The best Christmas sweet treats by Orna Larkin - pastry chef at Dublin's InterContinental Hotel
Push the boat out and try your hand at creating a little five-star luxury for your sweet-toothed guests with tempting recipes from Orna Larkin, pastry chef at the InterContinental Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin.
Lemon and Cinnamon Pudding
1l double cream
4 lemons, zested
150g brown sugar
For the fig jam
00ml orange juice
500g dried figs
1. Place the cream, lemon zest, sugar and cinnamon in a pot and bring to the boil. Mix the cornflour with a little bit of water (40ml) to make a loose paste, add to the boiling mixture and whisk well. Take off the heat and strain immediately (it will set quite quickly). Pour into glasses and place in the fridge to cool.
2. To make the fig jam, place both the orange juice and figs in a pot and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook until the figs start to break apart. Place the whole mixture in a blender and blitz until smooth. Place a thin layer of fig jam on top of your lemon pudding once cool. Serve with a decoration on top.
Christmas tree Ginger Yoghurt Pannacotta
100g double cream
100g brown sugar
5g ground ginger
11g gelatin leaves
500g greek yoghurt (plain)
For the gingerbread biscuits
125g brown sugar
225g golden syrup
475g plain flour
5g ground ginger
5g ground cinnamon
For glaze 430g sugar
350g double cream
60g dark chocolate
Green food colouring as needed
1. Put the cream, brown sugar and ground ginger in a pot and bring to the boil while stirring. While this is heating place your gelatin leaves in cold water, and leave them there until they go limp and jelly-like. This is called blooming.
2. Once boiled, remove from the heat and add the bloomed gelatin, stirring until completely dissolved.
3. Cool the mixture down to room temperature (a hot mixture will split the yoghurt) and whisk into the Greek yoghurt.
4. Pour into a clingfilm-lined container and freeze. Once frozen, remove the pannacotta from the container and, using a Christmas tree-shaped cutter, cut the pannacotta.
5. The pannacotta Christmas trees can be glazed straight from the freezer.
For the biscuit base
1. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup.
2. Add the egg.
3. Add all of the dry ingredients.
4. Once a dough is formed, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least half an hour.
5. Roll out your dough and using the same Christmas tree cutter cut out your biscuits and place back in the fridge for a further 10 minutes to ensure that the cookies do not shrink while they bake.
6. Bake at 170ºC for 10 minutes.
For the glossy green glaze
1. Put the sugar in a pot with the water and cook until a light brown caramel. Bring to 145ºC.
2. Whisk together the cream and the cornflour.
3. Slowly and carefully pour the cream into the caramel, whisking as you go. Once combined remove from the heat.
4. Bloom the gelatin as in the above recipe, and once bloomed add the gelatin to the caramel mixture.
5. Pour the mixture over the dark chocolate to melt and whisk together
6. Add the green food colouring until you are happy with the final colour. This glaze is quite dark as a result of the caramel and the dark chocolate, so quite a bit of food colouring will be needed to achieve a nice deep forest green.
7. Cool your glaze to 28ºC, and pour over your frozen yoghurt pannacotta, using a rack with a tray underneath to catch all unused glaze. Place your pannacotta on your gingerbread biscuits and wait until they are thoroughly defrosted before serving.
8. This glaze can be used and reheated several times with little to no effect on its performance, so make sure to keep the glaze that falls onto the tray for later use!
Christmas Pudding Cheesecake
250g double cream
250g Christmas Pudding, homemade or shop-bought
375g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
For the speculoo biscuits
150g brown sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
1. Put the cream and Christmas pudding (roughly chopped) in a pot and bring to the boil.
2. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water until they are soft and jelly-like.
3. Add the bloomed gelatin to the warm cream once the Christmas pudding has mostly broken down.
4. Whisk together the cream cheese and icing sugar. Combine all ingredients and gently whisk to ensure an even mixture.
5. At this point you can transfer your mix into silicone moulds, or go the more traditional route of making one large cheesecake with a biscuit base. If using moulds put the cheesecake into the freezer while you make the speculoos biscuits for the base.
For the speculoo biscuit base
1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
2. Add all other ingredients, combine to make a dough. Once you have made a dough, clingfilm it and place it in the fridge for at least half an hour.
3. Roll out your chilled dough and cut shapes suited to your mould.
4. Bake at 170ºC for 10 minutes.
To combine the elements, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and, while still frozen, take from the mould and place on the cooled biscuit. It is important the biscuit is cold as it will melt the cheesecake otherwise.
Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding
Half a shop-bought panettone
1l double cream
1 whole vanilla pod
500g egg yolk
1. Put the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds in a pot and bring to the boil.
2. Pour this mix over the egg yolks, and whisk.
3. Chop your panettone into 1 inch cubes and place them in your baking dish.
4. Pour over the cream mixture and bake at 140ºC for 25-35 minutes, or until only a slight jiggle can be seen in the middle of the pudding. Serve warm with custard.