Perk up your festive table with Mary Berry's new cookbook

Perk up your festive table with Mary Berry's new cookbook

A very berry Christmas! Let the Queen of Cookery Mary Berry perk up your festive table with salmon en croûte, a naughty trifle and these magical mince pies from her new book

STAR ALMOND MINCE PIES

Using marzipan as a lid, instead of pastry, makes a delicious change. Use white or golden marzipan; we prefer golden for this recipe. The almond pastry is just as easy to make as classic shortcrust. This recipe is perfect for cooking with children. Making these is a joy and sharing the love of food is always a pleasure. If you don’t have a star cutter, cut the stars by hand; it’s great fun to do!

Makes 24

You will need 2 x 12-hole bun tins, a 7cm (2¾in) fluted cutter and a 5cm (2in) star cutter

1 x 410g jar of luxury mincemeat

Zest of 1 orange

Icing sugar, for dusting

250g (9oz) marzipan

1 egg, beaten

for the PASTRY

150g (5oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

30g (1oz) ground almonds

115g (4oz) butter

30g (1oz) caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

Fortnum’s Mince Pie & Marmalade Gin Liqueur (27%, 50cl) £35, fortnumandmason.com

First make the pastry. Measure the flour, ground almonds, butter and caster sugar into a food processor. Whiz until breadcrumb stage. Add the egg and whiz again until a ball is formed. Bring the pastry together and place on a floured work surface. Roll out thinly, then use the fluted cutter to stamp out 24 rounds. Line the bun tins and prick the bases with a fork. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Spoon the mincemeat into a bowl. Add the orange zest and mix to combine. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mincemeat into each pastry case.

Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to roughly 2-3mm (1/16-1/8in) thick. Stamp out star shapes with the star cutter and place them on top of the mincemeat. Brush the pastry edge and marzipan stars with beaten egg, then bake the pies in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until golden and crisp on top and underneath.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then release them from the tins and place on a wire rack. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and brandy cream on the side, if you want to spoil yourself!

Mary’s tip! The pastry can be prepared ahead and chilled for two days, or frozen. The pies can be baked up to two days ahead. 

Olly smith’s drink pairing: Fruity and fab

Fortnum’s Mince Pie & Marmalade Gin Liqueur (27%, 50cl) £35, fortnumandmason.com

A rare splash-out treat like this can also be a generous Christmas gift. With mince pies, this gin liqueur amplifies the dried fruit flavours and is also lovely to pour into a festive after-dinner coffee. 

SALMON EN CROÛTE WITH SPINACH AND DILL 

Salmon en croûte is still so popular on the buffet table or when serving numbers. If you can’t find a single piece of salmon that is big enough, it is possible to use 2 x 500g (1lb 2oz) fillets side by side.

SERVES 8-10

FOR THE SPINACH FILLING

225g (8oz) baby spinach

180g (6½oz) full-fat cream cheese

1 egg yolk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE SALMON

Flour, for dusting

1 x 500g block of all-butter puff pastry

1 x 1kg (2lb 4oz) salmon fillet, cut from the centre of the fillet, skinned and bones removed

A large bunch of dill, chopped

1 x 280g jar of chargrilled mixed peppers in oil, drained

1 egg

1tbsp milk

FOR THE HERB SAUCE

3 spring onions, finely chopped

2tsp caster sugar

1tbsp chopped chives

2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1tbsp chopped dill

200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche

Juice of ½ a lemon

To make the spinach filling, tip the baby spinach into a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water from the kettle over the spinach to wilt, then drain well. Squeeze excess water out of the spinach and set aside to cool.

Add the cream cheese and egg yolk to the cold spinach, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix to combine.

Asda Extra Special Fiano (Pictured) 2021 (12.5%) £6

Place a large piece of baking paper onto the work surface and dust with flour. Roll the pastry so it is long enough and wide enough to wrap around the fillet to enclose it completely. Trim off any excess pastry and set aside. Place the fillet in the centre of the pastry. Season and cover with the dill. Lay the drained peppers over the fish, then spread the spinach filling evenly on top.

Break the egg into a bowl and add the milk. Whisk with a fork until smooth. Brush the pastry all around the fillet with the egg mixture. Fold the pastry ends up and over the ends of the fillet, and brush the pastry ends with beaten egg. Bring the sides of the pastry to meet at the centre top and crimp the top edge to seal. Brush all over with the egg glaze. Use the pastry trimmings to cut out shapes or letters. Stick these onto the pastry top to decorate, and brush with the egg glaze. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/ fan 200°C/gas 7 and place a baking sheet large enough to hold the en croûte in the oven to get very hot. Carefully slide the en croûte and the baking paper onto the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is golden and cooked on top and underneath. Allow the salmon to rest for about 15 minutes at room temperature while you make the sauce. Measure all the sauce ingredients into a bowl, season and stir to combine. Carve the salmon into thick slices and serve with the sauce alongside.

Mary’s tip! The salmon en croute can be assembled up to 24 hours ahead and kept in the fridge. Not suitable for freezing.  

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: A star with salmon

Asda Extra Special Fiano 2021 (12.5%) £6

For salmon en croûte you need good texture as well as freshness in your vino, and this Italian Fiano has a sumptuous peachy flavour with real finesse. It’s a bright and beautiful bargain.

TIRAMISU RED FRUIT TRIFL

The addition of red fruits turns this tiramisu into a trifle bursting with fruit flavours.

SERVES 10-12

You will need a round shallow glass dish about 8cm (3¼in) high and 25cm (10in) diameter and a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (½in) plain nozzle

500g (1lb 2oz) frozen red fruits e.g. raspberries, blackberries and cherries

55g (2oz) caster sugar

1 heaped tbsp cornflour

250g (9oz) full-fat mascarpone cheese

6tbsp icing sugar, sifted

1tbsp vanilla extract

600ml (1pt) pouring double cream

450ml (¾pt) strong coffee, cooled

40ml (1½fl oz) brandy

12 trifle sponges, each sliced in half horizontally

115g (4oz) dark chocolate, coarsely grated

Measure the fruits and caster sugar into a saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the fruits into a sieve over a bowl (do not press them, as you want to leave them whole). Pour the liquid from the bowl back into the saucepan.

 Moscato d’Asti DOCG Fratelli Antonio e Raimondo 2021 (5%) £ 12.25, corneyandbarrow.com

In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Add this to the fruit liquid in the saucepan and mix. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Remove from the heat and add the whole fruits. Set aside to become cold.

Measure the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and blend together. Add the cream and whisk with an electric whisk for a few minutes to soft peaks.

Mix the coffee and brandy together in a shallow dish.

Dip half of the sponge halves in the coffee mixture, soaking them well. Arrange them tightly over the base of the glass dish. Spread a third of the cream mixture on top and sprinkle with half the chocolate. Spoon all the fruits on top in an even layer. Soak the remaining sponges in the coffee mixture and use them to cover the fruits. Spread half the remaining cream over the top and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate.

Finally, place the remaining cream mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (½in) plain nozzle and pipe blobs around the edge. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Mary’s tip! I like to user brandy for soaking the sponges, but you could use rum, kitsch or Baileys if you prefer.  

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Top with trifle

Moscato d’Asti DOCG Fratelli Antonio e Raimondo 2021 (5%) £ 12.25, corneyandbarrow.com

A scented, honey-like fizz is spot on for a fruity finale like this trifle. A touch floral and glorious served chilled in flutes, this sweet treat makes an occasion of the meal’s last moment.

CELERY, BLUE CHEESE AND SAGE RISOTTO 

A complete midweek meal, prepared and cooked in under three-quarters of an hour. Use any blue cheese you have left over or choose the one you like best.

SERVES 4

2tbsp olive or sunflower oil

2 onions, finely chopped

5 celery sticks, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

200g (7oz) small chestnut mushrooms, sliced

275g (10oz) risotto rice

250ml (9fl oz) white wine

750ml (1¼pt) hot vegetable stock

150g (5oz) frozen petits pois

115g (4oz) blue cheese, e.g. Stilton or dolcelatte, grated

2tbsp chopped sage, plus a few extra leaves to garnish

Salt and black pepper

Castellore Grillo 2021 (12.5%) £6.49, Aldi

A knob of butter

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over a high heat. Add the onions and celery and fry for 4-5 minutes, to soften. Add the garlic and mushrooms and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and stir into the vegetables.

Pour in the wine and let it bubble for 1-2 minutes until reduced. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and continue to add all the stock, a little at a time, until the liquid has absorbed. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

Add the petits pois and cook for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and sage. Season with a little salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Leave to stand for 2 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Melt the butter in a small pan over a high heat and fry a few sage leaves until crisp. Serve the risotto hot in warm bowls with the crispy sage leaves to garnish.

Mary’s tip! This risotto is best cooked and served immediately. Not suitable for freezing.  

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Superb with sage

Castellore Grillo 2021 (12.5%) £6.49, Aldi

With a subtle lemon blossom scent and impressively clean definition, this grillo will freshen the palate. And it’s a bit of a steal at this price, too!  

ENJOY 20 PER CENT OFF 

Extracted from Cook And Share by Mary Berry, published by BBC Books, £27, out now. To order a copy for £21.60 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20. Promotional price valid until 17/12/2022

Mary Berry’s Ultimate Christmas is on Monday 19 December at 8pm on BBC1.  

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