Now that we are only a few days out from Christmas it's time for Part 3 in my hand-made Christmas series, Cooking!
Image from makebakecelebrate.com
One of the absolute classic desserts that are always served at my family's Christmas's, and is a pretty iconic Australian dish and that is Pavlova. I have taken over the responsibility of making the pavlova at Christmas time, and while it can be a tricky thing to get the hang of cooking, its well worth the effort over the store bought ones, and I think I am getting pretty good at it. For something a little simpler, that will still add Christmas cheer to any table, why not make these adorable little Meringue Christmas tree's that have been all over pinterest lately? These adorable ones and their instructions can be found here.
2011's Gingerbread mansion
Another great Christmas Tradition the world over is Gingerbread, and for the adventurous bakers (or those who bought a kit) a Gingerbread house. For the past few years (excluding last year I think) I have made a Gingerbread house using this template which is based on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Paris! For longevity, I traced all the pieces onto cardboard. When cutting out each piece, it can get pretty fiddly, so I actually like to roll out my dough between 2 pieces of baking paper, then lay my template pieces over that and cut straight down through the paper and dough with a sharp knife. The paper helps keep everything in shape as you transfer it to baking trays (especially some of the long verandah pieces) Any firm Gingerbread Biscuit will do, my favourite is one from a free pamphlet from Coles from about 4 years ago. When making your gingerbread dough, you want a nice firm biscuit, so half the recommended bi-carb soda and make sure each piece is baked thoroughly. I didn't one year and my house collapsed. I told everyone a tornado hit it.
Another Traditional dish for my family is Trifle (seeing a recurring dessert theme here?) I am not certain if this is a big Christmas dish or even that big in Australia for that matter. We always have it, but my Husband thought it was weird. It's a dessert that seems to get mixed reactions, some people love it and some people hate it. There are many variations, but they are all based on the same sort of base ingredients. In our house it was traditionally sliced jam rollies for the first layer, sprinkled with couintreu (I think you're supposed to use sherry) then fruit salad for the second layer (just the regular canned type) third layer is custard (we make it so it has a thicker texture than store bought) then jelly and if there is enough room in the dish (We used to have a great deep flat sided trifle dish until I broke it last year, oops) another layer each of custard, fruit salad, custard and jelly, then topped with whipped cream and a crumbled chocolate flake.
Salted Caramel Fudge from Taste.com
For a super easy dessert, or you could even give some as a present like I did last year, microwave fudge never fails to impress. While I did post the recipes I used last Christmas, I'll post them here again anyway.
400g can of condensed milk (395g will do)
100g butter cubed
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g dark chocolate finely chopped
Line a 20cm pan with foil.
place condensed milk, butter, sugar and syrup in a 3L glass bowl (I use my trusty pyrex bowl from the op shop) cook uncovered in the microwave for 10-12 mins, stirring every 2 mins, until bubbles appear over the whole surface while cooking (honestly my old microwave needed 8-10 mins, but my new one cooked it in 5) Stir in the finely chopped chocolate until it is melted through, then pour into your tray, and refrigerate. When set, lift out the fudge with the foil and cut into small pieces. One time for valentines day, I even used cookie cutters to cut out fudge hearts.
Cookies and cream fudge:
395g tin of condensed milk
1 cup castor sugar
2 tbsp glucose syrup
200g white chocolate chopped
1/2 of a 150g pack of oreos chopped
Follow the same steps as for the chocolate fudge, but after the chocolate is stirred in and melted, add the chopped oreos and mix.
For Strawberry fudge, I used the cookies and cream recipe, but left out the oreos and added some strawberry flavouring and a few drops of pink food colouring
I am terribly behind in my gift making, and haven't had the time to make my family's traditional Christmas Crackers that I have been doing since my Grandma decided it was too much work for her, so I am a bit upset about that, but I am sure I will have a lovely Christmas anyway. I don't know if I will get any other posts up between now and Christmas so I just want to take this chance to wish all my readers a Wonderful Christmas, and thank you for reading my blog. I get warm fuzzies every time I see a new comment!