Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Desserts - Cookery Course

Ahhhh desserts, the crowning end to a lovely dinner. Most people – and most chefs when it comes to that – are afraid or not comfortable to make desserts. You don’t have to be a pastry chef to make some lovely desserts but you need to keep some rules in mind:

  • Stick to the recipe
  • Don’t make a huge dessert – your guests have already eaten a few courses before the dessert
  • Ask your guest if they prefer dessert over cheese (especially men might prefer a cheese plate instead)
  • Don’t make it sickly sweet (unless it is sticky toffee pudding)

Most desserts are easy to prepare in advance. Since we are so close to Christmas, I am showing you a lovely Christmas Pudding which doesn’t need to mature but can be eaten straight away. It is light and can be made in small portions. You can still serve brandy butter with it or a simple custard.

The pear tarts are so easy to prepare, it is almost embarrassing to admit how easy. They poach in a lovely vanilla syrup which is also the base for the sauce. The pears can be poached in advance but the rest can be done quickly if the stuffing is made beforehand as well. It looks pretty and is light enough so that your guest can still move.

The last dessert I am showing you tonight is very simple and a great standby for un-expected guests. It is simply warmed mince meat with vanilla ice cream. The hot and cold combination works well just make sure the mincemeat is outstanding. I am serving here my own homemade mincemeat but there are lovely versions in shops these days.

Last minute Christmas puddings

Christmas Pudding - The Yummy One
·         600g dried fruit (mixture up to you)
·         1 apple
·         225g brown sugar
·         225g Unsalted butter
·         150ml orange liquor
·         55g plain flour
·         1/2 tsp bread soda
·         3 eggs
·         170g fresh breadcrumbs
·         1/2 bottle stout
·         1/2 orange, juice & zest
·         1/4 tsp each of mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg (if you have, add also ground cloves)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease individual small pudding forms and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add the breadcrumbs and flour, alternating with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients, spices and orange zest. Dissolve the soda in the stout and stir into the mixture.

Add the fruit, orange juice and liquor. The mixture will look very wet but that is ok. Fill the  prepared pudding forms with the mixture. Cover each one tightly with foil.

Place the puddings in a deep roasting tray and carefully fill it with boiling water until it comes half way up the sides of the puddings. Bake in the oven for about an hour.

You can also make one large pudding - baking time will be 2.5 hrs.

Vanilla pears tarts

Pear Tart with Walnut Filling

·         3 large firm pears
·         450 ml water
·         1 vanilla pod
·         1 bay leaf
·         50g sugar
·         350g puff pastry
·         75g double cream
·         15g butter
·         1 tbsp brown sugar
·         25g walnuts, chopped
·         1 egg, beaten
·         15g Caster sugar

Peel the pears, cut in half and scoop out the cores - being careful not to go through the pear.

Put the water in a saucepan, big enough to hold the pears. Add the vanilla pod, bay leaf and sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears, make sure that the pears are covered, adding more water if needed. Cover the saucepan and cook on a low heat until just tender. Remove the pears and set aside, keeping the cooking liquid.

Roll out the pastry and cut out six shapes similar to the pear, slightly bigger than the pears. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pastry shapes on it. Place in the fridge to chill for about 20-30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and walnuts. Spoon this mixture into each cavity of the pears. Egg wash the pastry shapes and set a pear half, upside down, onto each centre. Sprinkle the tarts with the caster sugar and bake for about 10-14 mins until the puff pastry has puffed up around the pear and is nicely browned.

While baking the tarts, remove the bay leaf and vanilla pod. Bring back to the boil and simmer until reduce by half. Remove from heat and add the cream, stir will to combine.

Remove the pastries from the oven when done, place on individual plates and pour over the vanilla sauce or serve the sauce in a jug along.

No comments:

Post a Comment