Sweet festive flavours, fun and egg-citement
While eggs usually bring one particular holiday to mind, they should in fact make us think of every holiday and festivity! Food is integral to celebrations and eggs are the invisible miracle running through it all – can you imagine eating a Christmas pudding without a velvety egg custard, Hanukkah without that beautiful egg-bread, challah, or a Scot without a Scotch egg or two
The festive season is a time to indulge, which means cakes and desserts are definitely on the menu. And while there are some interesting vegan alternatives, baking with eggs adds a richness and luxe mouthfeel that just can’t be beat.
We all love a festive get-together, whether it’s a beach braai with friends, a brunch with mom, or the cook-for-days Christmas extravaganza. Through it all, eggs are always there – adding that pop of brightness to braai potato salad, taking the star turn in quiche or shakshuka at brunch and binding all our over-indulgence dreams together at the Christmas dessert table (the only course we’re really waiting for anyway!)
Any idea which sweet treats you’ll be serving? While custard is always a must, there are exciting new – as well as many revered – egg-based desserts you should consider this year.
Right on trend and taking the world by storm – and our taste buds really can’t wait – is Basque Baked Cheesecake. Originally from the Basque area of northern Spain, this delight has no crust, is dark and deeply caramelised and will be your new favourite from the very first soft, silky bite!
Then add to the banquet of sweets and puds a round of Individual Tiramisu & Caramel Trifles, a traditional egg and coffee custard with sweet sponge biscuits, all served fabulously chilled, making it perfect for our hot South African December – and blissfully easy to prep-ahead. This 1960s invention from the Veneto region of Italy is pure indulgence, with eggs adding magic in their usual demure yet unmissable way.
Baked Coconut Pudding with Passionfruit Sauce is a wonderful self-saucing pud that you can even make on the braai – yes, no word of a lie there! And everyone will be clamouring for seconds of its warm, cakey pleasure.
Not a fan of warm puddings in summer? Then it just has to be light and luscious White Chocolate Semi Freddo with Roast Peaches. This is a soft Italian ice cream that’s divine with any of the flavoursome fruit you can get your hands on at this time of year – mangoes, strawberries, nectarines, you name it!
And when your sweet-tooth has been satisfied, it’s good to remember that eggs are a clever, healthy way to snatch a quick meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner – between the many moments of celebration and revelry. That they cook in next to no time and always taste great are simply festive gifts from the gods. Happy holidays!
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FESTIVE SEASON DESSERT RECIPES
BASQUE BURNT CHEESECAKE
The Basque Burnt Cheesecake with its dark, cracked top crust is trending globally. This delightful creation could be called an anti-cheesecake as it is almost opposite to a traditional cheesecake. Minus a biscuit base or a soft creamy centre but with an added heavily caramelised top it’s extremely delicious and will have you looking at cheesecake with renewed appetite!
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 14 hours
· 6 large eggs, at room temperature
· 4 x 250g blocks full-fat cream cheese (room temperature)
· 225g caster sugar
· Pinch of salt
· 150g thick cream
· 300g pouring cream
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 60g plain flour
You will need:
· 2 sheets baking paper (not wax wrap)
· 24cm springform tin
1. Before you start it is imperative that the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C and place oven rack in the centre of the oven.
3. Line a 25cm loose bottom springform cake pan with 2 sheets of baking paper, making sure the paper overlaps. Use the bottom of the cake tin to press the paper into the pan and then use your hands to crease the sides of the paper to hold its shape. Once the paper is moulded to the tin, you can remove the bottom and the paper and then reattach the bottom to the pan, placing the paper on top. Don’t worry about the creases and folds, it is part of the charm. Place the tin on a baking sheet.
4. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend on medium speed until smooth. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes to allow the bubbles to subside.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the oven.
6. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes, until golden brown and firm with a slight jiggle in the centre. The cheesecake will puff up like a soufflé during baking and collapse when removed from the oven, this is completely normal and creates the distinct cracked and rustic looking top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
7. Before serving, remove from the refrigerator and allow enough time to reach room temperature. Cut into thin slices with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.
INDIVIDUAL TIRAMISU & CARAMEL TRIFLES
Classic egg and coffee custard makes a stunning summer dessert
Preparation time: 30 – 40 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 6 – 12 hours
Total Time: 7 – 12 hours
· 3 whole eggs, at room temperature
· ½ cup (110g) caster sugar
· 1 tsp. vanilla extract
· 250g mascarpone, room temperature
· 1 cup black coffee, preferably filter coffee hot and strong
· ¼ cup caramel condensed milk (Carmel Treat) optional
· 200g (24 – 30) sponge fingers, Boudoir biscuits
· Cocoa , for dusting
1. Start by making the coffee and caramel biscuits. Spread half the biscuits with the caramel and sandwich together with another biscuit. Mix coffee and liquor together. Quickly dip the sandwiched biscuits into the coffee and line the bottom of individual serving glasses, break in half if necessary to fit snugly into the glasses. Dust with cocoa powder.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water with an electric beater on high speed until it changes to a very light, pale yellow (almost white), and is thick and voluminous (called ribbon stage as it leaves a ribbon trail in the mixture). Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the mascarpone.
3. Add the vanilla and half the mascarpone, fold in until combined and smooth, and beat in the remaining mascarpone taking care not to deflate the mixture too much.
4. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the biscuits then top with another layer of coffee dipped biscuits and dust with cocoa powder, then spread with remaining cream.
5. Cover, refrigerate for at least 4 – 5 hours, preferably overnight.
6. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving or after placing onto serving plates.
BAKED COCONUT PUDDING WITH PASSIONFRUIT SAUCE
A take on the traditional Lemon Delicious, and can even be made on the braai
Serves: 4 – 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 35 – 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
· 4 whole eggs, at room temperature
· 125g butter, at room temperature (very important )
· 200g caster sugar
· 75g self-raising flour
· 75g desiccated coconut
· 1 tsp. vanilla extract
· 400ml full cream milk
· 2 – 3 passionfruit, juice and pips
· 150g castor sugar
· Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
· 1 teaspoon cornflour
1. Grease a 20cm pie dish which will fit in a roasting tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a water bath by filling a roasting tin with boiling water that will come half way up the sides of the pie dish
2. Place the first 6 pudding ingredients in a food processor and whizz for 2 minutes until smooth and combined. Slowly pour the milk through the feeder tube with the motor running (do this slowly to avoid splattering) blend for a minute until combined and a smooth batter. Do not be concerned if the mixture looks a little curdled, it will come together when baked.
3. Pour the coconut batter into the pie dish and place in the bain-marie. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the pudding is set. It will be golden on top with a luscious custard underneath. Serve with crème fraiche and the passionfruit sauce.
4. To make the sauce heat the passionfruit juice and pips in a small saucepan with the sugar and lemon, mix the cornflour with a teaspoon of water and a tablespoon of the passionfruit syrup, make sure it is well blended and pour into the passionfruit syrup and stir over low – medium heat until thickened.
To make the recipe on a Weber or a gas braai with a lid, place the roasting tin on the grid of the braai, close the lid and set the temperature to 180°C and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, checking after 35 minutes.
WHITE CHOCOLATE SEMI FREDDO WITH ROAST PEACHES
A frozen Italian “ice cream” meaning semi frozen. Light and refreshing, quick, easy and no ice cream maker necessary. Serve with your favourite seasonal fruit such as roast strawberries, grilled stone fruit or mango cheeks.
Serves: 6 – 8
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours and 40 minutes
· 500ml pouring cream
· 2 vanilla bean pods
· 6 large eggs
· 125g caster sugar
· ½ cup (85g) Good quality white chocolate pieces
· 375ml whipping cream, divided
· ½ cup (80g) icing sugar
· Extra white chocolate for grating as garnish, optional
1. Line a 2 litre loaf tin with plastic wrap.
2. Start by making the custard; in a bowl whisk the eggs together until well combined. In a double boiler scald the milk with the vanilla pods, remove the pods and scrape out the seeds adding to the warm milk (the pods can be reserved for flavouring castor sugar).
3. Add the sugar and eggs to the milk and whisk continually until the custard thickens. Remove and cover with cling wrap and cool to room temperature. The plastic wrap helps prevent a skin forming on the custard which will cause lumps in your mixture.
4. Melt the chocolate with 100ml of the cream. Whip the remaining cream until soft peaks form and add the icing sugar. Temper the melted chocolate by adding a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream into the melted chocolate (this will prevent shocking the chocolate and causing it to seize). Whisk the melted chocolate into the whipped cream. Whisk the chocolate cream into the cooled custard and pour into the lined baking tin.
5. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight. To serve turn the loaf tin onto a serving platter, remove tin and peel away the plastic wrap. Cut into slices and serve with seasonal fruit, and garnish with grated white chocolate.
6. To make the roasted peaches or seasonal stone fruit (apricots, plums or nectarines work well): Cut peaches in half and place skin side down in a roasting dish, sprinkle with castor sugar and pour in 150 ml rose wine or apple juice. Roast at 200°C for 15 – 20 mins until soft. Serve with the semi freddo.
Sweet festive flavours, fun and egg-citement