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Two addictively yummy sweet recipes for your Christmas Table.

Recipe 1: Nigella Lawson’s No Bake Cheesecake.

I recommend this, as I have successfully made this several times. It is so easy! Taste delicous, certain to leave your guests wanting more – Truly Scrumptious

However, Nigella advocates not be tempted to open a jar of cherry pie filling over the cake. (It bleeds into the frosting and doesn’t look very appealing). Instead, Nigella uses a jar St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit Black Cherry Spread which has no added sugar, or look for a quality “conserve” as opposed to “jam”. Personally I prefer fresh fruit – berries are lovely. You can dress this cheesecake up for Christmas, use your festive imagination!

Ingredients

  • 125g digestive biscuits
  • 75g soft butter
  • 300g cream cheese
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 x 284g jar St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit Black Cherry Spread or topping of your choice, be creative make it festive.

Method

Serves: 6-8

  1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump. This can also be done by hand. Put the biscuites in a ziploc bag and bash with a rolling pin – very theraputic!. Melt the butter in the microwave – be careful not to burn the butter.
  2. Press this mixture into a 20cm springform tin; press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Lightly whip the double cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, unmould it and spread the black cherry over the top.

http://www.nigella.com/recipes

UK/USA Conversion equivalents:

Double Cream = Heavy Cream

Icing Sugar = Confectioner’s Sugar

Digestive Biscuites = Graham Crackers (substitute)

Recipe 2: Mince Pies

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without Mince Pies. Why? Take a look at this easy Christmas Mince Pie Recipe full of rich, sticky, sweet fruits wrapped in pastry. Delicious.

Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since as long ago as the 16th century. Then they were made of meat but are now made with sweet mincemeat; a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices and brandy

Mary Berry’s recipe for home made mince meat (filling)

Makes 4 x 375g Jars

Ingredients

Makes 4 x 370g jars

  • 175g currants
  • 175g raisins
  • 175g sultanas
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (substitute = Granny Smiths)
  • 125g butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • finely grated rind and juice
  • of 1 lemon
  • 200ml  brandy, rum or sherry
  1. Measure all of the ingredients except the alcohol into a large pan. Heat gently,allowing the butter to melt, then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  2. Allow the  mixture to cool completely then stir in the brandy, rum or sherry.
  3. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jam jars, seal tightly, label and store in a cool place.

PREPARING AHEAD Make the mincemeat up to six months ahead and store in a cool place. It’s not necessary to freeze mincemeat as it stores so well.

TIP Use clean sterilised screw-top jars saved from bought marmalade or jam. No waxed paper or cling film required.

Pastry cases

Shortcrust pastry is my preferred mince pie case, some like puff pastry, you choose. Of course you could cheat and buy the cases ready-made!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz/200g all purpose/plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g butter
  • 50g Lard
  • 30ml approx of cold water
  • 25g sugar (for sweet pastry)
  • 1 jar of mincemeat, shop bought or home made see recipe above
  • Icing sugar for dusting:

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F/205°C/Gas 6
Method

  • Mix flour and salt together, then rub in the butter and lard with your fingertips until you have what resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Using a knife to cut and stir, mix in the cold water to form a stiff paste.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured board and roll out with a rolling pin.
  • Roll out evenly.
  • Chill the pastry before use in the refridgerator for a minimum of 15 minutes.

The dough can also be made in a food processor.

Remember to make sure that: the pastry stays cool, do not over-handle the pastry. Roll out the pastry quickly always rolling away from you. Avoid stretching the pastry as this will cause the pastry to shrink when baking. Dont forget to dust the rolling pin with flour and the board or worksurface, to avoid the pastry sticking to the surface.

In to the oven

  • Choose a muffin or bun tin
  • Fill the pastry lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.

  • Use pastry cutters to cut out the mince pies, for the base and the tops, unless you wish to lattice the tops or as shown above use a star shaped cutter.
  • Brush the tops with a little egg wash – this gives the pies a golden brown finsih
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 mins
  • Dust the tops with icing sugar.
  • Mince pies can be served hot or cold.
  • Serve with fresh whipped cream or brandy butter.
  • Alternatively, try eating with a strong mature cheese.

As the song goes ‘Sugar and Spice and everything nice…”

Credit and Thanks for the Recipes to: Nigella Lawson, Mary Berry, Be-ro Home Recipes & britishfood.about.com

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