Nothing caps off a fantastic Christmas dinner than a sweet treat. A terrific Christmas dessert may be the best present you can get during the holiday season, indulging your sweet tooth and giving you a unique sense of warmth and satisfaction to make the entire Christmas meal truly festive.
Old-fashioned Apple Pie
How about treating everyone’s tastebuds to a terrific old-fashioned apple pie? This tried and tested dessert uses your good old oven heated to 375 degrees. You simply need to roll out a precise amount of pie dough or pate brisee on a lightly floured surface. You can make the pie dough into a pair of ⅛-inch thick circles to a slightly larger diameter than a standard 11-inch plate. One pastry circle is pressed into a pie plate while the other one can be placed on a wax paper and then covered with some plastic wrap. Both pastries are chilled for about half an hour or till firm.
The other ingredients including the apples, lemon zest and juice, sugar, flour and spices are combined in a large bowl and tossed well. This mixture is spooned into the pie pan with the first pastry circle and dotted with butter, then covered with the other pastry circle. Steam vents are made across the top of the assembly and the edges are sealed by crimping them, if preferred. The top is then brushed with some beaten egg, then sprinkled with some sugar.
The pie assembly is baked until the juices are bubbling and the crust turns brown, which usually takes about one hour. It is then allowed to cool on a wire rack for serving later.
From its flaky pastry crust to the delectable filling, the old-fashioned apple pie can be served with cheddar cheese on the side, as well as topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Truly a great way to finish a grand Christmas meal!
Densely packed with candied or dried nuts and fruit along with spices, the fruitcake may occasionally be soaked in brandy or liqueur. The rich nature of fruit cakes makes them perfect for consumption on their own, but others may choose to enjoy them with cream or butter. A fruitcake soaked in alcohol can remain edible for years. The cake can be wrapped in alcohol-soaked linen prior to storage to lengthen the shelf life of the food item. With a layered fruitcake, you can fill the layers with some candied lemon and orange peel, dried cranberries, golden raisins and almonds covered in dark chocolate. The layers can be made from egg whites and almond flour. A garnish of sugared lemon zest can perfectly complement the rich frosting.
The oven has to be preheated to 400 degrees in baking the cake. Some almond flour and bread flour, confectioner’s sugar, salt and nutmeg are whisked together in a large bowl. The coarsely chopped almonds and finely chopped peels and fruits are mixed with brandy.
A whisk attachment is fitted into the bowl of standing mixer, and this is employed to beat the egg whites using medium speed till they are foamy. Some granulated sugar is gradually beaten in, then the speed is raised to medium high so the egg whites can be further beaten till they form stiff peaks. A third of the flour mixture is sprinkled over the peaks in a large bowl, then folded until just combined using a spatula. Another third of the flour mixture is folded in, and the last third is then tossed with brandied nuts and fruits. The mixture is folded into the batter.
To make equal size fruitcakes, the batter is evenly divided among prepared pans and the tops are smoothed. The cakes are baked till they turn golden brown and till they slightly pull away from the pan sides. They can be wrapped in plastic and placed in the fridge overnight.
Christmas Cookies, anyone?
You can easily make shortbread cookies for the children who are home for the Christmas break. One terrific option is buttery shortbread cookies that only need some salted butter, light brown sugar and all purpose flour. These types of cookies simply melt in your mouth thanks to the butter, and can be easily dressed up with some of your kids’ favorite sprinkles. Depending on the size of the cutouts made, the cookies can go around quite nicely.
Baked at 325 degrees in a preheated oven, shortbread cookies are made by mixing the brown sugar and butter in a stand mixer bowl. The paddle attachment of the mixer is used to thoroughly blend the two ingredients till you get a fluffy and light consistency. Some flour is added and everything in the bowl is mixed together.
A large floured board is where the dough is kneaded by hand for at least five minutes, ensuring you get a soft dough by adding as much of the leftover flour from the floured board. Once the dough is pliable and soft and no longer sticky, the sprinkles can be worked in. The dough is separated into balls, wrapped tightly then chilled for around 20 minutes. Afterwards, each dough ball is rolled out to approximately 1/2 -inch thickness then cut into triangles, rectangular strips or to other shapes using a cookie cutter. Positioned evenly on a baking sheet, the cookies are baked from 15 to 20 minutes or till you see the edges become golden brown. Smaller cookies require less baking time, while bigger ones have to bake longer.
The cookies are cooled on a wire rack prior to serving.