So, we’re onto our fifth tip from –
12 Tips for a gorgeous, no fuss, foodie Christmas
Tip #1 was all about the cake.
Tip #2 was about making a few meals to stash in the freezer for over Christmas
Tip #3 was the joy of handmade food gifts
Tip #4 was the wonders of freezing uncooked mince pies so that they are ready at the drop of a hat and now here’s the next one –
Tip #5 – If Christmas pudding just isn’t your thing, go for a prepare-ahead alternative dessert.
So we’ve covered Christmas cake, we’ve discussed mince pies, but we still haven’t touched on Christmas pudding.
It’s as much of a Christmas tradition as turkey, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, sprouts, falling asleep in front of the television and eating one too many Quality Street … and yet I have to admit that I can take it or leave it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I dislike it, but honestly my heart isn’t in it.
And that’s probably the reason why I don’t always make my own. If I do, I go for this recipe from Delia, the Queen of Christmas, but I might equally buy one instead. Mostly I take my guidance from Good Housekeeping, after all they recommended our Christmas cake back in the day, so they must know their stuff.
Generally, I’m not massively a dessert person. By the end of a meal – particularly a rich and filling one like Christmas dinner – I’d rather opt for a good coffee and maybe a small square of chocolate for a mini, sweet taster. Hence the inspiration for these Mochaccino Pots as an alternative to round off your festive meal.
The chocolate/coffee part can be prepared a day or two in advance and will sit nicely in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. And if you’re anything like me that could be Boxing Day or perhaps even later. The slightly sweetened cream on the top really is at its best if you whip it just before you are ready to serve but honestly if you can’t face that last-minute attention, then do it earlier in the day.
Update 18 September 2015 – check out this Quick Tip for how I’ve made this recipe EVEN easier and, I think, more delicious.
There’s no denying it, this is a rich dessert but it also lends itself to being served in teeny, tiny portions so that works. I chose little glasses for mine so that you can really see the effect of a frothy mocha coffee but you could also try espresso cups too. Just keep it small – small and perfectly formed. The desserts in the photos are made using all 70% dark chocolate, but if you prefer things a little lighter and a tad sweeter you could swap in some milk chocolate to taste. I rather like it half and half.
So, enjoy a traditional Christmas pudding if that’s what floats your boat – with custard, ice cream, brandy butter … But if you’d rather not, then enjoy an alternative which you can prepare ahead – traditions are there to enjoy not slavishly follow after all. And combining coffee and dessert like this at the end of a busy, festive meal – that really is gorgeous food, no fuss …
- For the mocha part -
- 280g milk
- 250g double cream (this will be almost all of a 300ml tub)
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 200g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped - or try swapping in up to half of this for milk chocolate for a less intense finish
- For the cream part -
- 300ml double cream OR 300-400g creme fraiche
- 1 heaped dessertspoon icing sugar, sieved
- a little cocoa for dusting
- 6-8 small glasses or cups to serve
- It may seem a little odd weighing the wet ingredients - but it will make it far more accurate. Place the milk, cream, instant coffee and 50g caster sugar in a saucepan.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 50g of caster sugar, for around a minute until the mixture is light and frothy.
- Now slowly warm the sweet, coffee milk/cream mixture until it is simmering.
- Carefully whisk one third of the warmed milk into the yolks, then pour back into the pan.
- Stir over a moderate heat until the custard begins to thicken and coat the back of the spoon; around 3 minutes. It is important to turn off the heat at this stage.
- Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and pour into a clean jug.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into glasses or cups and place on a tray in the fridge. Once cooled, seal tightly with cling film and leave for at least 4 hours.
- To serve, lightly whip the cream so that it is just starting to hold its shape - the mocha part of the dessert will not set firmly, so you want to keep the cream quite loose too. Gently fold the icing sugar into the cream and dollop on top OR use the creme fraiche instead - no need to whip it, just give it a good stir. I like it without the sugar but either works brilliantly.
- Dust lightly with cocoa powder.