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Winter treats: FG's Christmas desserts

FG cookery editor Leah Byrom has conjured up some festive treats for you to plan ahead this Christmas - plus it wouldn’t be the same without dessert

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Plan your Christmas around FG's festive desserts! #cooking #food

Cranberry and orange meringue roulade

Cranberry and orange meringue roulade

Serves 8


Prep time: 25 minutes; Cooking time: 25 minutes


A light and festive dessert which is an ideal way of using up an abundance of egg yolks




Five egg whites

250g caster sugar

35g flaked almonds

300ml double cream

One large juicy orange, juice and zest

15g caster sugar

150g stewed cranberries




  • Preheat the oven to 200degC/400F/Gas Mark 6. Line a 23x33cm baking tray with baking paper
  • Whisk the egg whites to make stiff peaks, gradually whisk in the sugar a quarter at a time
  • Spoon the meringue mixture into the lined baking tray and use a spatula to evenly spread it out. Sprinkle with the almonds and pop in the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden in colour
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160degC/320F/Gas Mark 3 and cook for a further 15-20 minutes
  • Lay a sheet of baking paper on the work surface and upturn the meringue on to this. Peel away the paper from the base of the meringue and leave to cool for about 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile prepare the cream filling. Place the sugar, zest and juice in a large mixing bowl and begin whisking adding the cream. Whisk until thick
  • Spread the cranberries on the bottom 7cm of the meringue and then cream over all of the meringue
  • Make an incision into the meringue just where the cranberry layer finishes and using the baking paper to help, roll the meringue up into a roll shape
  • Tighten and then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to set


Leah’s tip


A great freezer recipe. Either cut in half and freeze half or make a head and store in the freezer



Pear and cinnamon fool

Pear and cinnamon fool

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 15 minutes


A classic winter combination but do try this recipe with other fruits as well




500g pears

One star anise

Two tspn dark brown sugar

Sprinkle of cinnamon to taste

Two sheets gelatine

100ml double cream



  • Peel the pears and cut into quarters, cover with water and add the star anise. Place on the hob to gently simmer and poach the fruits
  • Cut the gelatine into pieces and soak in cold water
  • Once the pears are soft, drain from the pan andpuree. Reserve two tbspn of the poaching liquor
  • Add the dark brown sugar and cinnamon to the pear to taste. Whisk the cream to form soft peaks
  • Squeeze the water from the gelatine and place the soft gelatine in a small saucepan with the reserved poaching liquor and stir over a very low heat to dissolve
  • Pour into the pear puree. Once the pear puree is completely cold fold in the cream and spoon into serving dishes and refrigerate to set


Leah’s tip


Decorate with a dollop of double cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a slice of pear in caramel

Marmalade sticky figs with mascarpone

Marmalade sticky figs with mascarpone and salted pistachio brittle

Serves two


Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 10 minutes


For we all want some figgy pudding - only this recipe is simply baked with a little marmalade




Six figs

Three tspn thick cut marmalade

10g butter

Two tbspn Mascarpone

Two pieces stem ginger in syrup


For the salted pistachio brittle


15g pistachio nuts

10g butter

20g sugar

¼ tsp sea salt flakes

One tspn water




  • Preheat the oven to 180degC/350F/Gas Mark 4
  • Slice the top off the figs and cut a cross three-quarters of the way through
  • Using your index fingers and thumbs gently press to open the figs. Place in an oven-proof dish
  • Spoon the marmalade between each fig and dot the butter around them. Place in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes
  • To prepare the brittle; lay the nuts close together on a sheet of baking paper. Put the rest of the brittle ingredients into a small pan and place on the hob to melt and dissolve and bring to the boil, stirring all the time to prevent from burning
  • Once an even golden brown colour pour immediately over the nuts and leave to set
  • To prepare the ginger mascarpone, cut a slice of ginger from the middle of one of the pieces, and reserve for a garnish, and very finely dice the rest. Fold into the cream
  • Serve figs warm with a dollop of mascarpone and the brittle on top

Leah’s tip


If time permits, make this into a delicious fig tart. Spread a sheet of puff pastry with marmalade, cut the figs in half and place on top. Bake until golden and serve with the ginger mascarpone

Apple, almond and mincemeat tart

Apple, almond and mincemeat tart

Makes 2 x 25cm tarts


Prep time: 45 minutes; Cooking time: 30-40 minutes


This is almost like a Christmas version of a Bakewell tart




For the pastry

90g butter

60g caster sugar

3 egg yolks

200g plain flour


For the filling


400g mincemeat

150g butter

150g sugar

3 eggs

125g ground almonds

25g self raising flour

2/3 apples

1 tbsp apricot jam, for glazing




  • To make the pastry, mix the butter and sugar together. Add the egg yolks and gradually add the flour a spoon at a time. Leave to rest for an hour or so
  • Preheat the oven to 160degC/320F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and flour the 25cm tart cases and bake blind
  • Spread the mincemeat over the bases of the tarts, leaving a 1cm buffer round the edge
  • To make the topping, cream together the butter and sugar, add the egg and finally add the almonds and flour. Using soup spoons, dollop the almond mixture over the mincemeat, then smooth over, being careful not to drag the mincemeat round too much
  • Core the apple and slice into 1.5cm thicknesses and arrange in the top of the almond mixture. Place in the oven to bake.
  • Once baked and golden in colour, soften the jam and use to glaze the slices of apple


Leah’s tip


The key with this recipe is to use homemade, or failing that, very good quality mincemeat. If using shop-bought mincemeat, add a few extras like chopped almonds, extra candied peel and perhaps even an extra dash of brandy!

Festive Shrewsbury biscuits

Festive Shrewsbury biscuits

Makes around 25 biscuits


Prep time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 10-15 minutes


Quick and tasty biscuits that are delicious on their own or on the side of a jelly or a posset




125g butter

150g caster sugar

Two egg yolks

225g plain flour

One lemon zest



  • Preheat the oven to 180degC/350F/Gas Mark 6. Cream the butter and sugar together
  • Beat in the egg yolks and add the zest and then the flour a spoon at a time to form a soft dough
  • Roll out on a lightly floured surface to ½cm thickness and cut into shapes


Leah’s tip


If making several different festive shapes bake them in batches to prevent any smaller more pointy biscuits from browning too much round the edges

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