A Christmas Cracker!
My sweet tooth really is in its element at this time of year, however, I am always looking to spice up traditional recipes we see repeatedly year in, year out.
I love retro desserts and the nostalgia they bring, and christmas seems the perfect time to enjoy these pleasures without the guilt. The humble trifle or the classic christmas pudding are festive staples but are sometimes lacking in imagination.
This is how I arrived at my lasted festive recipe of mini baked alaskas using christmas pudding ice cream, spiced sponge, sharp marmalade and golden meringue – these little gems really are a treat for the eyes and stomach.
Taking traditional flavours so common to this time of year, this dessert offers the tastes of christmas without the heavy tendencies of a traditional christmas pudding; making it the perfect dessert after your turkey stuffing!
I used a fantastic christmas pudding ice cream from local producers Granny Gothards which is packed full of plump fruits and brandy flavours all churned into a deliciously creamy ice cream. However, this dessert works perfectly with any flavoured ice cream, matching your sponge to complement the flavours;
Clotted cream ice cream with traditional Victoria sponge and strawberry jam
Chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate orange sponge and nutella
Banoffee ice cream with banana sponge and caramel sauce
Make in advance and bring to the table one Christmas day to add a little sparkle to the festivities!
- 500ml tub ice cream (I used Granny Gothards Christmas Pudding ice cream)
- 6oz butter
- 11oz caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Juice of 1/2 orange
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 eggs
- 6oz self raising flour
- 1.5oz dried cranberries
- Dash of milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 dessert spoons marmalade
- Line four small ramekins with cling film before dividing the ice cream equally between each one. Smooth the top and ensure the ice cream is well compressed into the ramekins with no gaps – cover with the surplus cling film and freeze until firm again (they are best left over night).
- Cream together the butter, 6 oz of sugar, and the ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice, orange and 1 tsp vanilla until light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs one by one until fully combined – add a sprinkling of flour at every addition to ensure the mixture does not curdle. Fold in the remaining flour and cranberries, along with a dash of milk to form a loose batter. Pour into a lined baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°c/gas 4 for 15 minutes.
- Remove the sponge from the oven and allow to fully cool. Once the sponge is cold, cut out circles of sponge the same circumference as the ramekins (you will have plenty of spare sponge to nibble on!). Once fully firm, take the ramekins out of the freezer and smooth a dessert spoon of marmalade on top of the ice cream (this will work as an adhesive between the ice cream and sponge). Top with your sponge round, pressing down firmly before covering again and returning to the freezer whilst you make the meringue.
- At this stage – the alaskas can be frozen for a week.
- Separate the remain 3 eggs reserving the whites is a meticulously clean bowl. Whisk the whites until light and fluffy before gradually adding the remaining sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Continually whisk until the mixture is smooth, glossy and holding form. Spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle, unless you wish to cover your alaskas simply with a palate knife.
- Remove the alaskas from the freezer and turn out onto a board. Discard of the cling film and carefully pipe the meringue onto the set ice cream – it is best you do this one by one, leaving the remaining alaskas in the freezer to avoid them melting (once covered in meringue the alaska can be popped in the freezer again and removed when ready to serve). Brown off the meringue ideally using a blow torch, or alternatively place the on a tray and into a very hot oven for 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.