By Cecelia Quant
It's time to get Christmassy! Here's the perfect recipe combo to get you feeling festive - a baked camembert and cranberry wreath, ginger sticky toffee pudding, and some blood orange and ginger punch.
Perfect for a little Christmas get together, this baked camembert with a cranberry pastry wreath looks like something straight out of a 70’s dinner party – super retro, but no less delicious or impressive. Try sprinkling some warming spices (ground clove, all spice, or even orange zest) over the cranberry sauce for an extra festive feel.
Baked Camembert and Cranberry Wreath
Makes enough for 8 to snack on.
2 packs of ready-rolled puff pastry
125g cranberry sauce
250g pack of camembert
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 sprig of rosemary
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
2. Score the rind on the surface of the camembert in a crosshatch pattern and poke garlic slices and some rosemary springs into each segment.
3. On a floured work surface, unroll your sheets of pastry and place one on top of the other. Place the camembert box in the centre of your pastry and, with a sharp knife, cut around the edge of the box to create a circle. Remove the pastry circle and set aside. You should now have a circular hole in your pastry which will fit the camembert in the centre.
4. Carefully lift off the top sheet of pastry and set aside. Dollop your cranberry sauce all over the bottom pastry and spread in an even layer. Season with salt and black pepper and then lay the other sheet of pastry on top, aligning the two circular cutouts. Place the unwrapped camembert into the box and then into the centre of the pastry.
5. With a sharp knife, cut a straight line from the outside edge of the cheese to the outer edge of the pastry. Repeat these cuts around the circumference of the pastry, making roughly 3cm segments. Twist each segment a few times along the length until you have something resembling a cheese straw and repeat across the pastry.
6. Brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg (ideally with a pastry brush, but a little teaspoon drizzled over would work as well) and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the surface of the camembert.
7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown and the cheese is gooey and bubbling.
8. Tear off a cranberry straw and dip in!
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ginger
This is the ultimate comfort pudding that always reminds me of Christmas. The ginger adds a welcome spicy kick, and the toffee sauce is pretty much liquid gold. Enjoy in your pyjamas, sat in front of the tv, with the jug of extra sauce close enough to reach. Feel free to use crystalised ginger (about 100g, chopped up) instead of stem ginger if you can’t find it.
Makes enough for about 6.
For the sponge:
75g unsalted butter, softened
150g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 bulbs of stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped.
For the toffee sauce:
110g unsalted butter, softened
250g light brown sugar
400ml double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
Salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a shallow, ovenproof baking dish with butter.
2. To make the sponge, combine the softened butter and light brown sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs, black treacle, vanilla, and milk and mix until combined. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the chopped ginger. Mix until you get a smooth batter. You may think it looks too loose – don’t worry, the pudding will firm up in the oven!
3. Pour the mixture into your ovenproof dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until the pudding is well risen, a burnished brown colour and is pulling away from the sides of the dish.
4. Time to get saucy! Simply combine the soft butter, light brown sugar, vanilla, cream, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan and gently heat over a medium-low flame until the butter has melted. Keep at a boil for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Once the sponge is ready, use the pointed end of a wooden spoon (or some similar utensil) to poke holes into the pudding and then pour half of your sauce over the pudding. Serve warm, straight from the dish and with extra sauce to pour over.
Blood Orange and Ginger Punch
One of my favourite cocktails, a Moscow Mule gets a glittery, festive upgrade. Of course, feel free to modify the amount of vodka to your liking and alcohol tolerance; just make sure that you get the right balance of bright citrus and fiery ginger which will hopefully balance out the flavour of the Sainsbury’s Triple Distilled Vodka you are inevitably using.
Makes about 1.5 litres
420ml blood orange juice (can easily swap for regular orange juice)
560ml ginger beer
2 limes, juiced
60ml elderflower liqueur (optional)
1 orange, sliced (for garnish)
A handful of mint (for garnish)
1. Fill your jug with a couple of handfuls of ice and then simply pour in the vodka, blood orange juice, ginger beer, lime juice and elderflower liqueur, if using. Give everything a good stir and put it in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to serve.
2. To serve, fill short, tumbler-style glasses with a few ice cubes, pour over a healthy glug of punch, and garnish with a slice of orange and a sprig of mint.
featured images: Cecelia Quant
Who's receiving an invite to your festive feast?