Holiday Berry Meringue Wreath

Holiday Berry Meringue Wreath

This edible wreath is almost too pretty to eat (but seriously, you should dive in — it’s delicious.) Crisp and crunchy meringue lies beneath a ruby red cranberry, raspberry and pomegranate sauce.

Level: Easy

Total: 3 hr 45 min (includes cooling time)

Active: 45 min

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

Wreath:

8 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream

Cranberry Sauce:

One 10-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and drained if frozen

1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 cups fresh raspberries

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Leaves from 1 bunch fresh mint

Directions

 

1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 225 degrees F. Line the back of a baking sheet with parchment. Use a 12-inch bowl as a stencil: Flip it upside down and trace a 12-inch circle onto the parchment. Use a 9-inch bowl to trace a circle inside the 12- inch one. This is the outline of your wreath.

2. For the wreath: Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until thick and opaque, about 1 minute more. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until stiff, shiny peaks form, 13 to 15 minutes. 

3. Build the wreath: Using the template on the parchment as your guide, drop dollops of meringue in a line along the inside of the 12-inch circle. Use a rubber spatula to help clean off your spoon between dollops. Following the 9-inch circle and slightly overlapping the outer ring of meringue, make an inner ring of meringue dollops to fill in the rest of the template. Flatten the meringue slightly with the back of the spoon, making sure to keep a lot of peaks. Bake the meringue until it is dry, crisp, and pearly white on the outside, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. 

4. Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce: Bring the cranberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer in medium saucepan and cook until the cranberries are soft and just begin to burst and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Gently fold in the raspberries and pomegranate seeds. Whip the heavy cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form.  

5. Before serving, spread the whipped cream on the meringue. Spoon over the cranberry sauce and sprinkle with mint leaves.


Holiday Berry Meringue Wreath
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Holiday Berry Meringue Wreath
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One 10-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and drained if frozen
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Homemade Falafels

Homemade Falafels

Falafels are traditional Middle Eastern deep fried patties or balls made from chickpeas, fava beans, or both.  They’re usually found stuffed in Pita bread or rolled in a flatbread along with fresh and pickled veggies and topped with a tahini sauce, that’s a Falafel Sandwich.  They are also eaten with fried eggs, hummus, babaganouj, and pickles for breakfast or served as mezzes and snacks.

My first encounter with falafels was at a kiosk in New York city where I grew up.  Buying a falafel sandwich from this kiosk was a treat when we spent the day at the near by park.  Then my family moved to Hawaii in the mid-70’s where there were no kiosks selling “ethnic” foods and so I didn’t have falafels again until I married my husband who is of Palestinian decent.  Imagine his surprise when I told him I actually knew what falafels were!

As newlyweds in Hawaii we had to figure out how to make falafels at home; as I new bride I had no clue!  Remember back in the 80’s there was no google, no pinterest, no instagram, or any kind of internet that would find a recipe in seconds.  I had to rely on cookbooks from the library, not really helpful.

Then we found a box of falafel mix at a local health food store.  Just add water and fry.  It wasn’t the best, but we made do.  I started experimenting with the boxed mix and found that adding finely chopped fresh parsley improved the taste.  Started adding more spices and pretty soon I figured I may as well by pass the mix and make it from scratch.   That didn’t go so well until I managed to buy a food processor, now I was in business!

As I was exploring the makings for falafel from scratch we started traveling all over the world.  Of course travel opens up your life to different places, foods, and cultures and our travels in the Middle East definitely helped my falafel making.  We loved the falafel sandwiches at Mr. Falfala in Cairo and the ones found on the streets of Diera in Dubai.  But nothing beats the fresh falafels served at Hashem’s and Abu Jbarra in Jordan!  On our last trip to Dubai this year we discovered that Abu Jbarra opened a place by the Dubai Mall, we ate brunch there almost everyday!

Anyway those trips to Egypt, Dubai, and Jordan whetted my desire to make falafels at home that would be close to the ones served in the places we loved.  I say close because I doubt I’ll ever figure out the exact match to Hashem’s falafels served in this little alley in downtown Amman.

I make large batches of falafels so that I have enough to freeze for future use.  Raw falafel paste freezes beautifully!  This way I don’t have to haul out the food processor every time I want to fry falafels and I always have some handy when  I have a yen for a falafel sandwich.

I’ve found that using fresh ingredients makes the difference between decent falafels and amazing ones!  So I use fresh cilantro, parsley, and dill as my primary seasonings; they will turn your mixture green, but the greener the falafel is the better it tastes in my opinion.  I also use dry chickpeas never canned.

It takes a bit of planning to make really great falafels, but believe me it’s so worth the effort!

Fresh Falafel

Ingredients:

8 oz. Dried Chickpeas (1/2 a bag)

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Large bunch of Fresh Cilantro, rinsed and dried on paper towel

1 Large Bunch of Fresh American Parsley, rinsed and dried on paper towel

1 Small Bunch of Fresh Dill, rinsed and dried on paper towel

2 Tbs. Fresh Garlic, minced

1 Tbs. Cumin Powder

1 Tbs. Ground Coriander

1 Tbs. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

Oil for frying

Pita or Flat Bread

Optional Condiments: Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, pickled beets, tahini sauce, thousand island dressing, or what ever you want to add in the sandwich

Directions:

Pour dried chickpeas into a bowl and mix in baking soda.

Cover with water and soak overnight.

Rinse chickpeas in cool water and drain in a colander.

In a food processor load in this order:

Cilantro leaves and stems (you don’t have to use all the stems but do use the leaves), Parsley, Dill (prepare and use Parsley and Dill the same way as Cilantro).

Drained chickpeas and garlic

Dried spices (cumin, coriander, salt, pepper)

Turn on processor and grind until it is a paste

If freezing place paste into freezer safe containers and freeze.  Thaw before cooking.

If using immediately:

Heat about 2″ of oil in a small pot.

Add baking soda to falafel paste and combine well.

Test that oil is hot enough by dropping a small amount of falafel paste in; if oil starts bubbling around the paste your oil is ready for frying.

Form paste into small 1″ balls or patties and drop into hot oil.

Fry until all sides are brown, cooked falafel will float.

Drain on paper towels and serve as a sandwich filling or by itself for breakfast or as mezzes.


Homemade Falafels
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Baileys Milkshake (The Dalmation)

Baileys Milkshake (The Dalmation)

Serves 1

Easy

An indulgent take on milkshake for grown ups. Baileys and vanilla ice cream, whizzed with Oreo biscuits, make an irresistible drink for the ultimate treat.

Ingredients

  • whole milk 50ml
  • good vanilla ice cream 3 scoops
  • Baileys 35ml

 

  • Oreo biscuits 4, plus one to decorate
  • squirty cream to finish
  • glacé cherry to decorate

Nutritional Information

Kcals 691       Fat 35.3g       Carbs 73.4g       Fibre 2.2g       Protein 10.7g       Salt 1g


Baileys Milkshake (The Dalmation)
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Baileys Milkshake (The Dalmation)
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Black bottom pie

Black bottom pie

Serves 8

Easy

This recipe for Southern pie by Felicity Cloake owes its name to its rich, dark cocoa base and chocolate custard, topped with a rum mousse and a cloud of whipped cream. Pure indulgence, Dixie style.

Ingredients

  • Oreo biscuits 24, (just shy of 2 packets)
  • unsalted butter 55g, melted
  • whole milk 500ml
  • eggs 4, separated
  • golden caster sugar 225g
  • cornflour 4 tsp
  • fine salt 1/4 tsp

 

  • dark chocolate 75g, finely chopped, plus a little extra to top
  • leaf gelatine 6 sheets
  • golden or dark rum 1 tbsp
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp
  • double cream 250ml
  • icing sugar 2 tbsp

Method

  • STEP 1

    Whizz the Oreos to crumbs in a food processor, then add the melted butter and briefly whizz again. Press into a 23cm springform cake tin, cover and chill.

  • STEP 2

    Gently bring the milk to a boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and half the caster sugar together in a large, heatproof bowl until paler in colour, then whisk in the cornflour and salt. Whisk as you pour the hot milk onto the yolks, then return to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat and pour half into a bowl, while this is cooling soak the gelatine in cold water until pliable. Squeeze the water out of 2 of the leaves. Stir the chocolate and these gelatine leaves into the pan with the custard mixture until they have melted, then pour onto the base. Chill.

  • STEP 3

    Stir the rum, vanilla, nutmeg and remaining 4 gelatine leaves into the warm, reserved custard mixture and leave to cool completely.

  • STEP 4

    Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the remaining caster sugar and beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Fold this into the cooled custard, then spoon on top of the chocolate custard and chill until set – about 4 hours. Whip the cream and icing sugar to soft peaks, spoon on top of the pie, then shave a little chocolate over the top to serve.

     

 

Nutritional Information

Kcals643    Fat38.1g    Saturates22g     Carbs63g    Sugars52.2g    Fibre2.4g    Protein9.5g    Salt0.8g


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Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf

Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf

Serves 6

Easy

Check out this vegan chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf recipe. Precise layering makes this vegan main look really smart, but it’s actually easy to put together. This can be made the day before then heated through before serving

 

Ingredients

  • onions 3 large, grated
  • coconut butter 100g
  • dried chilli flakes a pinch
  • sage a small bunch, chopped
  • vac-packed cooked, peeled chestnuts 180g, chopped

 

 

  • white breadcrumbs 100g
  • ready-to-eat dried apricots 50g, chopped
  • cranberry sauce 4 tbsp
  • sweet potatoes 400g, peeled
  • butternut squash 400g, peeled

Method

  • STEP 1 To make the stuffing, put the onion in a pan with the coconut butter and chilli flakes and cook until the onions have softened. Stir in the sage and cook for 2 minutes.

     
  • STEP 2 Put the chestnuts, breadcrumbs and apricots into a bowl. Stir in half the onion mixture, mix well and season. Mix the rest of the onions with the cranberry sauce.

     
     
  • STEP 3 Slice the sweet potatoes and squash separately in a food processor or with a mandoline and divide into 3 piles of each. Melt a little more coconut butter and brush the inside of a 900g/2lb loaf tin. Line with a strip of baking paper

     
     
  • STEP 4 Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Line the bottom of the tin with a neat overlapping layer of 1/3 of the squash, trimming to fit the tin. This will be the top of the loaf so get this as nice as possible – the other layers you don’t need to worry about so much. Then add a layer of 1/3 of the sweet potato.

     
     
  • STEP 5 Add a layer of stuffing, then cranberry onions, then the next 1/3 of squash and sweet potato. Add the rest of the stuffing, then another layer of cranberry onions and finish with the last 1/3 of squash and sweet potato.

     
     
  • STEP 6 Cover with foil, put on a baking tray and bake for 2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes and squash are tender. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before turning out and cutting into slices.

Nutritional Information

Kcals406     Fat12.3g    Saturates10g    Carbs60.9g    Sugars29.1g    Fibre12.6g    Protein6.5g    Salt0.3g


Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf
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Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf
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