However you celebrate Christmas, food will undoubtedly play a large part in the proceedings. Turkey, goose, duck… often the focus of the meal is the bird you cook and the trimmings you serve with it, but what you make for pudding deserves just as much attention. We thought it might be an idea to take a look at all the delicious sweet treats you can prepare for your guests to give you some inspiration while you’re putting your menu together. Our in-house chefs are happy to share one of their yummiest recipes with you to try out this festive season.
As much as we all love a rich, fruity pudding, sometimes a slightly lighter dessert works best after a large roast dinner. A meringue-based dish, such as a winter berry Pavlova, or a lemon meringue pie log will keep your menu feeling festive, but offer guests a lighter, tangy treat for afters.
You can’t go far wrong serving a chocolate dessert on Christmas Day. A dark chocolate torte, a milk chocolate mousse or even a Black Forest Gateaux will all prove to be real crowd pleasers. Each can also be prepared on Christmas Eve, giving you time to spare in between courses.
A traditional Christmas cake is a densely packed fruit sponge, often soaked with brandy or whisky. When served it’s covered in a thin layer of marzipan and then a generous coat of royal icing. Because the alcohol preserves the cake, it can be made weeks in advance and brushed with the liquor every couple of days. The long process of lovingly basting a Christmas cake is what makes it such a big part of many families’ Christmas season. Similarly, the Christmas pudding – also a fruity, boozy dessert – is made well in advance of Christmas Day and requires steaming for several hours before serving.
Layer upon layer of some of the best pudding ingredients around, what’s not to like? Trifle has become a staple dessert in many homes during the Christmas period and the great thing about this dish is it’s easy to customise for your friends and family. Got a lot of custard fans? Then make that layer extra thick. Serving it for children too? Simply swap the sherry for a fruit syrup. You can also choose which fruits, jams and jellies you use, depending on your guests.
Our kitchen’s Chocolate and Banana Strudel with Tonka Bean Ice-cream
Originally from Austria, the strudel has become a familiar dessert at Christmas time. Leftover Christmas pudding or mince pie filling is rolled up in delicious flaky pastry, giving it a second life – and everyone else a second pudding! In this recipe, the strudel is given a classic combination filling of chocolate and banana, and is served with a delicious, aromatic ice cream.
10 medium eggs
185g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
250g 65% dark chocolate
100g plain flour
35g cocoa powder
8 medium bananas
10 Snickers chocolate bars
8 spring roll wraps
2 egg yolks – for sealing strudels
For the ice cream
284ml double cream
300ml full fat milk
115g caster sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tonka bean, grated with a microplane
If you’re still stuck for ideas for what to serve your friends and family this Christmas, why not take a look at some of our Autumn/Winter menus, and see if any of our desserts inspire you! If you do end up making the banana and chocolate strudel, we’d love to hear how it went down with your guests!