Three incredible Christmas treats
Three incredible Christmas treats
Treat everyone to Christmas treats this festive season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the best way to celebrate it is with copious amounts of delish sweets and bakes. Courtesy of Bonne Maman, here are three wonderfully delicious Christmas treats recipes everyone will love at first bite.
Rednosed Reindeer Cake
This moist fruity cake made with Bonne Maman Apricot, Mirabelle Plum or Fig Conserve is crammed full of festive flavours and will make a memorable centrepiece for a beautifully laden table. Absolutely delicious, it also happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free with no compromise on taste. This cake can be fully vegan too, so it means no one has to miss out at Christmas. Plus, it will freeze beautifully for up to three months!
- 400g mixed dried fruit
- 300ml dry cider or apple juice
- 225g stoned whole dates
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp Bonne Maman Apricot, Mirabelle Plum or
- Fig Conserve
- 1 large ripe banana
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 120g fine polenta
- 2 tsp baking powder (use gluten-free baking powder if wished)
- 2 large egg whites or 5 tbsp chilled aquafaba
- 2 tbsp brandy or dry sherry, optional.
- Put the dried fruit in a large mixing bowl and pour in 100ml of the cider or apple juice. Leave to soak overnight.
- Heat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas 4. Line an 18cm round, 10cm deep cake tin or 6 small 220g baked bean tins with baking parchment.
- Put the dates, spice, conserve and remaining 200ml cider or apple juice into a saucepan and simmer gently for 5 mins. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
- In a blender or processor, puree the date mixture with the banana. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the citrus zest, soaked dried fruit, polenta and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites or aquafaba into soft peaks and fold into the fruit mixture. Spoon into lined cake tins.
- Bake for 25-30 mins for individual cakes or 45-50 mins for a large one, covering with foil after 30 mins. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean when it’s cooked.
- Drizzle the brandy or sherry over the hot cake, if using, then leave to cool in the tin. The cooked cakes keep well, wrapped in clingfilm and foil, in an airtight tin for up to 3 days, or can be frozen undecorated.
How to decorate:
- To make the Rudolph Reindeer cakes, make two large fruit cakes or 6 individual cakes.
- Sandwich the two large cakes together with extra Bonne Maman conserve.
- Roll out 300g white fondant icing and, using the cake tins as a template, cut a curving line about 3cm out from the edge of the tin.
- Brush the top of the cake/s with a little extra Bonne Maman conserve and cover the top/s with the fondant icing.
- Roll 50g red fondant icing into one large or 6 small red ‘noses’ and press onto the middle of the cake/s.
To Make the Antlers:
- 25g unsalted butter or sunflower spread
- 25g Demerara sugar
- 50g golden syrup or molasses
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (use gluten-free baking powder if wished) 1 tbsp beaten egg or 1 tsp milled flaxseeds soaked in 1 tbsp water for 5 mins
- 125g plain flour
- To make gingerbread dough for the antlers, put the butter or spread in a bowl.
- In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup and spice and bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda (it will puff up) and pour the hot mixture over the butter. Stir until the butter has melted.
- Beat in the egg or flaxseed mix and slowly blend in the flour. It will look as though there is too much flour but it will blend in.
- Knead the dough in the bowl until smooth.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking parchment, to about 3mm thickness.
- Lift the rolled dough, still on its parchment and put on a baking sheet. Chill for 1 hour. Cut out the outline of 2 large or 12 small antlers. Lift off excess dough.
- Brush with extra beaten egg (if using) and bake at 170C, 150c fan, gas mark 3 until golden and crisp – approximately 7-12 mins depending on their size.
- Cool on a wire rack and when cold, tape a long wooden skewer or cocktail stick to the back of each antler with strong tape and push into the cake either side of the nose.
Fruity Gingerbread Wreath
The biscuits are simple to make and can be made ahead and frozen ready to be brought out as Christmas nears to be baked and iced in lots of different, creative ways. A lovely activity to enjoy with all the family and makes a gorgeous presentation for a festive gathering, to tuck into on Christmas Eve or serve as a special Christmas Day tea. If you don’t have cutters, draw simple snowflake outlines on stiff card and cut out. These templates can be used to cut out the biscuit and icing shapes
- 50g unsalted butter, diced
- 50g Demerara sugar
- 100g golden syrup
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 30ml beaten egg
- 250g plain flour
- About 20 tbsp Bonne Maman conserve in many flavours and colours
- 250g white fondant icing 250g Royal icing sugar
- To make the gingerbread dough, put the butter in a large bowl.
- In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup, spices and ginger and bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda (it will puff up) and pour the hot mixture over the butter. Stir until the butter has melted.
- Beat in the egg and slowly blend in the flour. It will look as though there is too much flour but it will blend in.
- Knead the dough in the bowl until smooth and cut into quarters. Wrap each piece in clingfilm. Roll out a quarter of the dough at a time to make the biscuits.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking parchment, to about 3mm thickness. Use a variety of Christmas cutters to stamp out about 50 biscuits of varying sizes. We used snowflake cutters from 12cm across down to 4cm. Remember you will need two of each size, to sandwich together. Re-knead and re-roll the trimmings.
- Lay the biscuits out on baking sheets, lined with baking parchment. Stamp out the centre from half the biscuits to create the space for the conserve. We used a 2½cm and a 1½cm round cutter. Chill the biscuits for a good hour before baking.
- Heat the oven to 170C, 150C fan, gas 3. Bake the biscuits in batches until golden and crisp. They will take between 7 and 10 mins, depending on size. Cool on a wire rack.
- While the biscuits are cooling, roll out the fondant icing on a surface dusted lightly with icing sugar and stamp out 6 or 7 snowflakes, using the same cutters. Stamp out the centres, using the same round cutters. Brush the top biscuits with a little conserve and lightly press on the matching icing.
- Brush all the base biscuits lightly with conserve and press on the top biscuits. You should now have about 25 snowflake biscuit sandwiches of various sizes, some iced with fondant and some plain.
- Put the Royal icing sugar in a bowl with 40ml of cold water. Gradually beat the icing until it forms a stiff but pipeable paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe or drizzle icing across most of the biscuits to resemble snowflakes. Leave the icing to set for 10 minutes. Fill the biscuit centres with various flavours and colours of Bonne Maman conserve. Store the biscuits in airtight containers until ready to use.
- To serve, arrange the biscuits in a generous wreath on a large white board and take to the table for Christmas tea.
Apricot Mince Pies
- 100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 200g (7 oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 6 tsp Bonne Maman Apricot Conserve
- 6 tsp good quality mincemeat
- Milk or beaten egg, for glazing
- Icing sugar, to dust
- Preheat the oven to 200°c (fan oven 180°c), gas mark 6. Lightly grease a 12-hole cake tin.
- Put the flour into a mixing bowl, add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the mixed spice to the sugar in a pestle and mortar or a strong bowl with the end of a rolling pin and grind together until well mixed and a little powdery. Add this to the flour and butter and stir in.
- Using a round-bladed palette knife, mix 3-4 tablespoons cold water, stirring until it comes together. Then with your hands, work the dough gently into a ball, wrap in cling film and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured work surface. Stamp out 12 circles with a fluted pastry cutter, slightly larger than the cake holes, and press the circles into the tin.
- Put about ½ teaspoon of apricot conserve into each pastry case, then top with about ½ teaspoon of mincemeat.
- Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut about 12 smaller circles and put them on top of the mincemeat. Glaze the tops with a little milk or beaten egg, if available, and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
- Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar to finish.