Keep everyone really sweet with dessert

Looking for some inspiration for Christmas Day dessert, check out this Apple and Mincemeat Cake recipe by Evening Echo columnist, Mercy Fenton and a 
Keep everyone really sweet with dessert
Apple and Mincemeat Cake by Mercy Fenton Picture: Dan Linehan




200gr Suet

200gr Mixed peel

200gr Currants

200gr sultanas

200gr Raisins

200gr Light Brown sugar

Zest and juice of ½ an orange

Zest and juice of ½ Lemon

1 cooking apple grated

130 ml Rum

130 ml Whiskey

1 ½ cans Guinness

Mix all the ingredients together and let them sit tightly covered for a few weeks.



175gr Self Raising Flour

1 tsp baking powder

50 gr Golden brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1 egg

100ml Milk

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Grated zest of 1 lime

50r Butter cold

1 tsp. vanilla extract

250 to 300-gr Mincemeat

3 to 4 Granny smith apples peeled and cut in wedges.


40 gr melted butter

60 to 70 gr Demerara sugar


Preheat the oven to 200C.

Butter a 10inch x 2in deep pie dish.

Sieve the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.

Using a spade attachment, mix in the cold butter until it resembles fine crumb.

Next add all the wet ingredients and the zest.

Beat until smooth and a little light.

Scrape into the prepared dish and spread evenly.

Spread the mincemeat over the top of the batter.

Top with the slices of apple laid out in concentric rings.

Brush the top of the apple with the melted butter and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the apples are golden brown and the cake mixture is cooked.

Eat hot or cold, it is delicious with custard.

Egg custard:


6 Egg Yolks

300ml Milk

150ml Cream

100gr Sugar

1 Vanilla pod


Whisk the sugar and the yolks in a basin.

Boil the milk, cream with the split vanilla pod, and stir it onto egg yolk mixture.

Return to a clean saucepan and place on a low heat.

Stir until it thickens, that is visibly coats the back of a spoon. (If it boils. the egg yolks in it will curdle so don’t be tempted to cook over full heat).

Pass through a fine strainer and chill quickly or serve immediately.

You can email Mercy Fenton at


Frosted Meringue Christmas Pudding Darina Allen
Frosted Meringue Christmas Pudding Darina Allen


Ingredients (Serves 6)

150g (5oz) hazelnut meringue (recipe below)

1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind

1/2–1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

600ml (1 pint) softly whipped cream

150g (5oz) good-quality dark chocolate (we use Callebaut 52%), chopped

10g (1/2oz) toasted, skinned hazelnuts or hazelnut praline

It’s fun to bring this chocolate-covered ‘pudding’ to the table with sparklers on top. Other meringue flavours may also be used, but we love this combination.


Line a 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding bowl with a double thickness of cling film.

First make the hazelnut meringue (see below). Break the hazelnut meringue into chunks and put into a wide bowl. Sprinkle the orange rind and ground cinnamon over the meringue and fold in the whipped cream. Pour into the lined pudding bowl, pressing down well. Cover with cling film and freeze overnight.

To serve, put the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl set over hot water.

Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and allow the chocolate to gently melt in the residual heat. Allow the chocolate to cool a little while you turn the frozen meringue pudding out onto a cold serving plate. Pour the chocolate over the pudding, allowing it to drop down the edges (the chocolate will go solid).

Decorate with the toasted hazelnuts or hazelnut praline and sprinkles or sparklers and serve immediately.

Hazelnut Meringue:

40g (11/2oz) hazelnuts

125g (41/2oz) icing sugar, sieved

2 egg whites, preferably free-range and organic

These meringue discs, sandwiched together with cream and melted chocolate or chocolate spread and kumquat compôte, make an irresistible dessert.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the skins start to flake away and the nuts are golden.

Rub off the skins with a cloth and chop the hazelnuts roughly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Mark 2 x 19cm (71/2in) circles or heart shapes on silicone paper or a prepared baking sheet.

Check that your mixing bowl is dry, spotlessly clean and free of grease. Mix all the icing sugar with the egg whites at once and beat until the mixture forms stiff, dry peaks. Fold in the hazelnuts.

Divide the mixture between the two circles or heart shapes and spread evenly with a palette knife. Bake immediately in the cool oven for 45 minutes, until crisp — they should peel off the paper easily. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool, if possible in the oven.

Hazelnut Praline 110g (4oz) hazelnuts 110g (4oz) sugar Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the skins start to flake away and the nuts are golden.

Rub off the skins with a cloth and chop the hazelnuts roughly.

Put the hazelnuts and sugar into a heavy saucepan over a low heat until the sugar gradually melts and turns a caramel colour. When the caramel stage is reached, and not before, carefully rotate the pan until the nuts are all covered with caramel. When the nuts go ‘pop’, pour this mixture onto a Silpat mat (silicone mat) or a lightly oiled Swiss roll tin, marble slab or parchment-lined tray. Allow to get quite cold.

When the praline is hard, crush in a food processor or with a rolling pin – the texture should be coarse and gritty.

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