Recipe: I’m dreaming of a white... Christmas dessert!

Here are two stunning dessert options from Mercy Fenton, who writes a weekly column in The Echo, every Wednesday
Recipe: I’m dreaming of a white... Christmas dessert!

Hazelnut and Chocolate Alaska by Mercy Fenton

Here Echo columnist Mercy Fenton shares two Christmas desserts. 

For more  Christmas Food recipes see here


HAZELNUT AND CHOCOLATE ALASKA

I love the idea of Baked Alaska, hot meringue and cold ice cream, delicious – but the sponge bit has always put me off, so with a little invention by replacing the sponge with hazelnut meringue, we have an Alaska of sorts that is totally delicious.

This is a brilliant dessert for entertaining or a busy day as almost everything can be prepared in advance and frozen, then just finish in a very hot oven and serve. It really needs nothing else but a dollop of fresh whipped cream. A few stages involved but worth it.

Meringue disk

100 gr Egg white

200 gr Cater sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

60 gr blanched roasted hazelnuts roughly chopped

Method:

  • Draw a 3 circle’s on sheets of parchment. About 9½ inches in diameter.
  • For the meringue disk place the egg whites in a large clean bowl of an electric mixer and whisk them until they just form stiff peaks (it’s very important not to over-whisk the egg whites because, if you do, they will start to collapse).
  • Now start to whisk in the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is in.
  • Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth, thick and glossy, then fold in the blanched broken hazelnuts.
  • Next whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Fill the meringue into a piping bag it doesn’t matter if you have a plain or star nozzle just not too big.
  • Pipe two or three thin disks of meringue 9 ½ inches in diameter.
  • Bake @ 100 C for 1 ½ to 2 hours until dry through.
  • You will get extra meringue from this but it’s harder to make a tiny amount of meringue – so you can cook an extra disk or so for with cream and berries.
  • Line the base of a 10-inch spring form tin with a disk of parchment.
  • Place a disk of the cooked meringue inside.

Nutella Parfait

600ml Cream

125 g dark chocolate

100gr nutella

2 free range eggs

30gr Sugar

50 gr sugar

Method:

  • Put half the cream in a pan and heat gently. Meanwhile, put the chocolate and Nutella in a bowl.
  • When the cream is just simmering, pour over the chocolate and Nutella and leave it to melt, stirring ocassionally.
  • Once everything is melted and smooth you need to chill and stir regularly. It will thicken, don’t allow it to firm completely, once nearly ready prepare the egg yolk.
  • Separate your eggs ensure no yolk in whites. Put the egg yolks on to whisk on high speed.
  • Weigh out smaller quantity of sugar first; put in a small pot and add just enough water to dissolve it.
  • Put it on medium heat, ensure sugar is dissolved then increase heat and cook to softball – (quite thick syrup) you can check with a sugar thermometer if you have one. 235 F. Beat the yolks until they have doubled in volume.
  • Turn off mixer, and then carefully add the boiled sugar syrup. Whisk again until thick and the mixture cools.
  • Add to the cooled slightly thickened chocolate mixture.
  • Put the larger quantity of sugar on to cook as before.
  • When nearly ready put the egg whites on to whisk at high speed. When the sugar syrup has reached softball, Stop the mixer, and then carefully add the boiled sugar syrup. Continue to whisk until cooled.
  • Fold the egg white into the yolk mixture, once evenly distributed with no lumps Whip the cream to soft peaks then fold in to the mixture.
  • Scrape half the mixture onto the base meringue base and top with the 2nd disk of meringue.
  • Scrape in the remainder and finally cover with the 3rd disk of meringue.
  • Place in the freezer to freeze fully. Once frozen release from the tin, you can finish with meringue and hold in the freezer or finish and cook immediately.

For the Italian meringue

200g (or ¾ cup) granulated sugar

90ml (or ¼ cup) water

90g free range egg whites (about 3 medium egg whites)

Method:

VANILLA, MOCHA AND &BAILEYS CHEESECAKE

Oh my, this is luscious! This is a rich, creamy and light cheesecake, the gorgeous flavours really complement each other. A wonderful cheesecake for a special occasion or celebration. Christmas is coming after all.

Read the recipe through fully before starting so when it comes to finishing the cheesecake you are ready to work quickly and understand what you need to do. You will get a superb result for just a little extra effort.

Vanilla, Mocha & Baileys Cheesecake

Line the base of a 9inch spring form tin with a disk of parchment paper.

For the base:

360 gr Digestive Biscuits crushed

95 gr Dark Chocolate drops

70 g butter

For the base:

  • Melt the chocolate and butter over a Bain Marie of water. Once melted and smooth add the biscuit and mix well.
  • Press well into the sides of the tin first then the base smooth with the back of a spoon, chill.

For the cheesecake

245 g Cream Cheese

150g Caster Sugar

2 ½ leaves Gelatine

50ml Water

380 ml Cream whipped

To Flavour:

A. 1 to 2 tsp. vanilla extract (let personal preference dictate here)

B. 50gr Dark chocolate and 25ml hot cream, ½ tsp. instant coffee powder

C. 20ML Baileys Liquor

Method:

  • Put the cream on to beat to stiff peaks then chill in the fridge Soak the gelatin in cold water to soften.
  • Using spade beat the cream cheese and sugar; don’t over mix it just needs to be smooth.
  • Soak the gelatin in cold water, once soft lift out the gelatin from cold water and squeeze to remove excess water.
  • Dissolve the gelatin in the boiled water.
  • Add the dissolved gelatin to the cream cheese mix. Chill the mix until it begins to thicken and set.
  • While it is setting up melt the chocolate (microwave or bain-marie) then add the hot cream and coffee powder. Stir well.
  • Check the chilling cream cheese mixture often, once it is starting to thicken a bit remove from the fridge and gently whisk in the whipped cream. It should be quiet thick.
  • Working quickly, take out 410gr of the mix and fold in the vanilla extract. Spoon it onto the base of the cheesecake, trying to push it a little up the sides if set enough.
  • Next take out a further 270gr of the mix and fold into the melted chocolate and coffee mixture. (Mocha) Spoon onto the Vanilla layer, spread gently and allow a dip in the very center of the cheesecake for the final layer.
  • Then add the baileys to the remaining mix, fold in and add on top of the mocha layer.
  • Smooth evenly without upsetting the layers. Refrigerate until set.
  • To serve remove from the tin, release the sides with a small hot dry knife and release the sides. Cut each portion with a hot dry knife.

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