Friday, April 16, 2021

Dairy Christmas: Versatile festive recipes

Tis the season to be indulgent!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family, enjoying food together, and taking a break from work and school. These legen-dairy recipes will wow the toughest critics and should ensure you’ll spend more time with those you love and less time working in the kitchen this festive season.

Combining versatile Australian dairy products and seasonal produce, these recipes have taken the deliciousness of traditional Christmas fare and added a fresh Aussie twist to celebratory favourites.

blue cheese


Serves: 10
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes + cooling time

  • 40g Australian butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 40g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp pepitas
  • 2 tbsp raisins, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
  • 300g wedge of blue cheese, for serving

Bring butter, sugar and honey to the boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir flour into the butter mixture followed by nuts, pepitas, raisins and thyme.

Line an oven tray with baking paper ensuring it extends up and over both sides on the tray. Dollop scant tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray about 5cm apart.

Bake at 180°C for 7-10 minutes or until spread, bubbling and deep golden in colour. Remove and sprinkle with salt. Note that the mixture will have formed one large thin sheet and will harden upon cooling.

Cool on tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Break cooled sheets into shards and serve with blue cheese.

Tip: Bark can be stored in an airtight container for a few days with baking paper between each layer.

READ ALSO: Melt-in-your-mouth Butter Cookies

Basil ricotta and smoked trout tartlets


Makes: 16
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes

  • 1 sheet butter puff pastry, semi-thawed
  • 160g fresh ricotta
  • 1 tbsp shredded fresh basil, plus extra small leaves to serve
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1-2 tbsps milk
  • 160g mixed coloured cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup baby capers, drained (optional)
  • ½ whole smoked trout, skin and bones discarded, flesh flaked

Cut puff pastry into 16 squares before it thaws fully, transfer squares to a baking paper lined oven tray.

Combine ricotta, basil and lemon zest until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Add milk if the mixture seems a little dry and crumbly.

Spread ricotta mixture over pastry pieces, leaving a narrow border. Top each with 2 slices tomato. Bake at 220°C for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Meanwhile, pat capers dry with paper towel. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add capers and fry for 3-4 minutes until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Top tartlets with flaked trout, capers and extra basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tip: Swap the trout with smoked salmon or leave the trout off altogether, for a vegetarian option.

Mocha mousse layered meringue cake


Serves: 12
Preparation time: 50 minutes + cooling time
Cooking time: 1 hour

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsps white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup flaked almonds
  • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 tbsp Italian marsala wine (optional)
  • 2 tsps instant espresso coffee powder
  • 200ml crème fraiche
  • 500g fresh mixed berries

To make meringue

Draw a 20cm circle on 3 pieces baking paper and line 3 baking trays. Preheat oven to 120°C.

Use an electric mixer to beat egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating well between additions until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thick and glossy.

Beat in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla until combined. Divide the meringue between the prepared trays and spread evenly to the edges of the circles. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake at 120°C for 50-60 minutes, rotating the trays every 20 minutes, or until firm to touch. Turn off oven. Leave meringues in the oven, with the door ajar, to cool completely.

To make chocolate cream

Bring 100ml of the cream, marsala and coffee powder just to the boil in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Beat the crème fraiche and the remaining cream together with an electric mixer until firm peaks just form. Do not over-beat. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and fold together until combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until thickened slightly, if necessary.

Place one meringue disk on a serving plate and spread with half the chocolate cream. Repeat with remaining meringue and chocolate cream, finishing with the last meringue. Scatter with berries and serve.

Tip: Use a few dollops of meringue to stick the baking paper to the oven trays to help stop the paper slipping when you spread the meringue.

The chocolate cream can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Assemble the cake close to serving time and if berries are abundant, add a few between the layers as well.

Recipes courtesy: Dairy Australia

READ ALSO: Making a gingerbread house is easy…

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