Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Time to Catch Up - Christmas Pudding 2011


Happy 2012 everyone! May the New Year be full of joy, happiness, health and success!

We never had a proper holiday in 2011, so we've decided that we must enjoy our last holiday to the max. And so we did! We celebrated Christmas for 5 full days with great company and great food, and then did a movie marathon for the rest of the week. Okay, it was Harry Potter marathon, but that's not the point.

Back to the Christmas dinner. I was planning to make an Exotic Fruit Trifle, but the more I thought about it, the less enticing it is. It's just not Christmassy at all. So I went browsing and I found this - Donna Hay's Strawberry and Vanilla Macarons Trifle from Passionate About Baking (couldn't get the direct link working. For her version of the trifle see entry 26th December, 2010). It is one of those beautiful, well photographed food blogs. And when I saw the pictures, I just had to make it.


I made 2 batches of macarons at home, and both failed miserably. There is much testing to be done with my new oven. I was really lucky that I managed to make the most perfect macarons I've ever made at my sister-in-law's house. We reckoned it had to do with the missing lining on the oven door, causing some of the hot air to leak out!


I loved how Passionate About Making made those strawberries float in the jelly (not layered on top), so I did some research, and I made it! I was really chuffed as the dessert came out as perfect as it could be in my hands (a bit of over-whipped cream and untidiness plus condensation, oh well), and it was delicious! Really light, and all the flavour balanced out to make the yummiest jelly I have ever had (and made).

I've changed quite a bit of Donna Hay's recipe, apart from the layers I guess. So here it is, my version of Strawberry and Macarons Trifle.

I'll add a recipe for Macarons later.


(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
  • 1 Bottle (750ml) Shloer - White Grape, Raspberry & Cranberry (or anything sparkling, red with a touch of sharp sourness)
  • 6 Gelatine Leaves
  • 450ml Hot Water
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 400-500g Strawberries, quartered or sliced (reserve several to decorate)

  • 10 - 16 Plain Macarons, depending on what container you use
  • 2 x 284ml Whipping Cream
  • 1Tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 1/2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • Mint Leaves, to decorate

Method:

For the Jelly

1. Pour the Shloer into a large heat proof bowl, and soak the gelatine leaves for 5 minutes in the drink until they have softened.

2. In a small heat proof pot, dissolve the caster sugar in the hot water on low fire. Then bring to boil on medium. Once boiled, simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Remove gelatine leaves and squeeze out any excess liquid.

4. Remove the syrup pot from the fire and add the gelatine leaves into it. Whisk until they are fully dissolved.

5. Pour the jelly syrup bit by bit into the Shloer, whisking continuously.

6. Cool the jelly completely in room temperature, then refridgerate for approx 2-3 hours until thickened. (Keep an eye on the jelly by the hour as the time for it to thicken varies)

7. Once the jelly has thickened up, pour it in the mould(s) of your choice, and place strawberries on top (they should dip in the jelly and float).

8. Cover with cling film and let it set overnight in the fridge.


To combine

1. Before serving, remove the jelly from the fridge (you might want to remove it a few hours earlier as mine was left with condensation).

2. Whip up the whipping cream, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste to the stage where it is about to start forming soft peaks. (I took 3Tbsp from this, whipped it further to make the filling for the Macarons, delightful!)

3. Arrange filled Macarons on top of the jelly, then pour the whipped cream gently over them. Decorate with reserved strawberries and mint leaves.

Best served straight after you've decorated the trifle, as Macarons will soften quickly. The next day we just wanted the strawberry jelly!