Recipes

December 20, 2012

A wee Christmas recipe: My Raspberry Cream Macaroon dessert

Christmas Recipe: Raspberry, cream and macaroon dessert via WeeBirdy.com

This, my dearest birdies, is my favourite Christmas dessert. It’s the perfect way to end a too-stuffed-to-eat-another-mouthful-Christmas-dinner, as it’s relatively light (well, depending on how much you eat) and the raspberries offer an edge to the sweetness of the macaroons and cream.

I don’t really use a “recipe” as such (apart from the coconut macaroon bit) because it’s dead simple – and the amounts used depend on how big your trifle bowl is.

If you want the cheat’s version, use shop-bought coconut macaroons. You’ll be laughing at how dead-simple it is to put together, not to mention the ‘big effort’, maximum-impact results.

Now I’m not talking about French macarons of the Laduree variety, I mean rough coconut macaroons that are crispy and toasty on the outside with a deliciously gooey meringue-y centre. I like to make my own, but be careful not to overcook them as you won’t get the gooey/sticky/toasty/crunchy texture that makes this recipe so lovely.

Ingredients

  • Freshly whipped cream (I use two cartons of whipping cream, but you may need more or less, depending on how big your bowl is).
  • Raspberries (I use a mixture of fresh and frozen. I use one whole box of frozen raspberries, together with four punnets of fresh raspberries. It’s really nice to decorate the top of the dessert with a layer of fresh raspberries.)
  • Crushed coconut macaroons – either shop-bought or make them yourself, recipe below. Just pop them in a plastic bag and whack them with a rolling pin/mallet/other handy whackable object. Don’t smash them to smithereens – you don’t want a crumb-like texture. More of a mixture of crumbs and little chunks.

Method

1. Place a layer of crushed coconut macaroons (around an inch high) in the bottom of your glass trifle dish.
2. Usually a spatula, place a layer of freshly whipped cream (around an inch high) on top of the macaroons.
3. Now place a layer of raspberries on top of the cream.
4. Repeat the layers until you get to the top of the trifle bowl.
5. Finish with a layer of whipped cream and decorate with fresh raspberries. Either throw your raspberries on free-form or go for a retro design of concentric circles.
6. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve, then dust it with icing sugar (don’t do what I did last year in a fit of Christmas-induced madness and toss a heap of castor sugar on top. I misread the label. Not nice. Gritty. Oh dear.)
7. Wow your guests – they’ll love it!

Dead-Easy Raspberry Cream Macaroon dessert via WeeBirdy.com

Coconut Macaroon Recipe (the non-cheat’s version)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of shredded coconut
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Line three baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spread the shredded coconut over two of the trays and cook in the oven, tossing occasionally for three to four minutes until lightly toasted. For the love of god keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn! Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate. Your kitchen will now smell divine!
2. Whisk the egg whites and salt together with electric beaters in a scrupulously clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Make sure you don’t have a speck of grease on your bowl or mixers or your meringue won’t work.
3. Once you have soft peaks, add sugar a spoonful at a time. Go slow and steady here! Look at the mixture carefully and make sure all the sugar has dissolved before adding the next spoonful of sugar.
Once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a further two minutes or until your mixture is thick and glossy.
4. Add the vanilla essence and whisk to combine.
5. Add the toasted coconut and use a large metal spoon to carefully fold it in until just combined. (Use a bit of TLC here. If you overdo this bit or stir too vigorously, your macaroons will be flat.)
6. Spoon tablespoonful of mixture onto lined trays. Leave around 2cm between each macaroon. Bake in the oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 12-15 minutes or until your macaroons are light golden and firm.
7. Leave them to cool for five minutes on the trays before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
8. Store in an airtight container for up to two days before you need them.

Photography by Lucas Boyd.

Do you think you’ll have a go at making my dessert this year? What’s your all-time favourite Christmas dessert?

You might also like Likkle Girl’s Rummy Balls.


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December 23, 2011

Wee Christmas recipe: Likkle’s Girl’s rummy balls

We’ve got balls! Oh yes indeedy we do, and they’re pretty boozy, too. These delightful likkle bits of heaven are courtesy of my blog pal Likkle Girl, who is a bit of a clever bird in the kitchen.  She was one of the earliest readers of Wee Birdy back in ye olde blogging days of 2007, and she’s a damn fine blogger, too. Go on and have a sticky, you’ll fall in love with her life, I promise.

I like this recipe because it up-cycles leftover bits of Christmas pudding. Which, let’s face it, isn’t always everyone’s cuppa tea. And it’s pretty easy, too! Anyway, over to Likkle Girl…

Rummy Balls
~ The post-Christmas turkey sandwich of the leftover-Christmas-pudding world. However, if you have a slot free on your long holiday season to-do list, I think they will make delicious stocking stuffers and canapés/petits fours at your Christmas lunch or dinner. ~

What you’ll need:
For the balls:
400g Christmas pudding
50g hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
50g dried cranberries (sour cherries are good too!)
50g lightly toasted slivered almonds (or your favourite nut(s) – chopped them up if they come whole)
50ml rum (a dark one!)
50g melted chocolate (preferably couverture chocolate instead of compound – it really makes a difference)

For coating:
300g melted chocolate (the quantity is a guess-timation because I usually just melt a whole load of chocolate for coating other things too and couverture again, if you can)
300g lightly toasted chopped nuts (I like pistachios because the green is so Christmas-y. Long coconut threads are pretty too. The most fuss-free finish would be a generous dusting of Dutch cocoa powder.)

Let’s get started:
1. Lightly toast all the nuts (coconut threads too, if you’re using them) in the oven. Don’t burn them!
2. In a large mixing bowl, break the Christmas pudding into small bits. Add hazelnut meal, cranberries, almond, rum and melted chocolate. Give them all a good mix with your hands.
3. Now, the balling fun begins! Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take a small amount of the mix (some people like their balls a petite bite-size while some like hefty ones…you make them how you like them) and roll it into a tight ball. Place on tray and continue until you’ve used up all the mix.
4. Plonk tray of balls into fridge while you melt the chocolate for coating.
5. Place chopped nuts (or coconut threads or cocoa powder) in a deep baking tray.
6. Remove rummy balls from fridge, coat them with melted chocolate and place them in tray of chopped nuts/coconut threads/cocoa powder and roll them around to ensure an even coating.
7. Place fully-coated balls back on the first tray and back to the fridge they go until chocolate is firmly set (doesn’t take long). Store in airtight containers. You now have yummy rummy balls to give away or serve at parties. YAY!

I hope you’ll have fun making them!

Thanks Likkle Girl. If you’re in Sydney, you MUST order some of Likkle Girl’s incredible hand-crafted chocolate truffles. She’s got a wee business called Your Local Dealer. I’ve got a serious addiction to the Almond Crunch Chocolate Truffles. Oh my. Creamy gooey  chocolate ganache spiked with handmade crunchy almond praline. You’ll be coming back for seconds, I promise.


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