Another early morning, sitting at my computer, wrapped in my very warm dressing gown and fluffy slippers. I sleep well, but once I wake up, that’s it – I can’t get back to sleep. One positive aspect of this is that I see the most incredible sunrises over Hornsea – this week it has been a sort of watery purple sky, punctuated by streaks so pink it made me smile – it was simply beautiful. So if you went past my window at 5.00am you would see my head looking intently at my computer screen – searching out recipes, classic old ones (I love Historical cookery books), old favourites and brand new recipes that appeal to me. I class this as ‘My Time’. My time to research, my time to write my posts, my time to plan what will hopefully be our new kitchen, and especially our new Garden Room.
But this morning it is ‘Christmas Recipes to Freeze Ahead: Part 3.
I’m starting off with a dessert by James Martin, and it’s taken from Good Food. This looks and sound delicious, and can be made a month ahead and frozen. With a busy Christmas coming up, dishes like this can really take the pressure off the cook (or cooks) in the house.
Iced Nougat & Raspberry Terrine
This is another Christmas recipe to freeze ahead, an invaluable asset for a busy cook. It sounds absolutely delicious, and I am definitely going to freeze one. You could also decorate it with some fresh berries on the top and a few washed mint leaves. It would look very Christmassy then.
- 440g frozen raspberries, defrosted
- 50g icing sugar
- 300g nougat (recommends using honey & almond bars from Waitrose)
- 450ml double cream
- 25g whole almonds, skin on
- 25g pistachios, plus a few extra to decorate
- Whisk the raspberries and icing sugar together in a food processor, then sieve, pressing through as much raspberry as you can with a wooden spoon.
- Line a 2lb loaf tin with cling film - it helps if you brush the tin with oil first to get the cling film to stick and stay in place.
- Pour in the raspberry sauce and freeze for an hour.
- Quickly dip the nougat bars in water - this should allow you to peel away the rice paper: don't worry if you don't get it as it will disappear when melted. Put the bars into a pan with 200ml cream. Melt over a low heat stirring constantly and using a wooden spoon to break up the nougat into smaller bits as it softens.
- After a while you should end up with a smooth, sticky creamy mixture. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.
- In a large mixing bowl whip the remaining cream until it reaches stiff peaks.
- When the nougat is cooler, but still soft and sauce-like, fold it one-third at a time into the whipped cream. Scatter over the whole nuts and fold once to mix.
- Scrape into the loaf tin, cover with sling film and freeze overnight, or for up to one month.
- Transfer the loaf to the fridge 15 mins before you want to serve it. Unwrap and turn out onto a serving plate. Peel off the cling film, roughly chop a few extra pistachios and scatter over before slicing. Enjoy.
The next recipe isn’t one to freeze ahead, but you can make up the mixture and chill it for 2 days before baking. So I thought it was almost as good as freezing ahead. This a the sort of thing you suddenly want to eat with a cup of tea, or espresso coffee, or if you really insist with a glass of sweet Christmassy dessert wine. These are little light cakes that may be just what you want as a change from all the rich Christmas food. A Friand is a small, light mini cake, usually made with ground almonds, flour and egg whites, and as the word Friand in French means ‘dainty’ or ‘a gourmet who delights in delicate tastes’, I believe it means you eat these little cakes daintily, with your fingers! I’m all for that! Many flavours can be added to them, but these below are full of Christmas Spices. They are traditionally baked in an almost oval tin, but small bun tins will do the job if you can’t find oval ones. (See more about the tins at the end of the article.)
Christmas Spice Friands
This recipe, Christmas Spiced Friands, is one where you can prepare the mixture and chill it 2 days ahead of baking it, so this is a useful one to have around Christmas time, and one less to think about until you want to bake the little spicy friands.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 6 egg whites
- 75g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch ground ginger
- 200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 140g grounds almonds
- Heat oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat until foaming and browned. Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve, then leave to cool. Discard the white solids, leaving only the melted butter.
- Grease 10 holes of a friand or muffin tin with a little of the butter.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until just frothy. Sift over the flour, spices and icing sugar. Scatter with ground almonds and pour in the cooled butter.
- Fold into the egg whites and mix until smooth and lump-free. You can chill the friand for 2 days before baking.
- Fill each hole with some of the mix and place the tin or tins on a baking sheet. Bake for 18 - 20 mins until the friands have risen and are golden and springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack. Eat slightly warm or completely cool, but the friands are best eaten on the day of baking.
- Dust with icing sugar before serving with Chestnut Fool (recipe following).
This next recipe goes brilliantly with the Christmas Spiced Friands – in fact it would go well with lots of lovely food such as a strong, rich chocolate cake or mousse, or with rich vanilla ice-cream.
There is no picture of it on its own, but in the Friand picture, it is the small, silver bowl on the left of the picture.
- 250ml double cream
- 6 tbsp sweetened chestnut puree
- 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier or Brandy
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 250ml Greek Yoghurt
- Whisk the cream, chestnut puree, sugar, Grand Marnier and cinnamon together until it forms soft peaks.
- Fold through the yoghurt and spoon into a serving dish.
- Chill until ready to serve with the friands. And Enjoy.
This next recipe in our Christmas Recipes to Freeze Ahead is one that can be made up and frozen for a month, so it’s perfect for Christmas.
Brandy & Vanilla Butter
This is a great recipe for Brandy & Vanilla Butter. Ideal for melting over your Chrismas Pudding, or melt it over warm Mince Pies. Heavenly!
- 200 g salted butter, softenned
- 175g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste, or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
- 5 - 7 tbsp brandy (to suit your taste)
- Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until pale, then whisk in the brandy, one tbsp at a time until you are happy with the taste.
- Scrape into a serving bowl and chill for one hour - or for up to 3 days before serving.
- This will freeze for up to a month.
I’ve been searching for the Friand tins or moulds – traditionally oval in shape. Lakeland did stock these moulds but have discontinued them, Divertimenti (who normally have everything) don’t appear to stock them either. But I have found a company who have made a silicone mould for Friands, so they should be very easy to turn out.
So these are the Pink silicone moulds in the oval shape for traditional Friands. This company makes all sorts of great moulds for baking, chocolate and sweet making. I’ve only just come across it, and, still in my dressing gown, I’m like a little kid in a sweet shop. The pink mould are £5 .10 p, and there is another black mould for Friands as well. Have a look at them all if you’re into a baking mood. It won’t disappoint you.