The festive season has arrived and it’s time to eat all the chocolates and delicious food we can! This is also a great time to take a break from the stress of coursework and revision, and cook some delicious treats and learn new recipes for Christmas. The Careers+Placements team have shared their special recipes for you to try, so get cooking!
Frangipane mince pies
Ingredients for mince pies:
- 200g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 100g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 medium egg yolk
- 500g mincemeat
Ingredients for the frangipane topping:
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 50g ground almonds
- 25g plain flour
- A few drops of almond extract
- 25g flaked almonds
- Icing sugar, to dust
- To make pastry, rub flour, sugar and chilled butter into a flour mixture. Separately, stir together yolk and 1tbsp cold water. Add to flour mixture; stir until pastry just comes together. Tip on to a surface; knead briefly to make a smooth dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the frangipane topping. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg until smooth. Stir in ground almonds, flour and almond extract to make a soft mixture.
- Roll chilled pastry out on a lightly floured surface until 3mm thick, then stamp out 12 rounds using a 10cm round cutter (re-rolling trimmings as necessary). Use rounds to line a 12-hole muffin tin; fill cases with mincemeat.
- Divide frangipane among mincemeat-filled cases; smooth down a little. Sprinkle over flaked almonds. Chill for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan) mark 5.
- Bake pies for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes to set pastry; carefully transfer to wire rack to cool; dust with icing sugar. Serve just warm or at room temperature with cream.
Chestnut and Chorizo Soup
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
- 120g mild cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 small dried red chillies, crushed
- 2 tomatoes, fresh or tinned, roughly chopped
- 500g cooked peeled chestnuts (fresh or vacuum-packed), roughly chopped
- 20 saffron threads, infused in 3-4 tbsp boiling water
- 1l water
- Sea salt and black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, chorizo and a pinch of salt and fry for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything caramelises and turns quite brown.
- Now add the garlic, cumin, thyme and chili and cook for one more minute, followed by the tomato and, after about 2 minutes, the chestnuts.
- Give everything a good stir, then add the saffron-infused liquid and the water, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and mash by hand (with a potato masher) until almost smooth, but still with a little bit of texture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Enjoy with some crusty bread!
Christmas Malteser Brownie
- 180g butter, melted, plus extra for the tin
- 250g light brown sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 75g malted milk powder
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Bag of Malteser reindeers to decorate
- 50g white chocolate, melted, for drizzling (optional)
- Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4, butter a 20x20cm brownie tin and line the base with baking parchment. Mix the melted butter with the sugar, beating until smooth, then beat in the eggs.
- Add the malted milk powder (usually found in sachets by the drinking chocolates in shops), flour and baking powder, stir to just combine, then fold in the Maltesers.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutess until cooked around the outside but still wobbly in the middle.
- Resist the temptation to eat straight away and put the tin in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Once set, top with the reindeers, drizzle over the melted white chocolate (if using) and cut into 12 squares.
Vegetarian toad in the hole
- 1 pack meat-free sausages
- 300g of mixed root vegetables, peeled & diced (optional)
- Half a red onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp of oil
- 50g plain flour
- 3 large eggs
- 200ml skimmed milk
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and par-cook the root vegetables for 7 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Pre-heat the oil in an oven proof dish and add the sausages, red onion and root vegetables, and roast for 5 minutes.
- Place the flour into a mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat to a smooth paste. Gently add the milk, baking powder and whisk vigorously.
- Pour the mixture over the sausages and vegetables and cook for 28 minutes.
- Serve with onion gravy.
- 10 medjool dates
- Handful of hazelnuts
- Handful of walnuts
- 1 tsp cacao powder
- 2 drops of vanilla extract
- Coconut flakes
(If you are not a fan of these nuts, you can swap them for different ones. However, they may make the bites taste differently depending on what you choose.)
- Break the Medjool Dates into a small pieces then put them into a food processor. (Tip – You can soak them in warm water for 5 minutes first to soften the skin, which makes them easier to break).
- Add in a handful of both the hazelnuts and walnuts.
- Add in the cacao powder and add in the vanilla extract.
- Then blend these ingredients together in the processor until a thick paste has been made.
- Roll the paste into round balls with your hands and then dip and roll these into the coconut flakes.
White chocolate and ginger cheesecake
- 400g white chocolate, in pieces
- 6 balls stem ginger from a jar, drained
- 12 gingersnap biscuits, broken
- 75g butter, melted
- 2 x 300g tub light cream cheese
- 1 x 250g tub ricotta
- 150g caster sugar
- Raspberries to garnish
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Line a 20cm springform cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Whiz the stem ginger in a food processor and tip into a large bowl. Whiz the gingersnaps to crumbs and mix in the melted butter. Tip into the tin and press down evenly to make the base; chill.
- Add the cream cheese, ricotta and sugar to the stem ginger and mix well.
- Pour about a quarter of the melted chocolate on to a baking sheet; chill until set. Pour the remaining chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine. Tip the mixture into the tin and tap on the work surface to make sure the mixture is smooth. Cover and chill overnight.
- Bring the set white chocolate to room temperature and make curls using a sharp knife. Remove the cheesecake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Scatter with the chocolate curls, then add as many raspberries as you would like on top.