “Winter Pudding Bombe” and “Delicious Chocolate Mousse,” and Chuck Hughes’ – Chuckmas – “Carrot Cake.”
Like most fine dessert recipes, the art of making triumphant sweet-endings for any occasion requires patience and precision. In the spirit of indulging guests, however, why not add more edible cheer to already scrumptious recipes? For the making of the ‘bombe’ of frozen desserts, my take incorporates the necessary Milanese sweet bread in addition to equal parts of holly and jolly – vanilla and pistachio ice creams. Gloriously fragrant on its own, use of ready-made quality panettone instantly adds light and buttery texture while layers of other ‘must-haves’ heighten this frozen dessert: sour cherries, pistachios, chocolate, raspberry preserve, Vin Santo and clementines. Clearly simple to make, if not easier to enjoy, this palatably vibrant dessert lives true to its versatility. Changing things up – ‘encore une fois’ – I replace the aforementioned glacé citrus with mandarins. It’s still merry and bright in flavour – I figure – so, why not?
“Choco-más?” Making for a decadent equalizer, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without more chocolate. Needless to say, serving rich chocolate mousse cups to any chocophile is a bona fide way to make it on the nice list. And thanks to Jamie, getting more of what ‘yule’ love is accomplished with heavenly spoonful’s of cocoa-induced semi-liquid velvet. Before getting started, be aware that a conversion chart may prove useful as Jamie’s measurements are outlined in grams. Eggs separated, chocolate shaved, sugar scooped and set aside, let the magic begin! Again, this seasonal miracle of a nearly all-chocolate treat allows for alternative ingredients. For a French twist, my spin on this creamy mousse omits the use of cherries or sesame snaps, and yields equal spike by replacing Amaretto with Grand Marnier – orange liqueur. Less additions, in this case, means more pure chocolate taste worth celebrating.
Last but not least, a banquet feast fit for a king would not be complete without the presentation of a substantial candied maple-walnut crowned carrot cake. Step-by-step, follow Chuck’s instructions and be amazed by the pro-in-you. End result: a moist pineapple, cranberry and raisin embedded, beta-carotene saturated layered cream-cheese frosted – almost – piece of cake. With a little elbow grease and a spirited mood, these three highlighted crowd-pleasers are sure to warm the first or twelfth day of Christmas with comfort and joy. This winter, then, happy holidays to all and to all good eats!
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