Katy Hofstede-Smith offers some seasonal advice for those with an aversion to Christmas pudding…
For some, one of the most exciting aspects of Christmas has to be the traditional puddings. Mince pies, heavy fruit cake, stollen and the obligatory Christmas pudding are all signature components of seasonal larders. But if you’re not an advocate of the dried and stewed, these desserts are less of a treat and more of a festive faux pas. If you’re catering for one of these non-tradition loving guests, or tend to fall into this category yourself, fear not. There are some fantastic options you can conjure up to inspire the uninspired….
In the run-up to Christmas, there’s often a need for a mince pie type treat whilst you’re wrapping presents, entertaining guests or decorating the house. For those who like spice, but aren’t lovers of dried fruit, heavily spiced biscuits such as Dutch speculaas (a staple in my household) provide the same festive smells and flavours in a more enjoyable way. An alternative mini pie to try this Christmas is a pumpkin pie made in the same way as traditional mince pies, but with a spiced pumpkin filling instead. Likewise, a mix of chopped apple, nuts, brown sugar and spices also makes a lovely alternative filling. Homemade florentines are a fantastic treat to offer your guests, alongside a cup of tea or a glass of mulled wine. These can be made to include whichever fruit or nuts you like, before being dipped or drizzled in your favourite kind of chocolate.
This Christmas, why not create a new family tradition that centers around your favourite dessert? Whilst this dish can look impressive – such as a beautiful stack of profiteroles or a croquembouche – it’s also a good idea to think about making something that can be made in advance and will store well. At our house, there’s often so much food throughout the day that dessert can prove to be a slight struggle. If this is the case in your household too, choose something lighter; such as a delicate orange trifle or a gingerbread and caramel trifle. A light tiramisu made with amaretti can be sprinkled with mixed spices to add in a sense of festivity, or made with Irish cream and sprinkled with chocolate for a more indulgent option.
For something a little heartier, try making chocolate fondants with a salted caramel filling or a rich sticky toffee pudding made in a pudding bowl to resemble its traditional Christmas counterpart. A French almond galette is a Christmas eve tradition in my house, but would work beautifully on Christmas day as well. If you’re after something a little bit more elegant, try your hand at latte panna cottas, topped with espresso syrup and served in cocktail glasses. Other alternatives include a baked Alaska, individual apple pies or mini frozen snowballs made with a lime parfait and desiccated coconut sprinkles.
I hope these ideas have left you feeling inspired to try something different this Christmas and that you’ve realised that there’s really no need to suffer the stewed fruit in silence!