Two Festive Dessert Recipes from our new cookbook

marmalade tart

Marmalade and Almond Tart

This brings together bitter, sweet and sharp in one tremendous tart. The orange peel and pears stop things getting too heavy, while the marmalade (Sir Nigel’s, if possible, or something equally deep-flavoured and fruity) adds its delectable tang. Oh, and the almonds bring yet another layer of flavour. Serve with double cream.

The ingredients (Serves 8)

FOR THE SWEET PASTRY 100g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing; 75g caster sugar; 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting; 1 medium egg, beaten.

FOR THE FILLING 120g unsalted butter, at room temperature; 120g caster sugar; zest of 1 orange; 2 medium eggs; 90g ground almonds; 20g plain flour; 1/4 teaspoon baking powder; 225g orange marmalade; 2 pears, peeled and quartered; 20g flaked almonds.

The recipe

First make the pastry. Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon or in a food mixer until pale and fluffy. Sift the flour into the bowl and add the egg. Mix together to form a dough. Shape the dough into a 3cm thick round, wrap in cling film, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin with butter. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll the chilled pastry out to ½cm thickness and line the tart tin with it. Lay a sheet of baking parchment over the top and fill with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and return the tart tin to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Turn the oven temperature down to 160°C/Gas Mark 3.

To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar together with the orange zest until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating to incorporate each one completely before adding the next. Use a spatula to fold in the almonds, flour and baking powder.

Spread half the marmalade over the base of the cooled pastry case, followed by the almond mixture. Arrange the pear halves over the top, then scatter over the flaked almonds. Bake in the oven for 55 minutes to an hour, until the tart is golden on top and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Heat the remaining marmalade in a small saucepan and, while the tart is still hot from the oven, brush it all over the top. Allow to cool for half an hour, then cut into 8 slices.

shepherd's pie

Chocolate Trifle with Glace Fruits

There’s rich. And then there’s the downright decadent. And this awesome trifle falls plum into the latter category. Amaretti biscuit base for crunch, griottine cherries for rich flavour and decadence, along with a hint of cherry jam, all enveloped in the most magnificent of chocolate custards and topped with glacé fruits. Beware this trifle’s power. One spoonful is never enough.

The ingredients (serves 6)

170g cherry jam; 100g amaretti biscuits; 4 tablespoons Marsala, plus extra if needed; 75g glacé pineapple, chopped; 150g grottine cherries; 350ml double cream; 220g mixed glacé fruits, such as cherries, melon, orange, kiwi, and figs, chopped; 1 tablespoon flaked almods, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUSTARD 3 egg yolks, 50g caster sugar; 45g plain flour; 350ml milk; 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids),chopped)

The recipe

First make the chocolate custard. Beat the egg yolks, caster sugar and flour together in a bowl with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk. Gradually mix in half the milk. Bring the remaining milk to boiling point in a saucepan, then gradually pour it on to the egg mix, beating constantly. Pour this custard into the pan and cook over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5–8 minutes, until thickened. As it starts to thicken, it will turn lumpy, but keep stirring and it will become smooth again. Strain the custard into a heatproof bowl through a sieve and stir in the chocolate until melted. Press a sheet of cling film on to the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.

To assemble the trifle, spread about half the cherry jam over the bottom of a trifle dish. Cover with the amaretti biscuits and sprinkle the Marsala over them. Leave for about 5 minutes for the Marsala to soak in, then top with the chopped glacé pineapple and the cherries. Give the chocolate custard a good stir to loosen it (if it is too thick, add a little Marsala or water). Spread the custard over the fruit and leave in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Whip the cream until it forms peaks. Gently spread it on top of the chocolate custard. Loosen the remaining cherry jam with a little Marsala or water to make it easier to spread, then use to top the whipped cream. Scatter the chopped glacé fruits and flaked almonds on top. Chill for an hour before serving.