The Malta Independent 20 June 2018, Wednesday

FIRST: What would you contribute to a Christmas teatime table?

First Magazine Sunday, 24 December 2017, 12:00 Last update: about 7 months ago

We all know that Christmas lunch is only round one of the meals that the day has in store. first asked four local young bakers what they would bake if asked to contribute to the Christmas teatime table. Here they share their ideas and recipes.

Light and Creamy Meringue Nests by Baker Street

Ingredients

Meringues

180g egg whites

180g caster sugar

180g sifted icing sugar

Food colouring (optional)

 

Cream

250ml Local fresh cream

1 tsp Vanilla essence

Handful of fresh fruit and nuts

 

NB You may need to buy a piping bag and a star-shaped nozzle

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Method

1.            Heat fan oven to 90°C.

2.            Whisk egg whites in a food-mixer until stiff.

3.            Add the caster sugar, continuing to whisk.

4.            Fold in the sifted icing-sugar and optional food colouring drop-by-drop, continuously stirring until desired colour is obtained.

5.            Put the mixture in the piping bag, with star-shaped nozzle attached, and pipe the meringue nests into palm-sized circular shapes.

6.            Place in the fan oven for 90 minutes.

7.            When set, leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly open.

8.            Whip the fresh cream in a bowl, mixing in the vanilla essence.

9.            Spoon cream on to top of meringues and embellish with fresh fruit and nuts.


Ginger Bread Cake by Naked Bakes

Ingredients

For the cake

150ml full fat milk

3 tbsp black treacle (oil the tbsp before so the treacle slides off)

225ml vegetable oil

375g plain flour

3tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

375g soft light brown sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

Pinch of ground cloves

300ml buttermilk

3 large eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the cream cheese frosting

125g soft unsalted butter

125g cream cheese

275g icing sugar                

For the gingerbread biscuits (optional)

175g dark muscovado sugar

85g golden syrup

100g slightly salted butter

350g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

 

Method

Pour the milk and treacle into a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until combined, then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, grease three 20cm round cake tins and line with baking parchment. Heat oven to 160°C.

1.            Put flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and spices into large bowl and add half a teaspoon of salt. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps of sugar left.

2.            In a jug, whisk the oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the milk and treacle mixture, and mix well.

3.            Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until you have a smooth batter.

4.            Divide mixture between the three tins and bake for 35-30 minutes.

Once cooked, leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.

 

 

To make the icing, make sure the butter is soft then, using either a hand-held whisk or an electric mixer, beat the butter with the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, light and airy. Sieve/sift the icing sugar into the mix and gently incorporate it with the cream cheese mixture until it is light and smooth.


Cranberry and Rosemary Biscuits by Baked

Ingredients

100g butter

100g sugar

200g plain/all purpose flour

1 egg yolk

Zest of ½ a lemon and ½ an orange

Juice of ½ an orange

60g roughly chopped dried cranberries

5g roughly chopped fresh rosemary

 

Method

1. Beat sugar and butter together until well combined.

2. Add egg yolk and beat until creamy.

3. Fold in the zest followed by juice, cranberries and rosemary.

4. Add the flour and beat again until the mixture forms a crumbly texture. 

5. Transfer to a clean surface and combine the crumbs till the dough is solid.

6. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour. 

7. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using a very sharp knife (to be able to cut through the cranberries) cut the dough into slices around 5mm thick. 

8. Place on a baking sheet on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.


Sticky Toffee Pudding by Emma’s Kitchen

Ingredients
Cake
340g dried dates, pitted and chopped
2 cups boiling water
½ tsp baking soda
110g unsalted butter, melted
150g dark brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 large eggs
210g plain/all-purpose flour
2-3 tsp gingerbread spice or ½ sp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon 
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
Pinch allspice
Toffee Sauce
115g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup mascarpone
215g dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
To serve
Coarse sea salt
Mascarpone, slightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream

Method

1.            Put the dates in a heatproof bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave to soften for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 175°C and line a 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment.

2.            Blend the date and water mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the baking soda and put aside.

3.            In large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar and molasses. Whisk eggs in to the mixture, one at a time. Use a wooden spoon to gently fold in the flour, followed by the date puree. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

4.            Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce. Combine the butter, mascarpone, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a pan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, whisking until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the salt and set aside.

5.            Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper, if using. While the cake is still warm, slice into desired portions and drape each slice with a generous amount of toffee sauce and a pinch of coarse sea salt, plus more mascarpone or whipped cream, if desired.

 

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