At Christmas we go all out to provide the best food that we possibly can for our family and friends, from the making of the Christmas Cake and Pudding, sourcing all the best dried fruits back in October and November, right up to the Main Christmas lunch.
It seems like a huge amount of work for somebody but I believe you don’t have to travel very far to get the best ingredients for your Christmas lunch. What we need to do is “ Think Local Produce” and by that I mean everything down to the potatoes and carrots or selection of vegetables you might like to use.
Check out your local market and shops for some wonderful local produced food, it will taste much better and probably cost less. So this Christmas think fresh and local, it will probably be the greatest gift you can give anyone!
5 Free Range Eggs
5oz/ 140g Castor Sugar
3 oz/ 98g Plain Flour
1 oz/ 42g Cocoa Powder
6oz/ 168g Soft Butter
10oz/ 280g Icing Sugar
2oz/ 56g Cocoa Powder
2tbsp Black Rum
Sprig of holly to decorate
Place the eggs and castor sugar in the bowl of a food mixer and beat on high speed until the eggs and sugar turn to a mousse like mixture and when you lift the whisk out of the mix make a shape of an 8 in the mixture it should remain there.
The mixture is ready to have the flour and cocoa added, with a metal spoon gently fold in the flour and cocoa which have been sieved together.
Transfer the cake mix to a greased and lined Swiss roll tin ( average size10” x 13”) or here about, place in a preheated oven at 160° for about 20 – 25 minutes until the cake is cooked, ( when you gently press your finger down in the centre of the cake it should spring back up under your finger).
Turn the cake out on to a large sheet of greaseproof paper and roll up the Swiss roll and leave to cool, don’t worry if it cracks. To make the chocolate butter cream place the butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and beat to a nice cream, then add in the cocoa powder followed by the rum and beat to a nice creamy consistency, if it cracks or curdles on you because you added too much rum just add some more icing sugar.
When the chocolate Swiss roll is cooled down unroll from the greaseproof paper spread the chocolate butter cream all over the cake and with the help of the greaseproof paper, roll back up. Then spread the other of the butter cream all over the Swiss roll and with a knife smooth it out and make some shapes like a log.
Transfer to a nice board or large serving plate dust with a little icing sugar in a sieve ( like snow) and decorate with a sprig of holly and maybe a candle.
pt/ 426ml Double Cream
3fl oz/ 90ml Milk
5 Large Free Range Egg Yolks
1 Vanilla Pod
2oz/ 56g Caster Sugar (plus extra for topping)
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Fan160 C. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar with a hand whisk for about one minute and set aside. Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in two with a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and pod to the liquid. Place over a medium heat and bring almost but not to the boil. You really need to keep watching and don’t take your eye off the pan for this few minutes.
Remove from the heat as soon as you see bubbles appearing at the side of the pan. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg yolk and sugar mix, whisking well with a hot whisk all the time. Strain the liquid though a sieve making sure to add the vanilla seeds to the mixture but setting the pods aside.
There will be a large amount of foam on the top of the liquid which you should remove with a spoon. The crème brulee is much smoother without this excess foam.
Meanwhile place four ramekin dishes in a large roasting tin. Pour in enough hot water to allow it to come about half way up the side of the ramekins. Divide the liquid equally between the four dishes. Place a baking sheet/ layer of tin foil on top of the ramekins, making sure to leave a gap for air. Bake for 30 minutes. When you remove them from the oven they should not look too set. Remove the ramekins from the tin and allow to cool for a few minutes before placing them in the fridge to cool completely.
When you’re ready to serve sprinkle a layer of caster sugar on top of each ramekin and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a little cold water on top and then use a blow torch to caramelise.
The crème brulee can be made earlier or even a day in advance but do serve as soon as possible after caramelising.