A Collection of Holiday Feasting Recipes – Chapter 2 of 7 – Favourite Desserts

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This chapter could also be called – Dessert Me and Make it Delicious.

There are so many calories floating around over the holidays, it pays to be wise and choose your dessert indulgences carefully. The recipes included here fit that criteria. They are definitely delicious and oh so worth the splurge.

Note: These recipes are part of my holiday recipe collection. They are tastes my family loves, and I’ve made every attempt to give proper credit to the creators.

Chocolate Orange Slice recipe
Chocolate Orange Slice – photo – Karen Anderson

Chocolate Orange Slice

This recipe is a successful riff on that old time favourite involving chocolate wafers and whip cream. Super easy and super delish.

Time: 20 minutes plus overnight in the refrigerator
Yield: 6 servings

Start this recipe the day before you want to serve it. It’s really easy to make – just a little cream to whip, some assembly–and then pop it in the fridge and pull it out to decorate it just before serving.

1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure orange essence oil
1/2 lb arrowroot, tea biscuits or Marie biscuits
chocolate shavings
Zest of 2 oranges

  1. Whip the cream and add the icing sugar and orange oil at the point where soft peaks are forming. Continue until the peaks are firm.
  2. Spread the whip cream between the biscuits forming a row on a plate until all the biscuits are used. Note: Save about half of the whip cream to decorate the outer layer the next day. Wrap the roll of cookies and whip cream in foil and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Before serving, remove the cookie roll from the refrigerator and arrange it on a serving platter. Spread the remaining whip cream on the outside and decorate with the chocolate shavings and orange zest.
  4. Enjoy cold – cut into desired serving sizes.

Chocolate Volcanoes with Raspberry Coulis

Yield: 6 servings
You’ll need: 6 ramekins

This is an old Best of Bridge recipe that my friend Heather Conradson introduced me to. Some people are “over” molten chocolate lava cakes. I never will be. Especially during the holidays because you can make these tasty beauties ahead, freeze them and pop them into the oven for exceptionally easy entertaining. Heather made about 20 of them and brought them to my house for a party. That’s not something everyone would be brave enough to try but they turned out wonderfully well and I’ve been hooked on them ever since. There’s a reason why those Best of Bridge women sold millions of copies of their cookbooks.

For the cakes
1½ Tablespoons instant espresso granules
1 Tablespoon boiling water
½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
⅔ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
For the Raspberry Coulis
10½ ounce pkg frozen raspberries, thawed
⅓ cup sugar
1to 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier Liqueur

  1. Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water, set aside to cool.
  2. Grease 6, 4-ounce ramekins with butter or cooking spray.
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder in a small bowl. Reserve.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add the butter and sugar, stirring until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat in the eggs 1 at a time on medium speed.
  5. Add the dissolved coffee followed by the flour mixture and continue beating until fully mixed. Raise the mixer speed to high and beat for 6 more minutes.
  6. Pour the batter into the ramekins and tightly wrap with plastic wrap.
  7. Freeze overnight or several months if you want.

For the Raspberry Coulis

  1. Combine the raspberries and sugar in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds. Add the liqueur and store in the refrigerator.

For the baking and assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Remove the ramekins from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 18 minutes (this may vary considerably depending on your oven).
  3. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. The outside should be crusty and the centre oozing with chocolate lava – like a volcano.
  4. Drizzle the servings plates with the raspberry coulis and invert each ramekin onto a plate. Add a small scoop of ice cream and a few mint leaves if you have them. Divinity!

Cranberry-Lime Tart

This recipe was the cover of Bon Appétit magazine’s December 2003 issue. When my friend Annette Robertson asked if she could bring something to our Christmas eve celebration that year, I said, “Sure, how’d you like to make the cover of Bon Appétit?” And…she actually did it! Because she’s an amazing person. I wouldn’t have done that to just anybody. I promise.

Yield – 14 to 16 servings
Note – You need to start this recipe at least a day ahead.

For the lime curd
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon cornstarch
¾ cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2½ teaspoons grated lime peel

For the crust
1¼ cup flour
½ cup powdered icing sugar
⅓ cup whole almonds, toasted, cooled
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” cubes
1teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cranberry topping
¼ cup water
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
⅔ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
3 cups fresh cranberries

For the white chocolate cream
5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
⅓ cup + 2 Tablespoons sour cream
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Extras – White chocolate curls and thin lime twists

For the lime curd
Whisk the lime juice and cornstarch in a heavy medium saucepan.
Whisk in the sugar and yolks, and then add the butter.
Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture simmers and thickens, about 8 minutes. Strain into a small bowl.
Mix in lime peel. Cover and chill overnight.

For the crust
Finely grind the flour, sugar, almonds and salt in a food processor.
Add the butter and vanilla: cut in, using on/off turns, until the mixture just forms soft moist clumps.
Gather the dough into a ball then flatten into a disk.
Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of an 11-inch diameter tart pan with removable springform bottom.
Using your thumb, press dough up the sides to extend ⅛-inch above the rime of the pan. Freeze the crust for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Bake the crust until golden brown, pressing with the back of a spoon if the crust bubbles, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the cranberry topping
Whisk ¼ cup water and cornstarch in a heavy large saucepan to blend.
Add sugar, honey, and five-spice powder. Stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
Add the cranberries; cook until the mixture boils and the berries just begin to pop but still maintain their shape, occasionally stirring gently, for about 5 minutes. Cool completely (mixture will thicken).

For the white chocolate cream
Stir the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until melted and smooth.
Remove from over the water; whisk in the sour cream and vanilla. Cool completely.
Spread the white chocolate cream into the crust; freeze for 15 minutes. Spoon curd over; spread evenly. Spoon cranberry topping by the tablespoonfuls over, then spread carefully to cover completely. Cover and chill overnight or up to 2 days ahead.
To serve: remove pan sides; transfer tart to a platter. Sprinkle the chocolate curls around the edge of the tart and garnish with lime twists.

(To make the chocolate curls, run a vegetable peeler along the edge of a 3.5 oz white chocolate bar. To make the lime twists, remove the peel in 2-inch lengths using a lemon stripper or the large V-shaped cutter of a citrus zester. Twist strips to form coils, dip into water and lightly roll in sugar.

Tomato Soup Cake – Something Easier

This recipe comes from my friend dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s grandmother’s old Five-Roses Cookbook. It is a Prairie classic.

1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup soft unsalted butter
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon mace (if you can’t find just use more nutmeg)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 can tomato soup
1 cup sultana raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Lightly butter and flour a 10-inch springform pan.
  3. Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy.
  4. Stir the flour, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda together in a bowl and then add them to the mixing bowl over three additions, alternating with the soup, and mix just to blend.
  5. Add the raisins and walnuts, and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until just done.
  6. Let cool, then drizzle with glaze. Makes one 10-inch spring form cake.

Maple or Birch Glaze

2 cups icing sugar
¼ cup soft unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons maple or birch syrup
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon

  1. Combine the sugar and butter, beat until smooth, then add the syrup and lemon zest. Drizzle onto the cake top.
There’s nothing like Mom’s pie – photo – Karen Anderson

PIE – nothing says Christmas like pie!

Are you intimidated about the thought of making pie? Check out Pie 101 – a lesson with my Mom and Pie 201 – a video with all her helpful hints.

Want to learn to make shortbread?

Check out this Shortbread blog, where my friend Anne Tingley taught me to make her Aunt Tibby’s recipe.

Stay tuned for Chapter 3 – Festive Drinks for All to Enjoy.


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