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


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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


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Haunted Gingerbread House

Haunted Gingerbread House

Start gingerbread season a little early this year with a spooky display for Halloween. Make gumball pumpkins, chocolate tombstones and a scary (but candy-sweet!) monster hiding inside the house. …

Level: Advanced
Total: 4 hr 

(includes chilling and setting times)

Active: 1 hr 45 min
Yield: 1 gingerbread house

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookie Dough:

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap and preferably golden, mild or sorghum molasses)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Decorations:

12 ounces white candy melting wafers

1 cup ready-made chocolate frosting

12 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed to fine crumbs

2 cups woven corn cereal squares 

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

12 ounces black candy melting wafers

Candy buttons

Black food color marker

3 ounces green candy melting wafers

1/4 cup green sanding sugar

 

Chocolate sprinkles

2 chocolate chews

3 to 4 round gumballs

3 ounces orange candy melting wafers

3 chocolate-filled rolled wafer cookies

Black sanding sugar

4 pretzel sticks

3 chocolate snack cake cupcakes

2 mini break-apart chocolate bars

Directions:

Special equipment:  a 14-inch cake board or large serving platter and 4 disposable piping bags

1. Make the cookies: Sift 3 cups of flour, the ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and molasses. Mix until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until a thick dough forms. If the dough is sticky, mix in the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough can easily be handled without it sticking to your fingers. You may not have to use all of the flour.

2. Gather the dough into a ball; divide in half. Roll each dough piece flat to 1/4-inch thickness between parchment paper sheets. Transfer the dough inside the sheets to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

3. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Print the Haunted Gingerbread House Walls and Roof Template (link below) and cut the shapes out with scissors. When the dough is well chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and peel back the top sheets of parchment. Lay the templates on the dough and cut around them using a flat-edged knife (do not discard the templates). Transfer the dough shapes to the prepared baking sheets. Leftover dough can be re-rolled and cut into cookies, or you can shape it into a baton and store it in your freezer for up to 1 month.

5. Bake the shapes for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. While the cookies are still warm, lay the templates on top of the baked cookies and re-cut them using a knife. This will help the shapes fit together perfectly when you are assembling the house.

6. Assemble the house: Place the white candy wafers in a heatproof bowl and cook at 100 percent power in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir well after each interval until the candy is smooth (this should take about 1 minute total cook time). Transfer the candy to a disposable piping bag with a small hole in the end snipped (you may also use a zip-top bag with the corner snipped). Use cans from your pantry to help prop the house pieces up as you work. Glue the sides, front and back of the house together using the white melted candy. Let stand until dry, about 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the landscape: Spread half of the chocolate frosting over a 14-inch cake board or serving platter. Sprinkle the surface with the cookie crumbs and press them down slightly with flattened palms. Save leftover cookie crumbs and frosting for later use.

8. When the candy holding the gingerbread walls together is dry, gently lift the assembled house and place it in the center of the prepared board. Pipe white melted candy along the top edges of the house and attach the roof; hold the pieces steady with your hands until they hold on their own, about 2 minutes. Pipe extra candy around the roof edges and walls to fill in any visible gaps.

9. Place the corn cereal in a bowl or zip-top bag and add the cocoa powder. Mix together until the cereal pieces are well coated with cocoa. Pipe a line of candy on the bottom edge of a roof piece and place cereal pieces end-to-end in a single layer to make roof tiles. Pipe another line of candy just above the first row of cereal and add another row, slightly overlapping the first. It’s okay to use broken cereal pieces, as this will add to the character of the haunted house. Cover the entire rooftop with cereal. Pipe candy on the front and back top edges of the house and line with cereal squares. Allow the house to stand at room temperature until the candy is set, about 15 minutes.

10. Make the windows and door: Print the Haunted Gingerbread House Windows Template (link below). Place the template on a flat work surface and cover it with a large sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Melt the black candy wafers in a heatproof bowl and cook at 100 percent power in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir well after each interval until the candy is smooth (this should take about 1 minute total cook time). Transfer the candy to a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped. Pipe the candy over the black boxes (windows and doors) on the template. Use a toothpick to push the candy into small corners and to fill in gaps. Make as many windows as you wish for your haunted house by moving the template under a new sheet of parchment paper. Place candy buttons in each of the smaller windows before the candy is set. Use a food color marker to draw on eyeballs. Allow the candy to stand until set, about 15 minutes at room temperature or 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Peel the candy boxes with eyes off of the parchment and use a little melted candy to attach them to the top front of the house. Position each window tilted inward slightly. Attach the larger candy rectangle below the 2 windows to create the door. Use the white melted candy (reheat if necessary) to pipe dots on the top and bottom edges of the door. Use a toothpick to pull the melted candy into points to create fangs.

11. Make the monster arms: Melt green candy wafers as previously directed with the white and black candy wafers. Transfer the candy to a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped. Lay a sheet of parchment on a work surface. Pipe a 4-inch L shape on the parchment paper with the green candy. Use a toothpick to smooth the candy into an arm shape. Use the toothpick end to pull the bottom of the L shape into fingers. Pour green sanding sugar over the top portion of the arm, leaving the hand uncovered. Place a chocolate sprinkle on each finger to create long claws. Allow the shapes to set until firm. When the candy is firm, peel it off of the parchment and shake the excess sugar off of the arm. Repeat this process with a backwards L shape so that you have 2 monster arms. Attach a candy window with melted candy to each side of the house and hold until set, about 2 minutes. Attach an arm to each window and hold until set. Further decorate the sides and back of the house with more windows. 

12. Create boards for the windows: Knead 2 chocolate chews together and roll flat with a rolling pin (if the chews are too firm to flatten, heat them in the microwave for 5 seconds). Cut small board shapes (about 1/4 inch by 1 inch) from the candy using a knife. Use the end of a toothpick to striate the pieces. Use the pointed end of the toothpick to poke 2 small holes in each end, creating nail holes on the boards. Attach the pieces over the windows using melted candy.

13. Make candy pumpkins: Carefully poke holes in the gumballs using a metal skewer or knife, and thread them onto the pointed ends of toothpicks. Melt the orange candy wafers as previously directed. Dip the gumballs into the candy and place them on parchment paper. Remove the toothpick. Use leftover chocolate chews to fashion small pumpkin stems. Place them standing upright on top of the pumpkins. Allow to stand until set, about 15 minutes.

14. Make spooky trees: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use the black melted candy (reheat as needed) to pipe 3 well-spaced lines on the cookie sheets. Place a rolled wafer cookie on top of each line. Use the black candy to completely cover the wafers. Draw tree branches with the candy coming off of both sides and the top ends of the wafers. Cover with black sanding sugar. Let stand until firm, about 15 minutes.

15. Meanwhile, make the pretzel ladder: Break 2 of the pretzel sticks in half. Place 2 whole pretzel sticks parallel to each other. Attach the broken pretzel rungs to the whole pretzel sticks using melted candy. Let stand until set. When firm, lean the ladder against the house, preferably leading up to a window with eyeballs peering out.

16. When the trees are firm, lift them from the parchment and shake away excess sugar. Place each snack cake on the cake board upside-down and press a candy tree in its center. Cover the snack cakes with leftover cookie crumbs, if desired.

17. Make tombstones: Place leftover chocolate frosting in a piping bag. Break the chocolate bars at their perforations. Pipe a small dot of frosting onto the crumb-covered cake board and press an upright turned chocolate piece into the frosting. Repeat with remaining chocolate pieces to create a graveyard.

18. Finishing touches: Use melted white candy to pipe spider webs onto the house. Use the food color marker to draw cracks on the house, and spiders near their webs. Place the pumpkin decorations on the landscape and around the house as desired.


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