Gordan Ramsay's Christmas bombe and other festive party recipes
Top chef Gordon Ramsay is the ideal man to offer recipes to spoil your guests with, and the impressive, festive dessert can be made in advance if you have your eye on New Year's Eve catering too!
With a surprise frozen creamy filling dotted with sweet festive ingredients, this is a great dessert for Christmas. It looks impressive and, best of all, it can be made well in advance and kept in the freezer for up to a month. For a speedy cheat's version, you could replace my creamy meringue filling with good-quality ready-made ice-cream.
You will need
400g good-quality chocolate Swiss roll (jumbo size)
390g jar cherries in kirsch-flavoured syrup
180g caster sugar
2 large egg whites
300ml double cream
50g preserved stem ginger in syrup, chopped, plus 1 tbsp syrup from the jar
1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
50g chopped mixed glacé fruit
30g marron glacé (optional), chopped
30g shelled pistachio nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Few redcurrant sprigs, to finish (optional)
Icing sugar, to dust (optional)
1. Line a 2-litre bowl with a double layer of cling film, leaving some excess overhanging the rim. Cut the Swiss roll into 1cm slices and use to line the base and sides of the bowl, cutting a few of the slices into pieces to fill the gaps as necessary. Drain the cherries, reserving the syrup. Drizzle the Swiss roll slices with the kirsch syrup, saving a few tablespoonfuls for the top. Set aside.
2. Put the sugar and water into a small heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat to dissolve. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup registers 120°C on a sugar thermometer. Meanwhile, in a clean large bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
3. When the sugar syrup is ready, gradually pour onto the egg whites in a steady stream, whisking as you do so. Continue to whisk until the meringue has doubled in volume and the sides of the bowl no longer feels hot.
4. In another bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the ginger syrup and orange liqueur, followed by the meringue. Taste and sweeten with a little more ginger syrup if required. Stir through the cherries, chopped ginger, glacé fruit, marron glacé, if using, and chopped pistachios. Spoon into the Swiss roll-lined bowl and level the top.
5. Cover with the remaining Swiss roll slices, cutting them to fit as necessary. Drizzle with the rest of the kirsch syrup, then fold the excess cling film over the top to seal.
6. Place a flat plate on top (one that just fits inside the rim) and weigh it down with a heavy tin. Chill for an hour, then remove the weight, wrap and freeze the bombe.
7. To serve, unwrap the bombe and place on a flat plate or cake stand. Decorate with sprigs of redcurrants dusted with icing sugar if you like, or serve it just as it is. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before slicing.
These savoury cheese puffs may look plain, but they are truly scrumptious. They do, however, need to be eaten soon after baking, otherwise they will lose their crispness. However, you can prepare the choux pastry ahead - even pipe the gougères and refrigerate them on the baking sheets for several hours. Bake straight from the fridge, allowing an extra few minutes in the oven.
You will need
80g unsalted butter, diced
125g plain flour
pinch of sea salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
75g Stilton, crumbled
1 Pour the milk and water into a medium saucepan and add the butter. Warm over a low heat until the butter has melted. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
2 Once the butter has melted, increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil. As soon as the liquid starts to bubble, turn off the heat and tip in the flour and salt all at once. Beat the mixture quickly with a wooden spoon until it forms a paste that comes away from the sides of the pan. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
3 Transfer the choux pastry to a food processor, add the eggs and cheese and blend until smooth. (The pastry can be wrapped and chilled at this stage for up to 24 hours.)
4 Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe walnut-sized mounds onto a non-stick baking sheet. Dab down the tips of each mound with a dampened finger. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until risen, golden brown and crisp. 5 Let the gougères cool slightly for a few minutes, then serve.
Paprika chicken with aïoli
These Spanish-style chicken skewers, served with a lovely unctuous aïoli, are perfect party fare. To save time on the day, marinate the chicken and make the aïoli the day before. Keep any extra aïoli in the fridge to serve with seafood, a fish stew or grilled meats.
Makes 24 short skewers.
You will need
450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ tsp dried oregano
1/3 tsp celery salt
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Aïoli
2 medium egg yolks
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Pinch of saffron strands
1-2 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
100ml vegetable oil
100ml light olive oil
1. Soak 24 short bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 20 minutes. Cut the chicken into 2.5cm pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, including a good pinch each of salt and pepper, and mix well.
2. Thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked bamboo skewers and place on a plate. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
3. To make the aïoli, blend the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, saffron and 1 tbsp lemon juice together in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the oils through the funnel in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding a little more lemon juice to sharpen the flavour if you like. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.
4. When you are ready to serve, heat up a griddle pan or the grill. Lightly drizzle the chicken skewers with a little olive oil and griddle or grill for 6-8 minutes, turning several times, until cooked all the way through. Serve the skewers on a large platter with the aïoli alongside for dipping.