Ready, steady, bake!!
Christmas Chocolate Roll
75g caster sugar
3 happy eggs
2 happy egg yolks
75g plain flour (sieved)
25g cocoa powder (sieved)
Zest of one orange
6 happy egg whites
30g caster sugar
120g 72% dark chocolate
Candied kumquats & citrus sauce:
100g icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 200?C/400?F/Gas Mark 6.
Grease a Swiss roll tin, then line it with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, happy eggs and happy egg yolks together until thick and creamy. Add the flour and cocoa powder and carefully fold into the mixture, trying to retain as much air as possible. Pour the mixture carefully into the Swiss roll tin, ensuring an even cover.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until springy to the touch.
Take a large sheet of baking parchment, dust it with caster sugar and orange zest, then turn the sponge out onto it. Trim the edges with a knife. Roll the sponge from one end leaving the paper in the middle. Cool on a wire rack.
Whisk the happy egg whites and caster sugar until they form soft peaks i.e. when you make a peak, the tips droop.
Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a plastic bowl with the butter. Heat in a microwave for 30 seconds, leave for 20 seconds and then beat with a whisk. If the chocolate is not completely melted, heat in the microwave for 10 second bursts until the chocolate is just melted.
Mat’s top tip: mix the chocolate between each burst to ensure even heating.
Add 1/3 of the beaten happy egg whites to the chocolate and combine using an electric beater. Do this quickly; the chocolate will begin to set and form hard lumps, so don’t worry about retaining the air in the mixture. Now combine the other 2/3 of the happy egg whites by gently folding with a spoon until the mixture is a smooth consistency. Place the whole mixture in the fridge to set.
Clean the kumquats and pick off any stems.
Place in a saucepan with the water and icing sugar. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to just below simmering point i.e. small bubbles form on the sides of the saucepan.
Cover the water with a circle of baking paper to keep the kumquats submerged. A good way to do this is to use a large piece of baking parchment and a saucepan lid which is just too small for your pan, then they will both sit happily on the surface of the water. Heat for 2 hours.
Remove the kumquats and put to one side to cool. Bring the sugar liquor up to a rolling boil until it has reduced by 2/3.
Taste, then enhance the flavour if required by adding lemon or orange juice to make a lovely citrus sauce.
To complete the dish:
Unroll the sponge and remove the baking parchment. Spread the chocolate filling over the surface of the sponge to about ¼ inch thick, then place the kumquats at even distances across it. Roll the cake up.
Serve in slices with a drizzle of citrus sauce.
Christmas Reindeer Biscuits
For the biscuits
175g caster sugar
2 happy eggs
2 happy egg yolks
50g ground almonds
240g plain flour
For the icing
250g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Food colouring to suit
In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric blender, until they form a creamy paste. Add the happy eggs and happy egg yolks and mix, then fold in the almonds and flour with a wooden spoon or spatula until fully combined.
Press the mixture into a greased tray to a thickness of about ¼” (6mm). Place in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-12 minutes
The biscuit mixture is ready when it has just started to colour. Carefully turn out onto a sheet of baking parchment on a flat cool surface.
While still warm to touch, use a cookie cutter to press out the shapes but don’t try to lift them out until completely cooled, or they’ll break.
Mix the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl, adding the milk as needed to make a smooth paste.
Mat’s top tip: It’s much easier if you warm the butter.
First, ice the biscuits all over with the plain icing, adding some edible glitter for a festive feel. Then add a little red food colouring to the remaining icing, spoon it into a piping bag and draw on his shiny red nose.
For the pie:
250g plain flour
50g ground almonds
50g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 happy egg
1-2 tsp cold water
280g/10oz good quality mincemeat
For the topping:
75g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1tsp cinnamon powder
Place butter in freezer overnight.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Using a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour and add caster sugar, almonds, and salt; zest the orange and add, then gently stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
In a food processor, add the mixture, happy egg yolks and 1-2 teaspoons of water. Use a pulse action until it forms a soft dough, then place it in the fridge for 30 minutes, to chill.
Roll out the pastry to a thickness of a pound coin and with a round cookie cutter, cut out about 20 rounds. In a non-stick tartlet baking tray, press the rounds into the tray and spoon the mincemeat evenly into the pies.
Make a crumble topping by quickly mixing the butter, flour, cinnamon and caster sugar in your food processor until it forms a crumble. Sprinkle the crumble over the pies, grate some nutmeg over the top and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes until golden.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
6 happy eggs
60g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp grated nutmeg
150ml plain yogurt
You will need a cooking thermometer for this recipe.
Don’t be scared of raw eggs in eggnog; we gently cook them in this recipe.
Place 4 happy eggs, 2 happy egg yolks, caster sugar and milk in a saucepan. Heat slowly whilst stirring continuously; bring the temperature up to 72°C then remove the saucepan from the heat and keep stirring until it has cooled to around 60°C, this will take about 5 minutes.
Once it is below 60°C, pour the mixture through a sieve to capture any overcooked lumps. Add the vanilla extract and the nutmeg, stir and refrigerate the mixture. Once cool, add the plain yogurt and gently whisk together for a delicious and refreshing eggnog.
You can add other flavours in place of the vanilla and nutmeg and/or use double cream in place of the yogurt.
Adults might want to add some rum or bourbon too for a grown up drink.
Mat’s top tip: Use double cream instead of yogurt if you’re adding alcohol.