baking, celebration, christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, pastry

Christmas Tart

Christmas Tart
A moist tart full of festive fruit and topped with a light sponge. Encased in a crisp buttery pastry.

A moist tart that is an ideal Christmas treat. With lashings of moist fruit, soft sponge and a crisp sweet pastry, it won’t last long. It makes a wonderful alternative to a rich Christmas pudding and will accompany a freshly brewed pot of tea…to a tee. Simply decorated, with a glazed top and glittery fondant stars it creates a stylish looking pastry.

Ingredients: (Makes 10″ tart)

250g plain flour. Extra for rolling dough.
156g chilled butter – cut into cubes.
62g caster sugar.
84g egg – approx’ 1 1/2 eggs.
1/2 tsp salt.

Fruit filling:
50g raisins.
100g sultanas.
50g veg’ suet.
25g mixed peel.
50g soft dark brown sugar.
50ml brandy.
1 tsp mixed spice.
Juice of 1/2 orange and all the zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon and all the zest.

Jam for tart base:
3 dessert spoons of ginger jam/preserve for base of the tart.

60g self raising flour – sieved.
50g ground almonds.
1 tsp mixed spice.
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
2 beaten eggs – at room temp.
1tsp vanilla extract.
100g caster sugar.
100g soft butter.

Apricot Glaze:
3 dessert spoons of apricot jam.
2 tabls of water.

50g of fondant easy roll icing. Rolled to 3mm thickness and cut into star
shapes with cutter.
Edible glitter spray – lightly spray each star.


Fruit filling:
Mix all the ingredients together. Leave to macerate for 24 hours in a cool place.

Beat the egg and sugar together until well mixed – set aside.
Add the salt to the flour.
Rub the butter into the flour to create a crumb texture.
Once all the butter has been rubbed into the flour add the egg and sugar mix.
Combine all ingredients into a dough, wrap in cling film and chill for several hours.
Note: This dough is quite sticky, so use a little extra flour to bring it all together. Refrigerate for several hours before rolling.
Once chilled, roll out and line a 10″, loose bottomed, flan tin. Pop your lined flan tin in the refrigerator to chill. Set aside.

Combine the flour, ground almonds and spices. Set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar.
Gradually mix the beaten egg into the creamed butter and sugar . (Note: Eggs at room temp’ will lessen the risk of splitting when mixed with the butter. If your mix starts to split before all the egg has been added – mix in a couple of tabls’ of the flour mix.)
Add all the flour mix to the butter mix. Combine, thoroughly, with a balloon whisk. Set aside.

Preparing the tart for baking:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
With your fruit macerated, flan tin lined with pastry and the sponge mix made, it’s time to prepare the tart for baking. Place your lined flan tin on a baking tray.
Firstly, spread a layer of ginger jam over the base of your flan. (see image)
Next, drain any liquid from the macerated fruit mix. Put a layer of the drained fruit mix on top of the jam layer. (see image)
Finally add the sponge layer over the fruit. (see image)
Bake on the lower middle shelf for 35-45 mins’. The tart is cooked when the middle of the sponge is firm to touch. After 35 mins’, give the centre of the sponge a light press with your finger. If the sponge is firm and springs back up after lifting your finger – it’s baked. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Time to prepare the apricot glaze.

Apricot glaze:
In a pan, slowly heat up the apricot jam and water to a, simmering, runny consistency.
Sieve the glaze to remove any apricot bits.
Now spoon the hot apricot glaze over the top of your hot tart.
Leave the tart to cool in the flan tin.

Turn out your cooled tart and decorate with glittery fondant stars.
Serve generous slices with whipped cream.

desserts, food blogging, food photography

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream Dessert with Crunchy Chocolate Oat Cookies.

Citrus, coconut and pineapple dessert.
Citrus and coconut ice cream with a pineapple-lemoncello syrup. Served with toffee-pineapple and chocolate crunch cookies.

This is a great dessert to share – especially if you’re the one with the biggest spoon. 
With a, cream free, palette cleansing freshness it’s a wonderful way to end a spicy meal. For a little twist, scroll down to see the plated version served with a ‘Spiced Milk Curd’. The hint of chilli will surprise and delight your dinner party guests… a real winner.


Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream: (makes approx’ 600ml)
150ml skimmed milk or lactose free.
150ml Greek yoghurt.
150ml coconut milk – tinned, not fresh.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 tsp cardamon powder.
Juice and zest of two limes.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
1 tabls honey.
3 tabls lemoncello.
1 tsp ice cream stabiliser (optional)
Tip: When opening the tin of coconut milk, the creamy solids will usually have settled. Spoon out all the solids and make up to 150ml with some of the coconut liquid.

Crunchy Chocolate Cookies: (makes approx’ 14 cookies)
100g butter.
60g soft brown sugar.
1 dessert spoon of honey. (Use golden syrup or maple syrup if you like)
90g self raising flour – sieved.
100g porridge oats.
10g cocoa powder – sieved.
pinch of salt.
50g white chocolate for decoration.

Pineapple Syrup: (makes 120ml syrup)
200ml pineapple juice.
50g sugar.
4 tabls Lemoncello.

Spiced Milk Curd: (Optional, but this hint of spice works great)
200ml milk.
4-6 slices of fresh chilli, plus the seeds.
5 cardamon pods crushed.
1 tsp sugar.
1 tsp agar agar.

Citrus and coconut ice cream with spiced curd and pineapple syrup.
Citrus and coconut ice cream with spiced curd and a pineapple-lemoncello syrup. Served with chocolate crunch cookies.

Toffee Pineapple:
100g sugar.
2 tabls water.
Fresh pineapple cut into chunks – 4 chunks per person.

Zest of 2 lemons.
Drizzle of Lemoncello.
2 limes sliced and crystalised. (See below for recipe)


Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream:
Combine the skimmed milk, yoghurt, coconut milk, vanilla and cardamon. Set aside.
Add the lime juice, zest, water, sugar, honey and lemoncello to a pan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and add ice cream stabiliser, simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid has reduced to 100ml.
Once reduced leave to cool and then combine with the milk mixture.
Churn in an ice cream maker until frozen.
Transfer to a plastic container and store in the freezer.

Crunchy Chocolate Cookies:
Set oven to gas 3 or 160°C / 325°F
In a pan, slowly heat to a simmer the butter, soft brown sugar and honey.
Once the sugar has melted remove from the heat.
Add the flour, oats, cocoa powder and salt.
Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
Take heaped dessert spoons of the cookie mix and form each spoonful into balls.
On a baking tray, lined with parchment, press each ball into flat rounds with the palm of your hand. (see image)
Bake on the middle shelf for 15-20 mins’
Once baked transfer cookies to cooling rack with a wide spatula/slice.
Once cooled drizzle with melted white chocolate.
Store cookies in an airtight container.

Pineapple Syrup:
Place all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until for 5 mins’ until reduced to 120ml.
Set aside to cool then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Spiced Milk Curd:
Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring to just boiling, then simmer for 5 mins’
Strain the mixture and pour into a shallow square container/dish lined with cling film. Leave to set.
Once set, turn out the curd and cut into cubes. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Toffee Pineapple:
Dry your fresh pineapple chunks on kitchen roll. Set aside.
Place the sugar and water into a pan and gently heat to make a caramel. Note: (do not stir the sugar as the sugar will crystalise)
Once the sugar has formed a golden caramel remove from the heat.
With a fork dip chunks of pineapple into the caramel, one chunk at a time.
Place your caramel coated pineapple onto parchment/silicon paper.
Note: The toffee pineapple chunks need to be prepared just before serving as the toffee will begin to melt due to the moisture in the pineapple.

Crystalised Limes:
2 limes sliced.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
Sugar for sprinkling on cooked limes.

In a pan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.
Add the lime slices. Pop on a lid.
Simmer the lime slice until rinds are soft – about 40-60 mins’
Once the limes are cooked, remove from the liquid and place on a tray with parchment/silicon paper.
Sprinkle both sides of the limes with a generous amount of granulated sugar.(see image)
Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place for several days. Note: don’t place in refrigerator.
After several days they are ready to eat. They add a nice contrast to sweet desserts as the rinds retain a touch of sourness.

Arrange your pineapple and curd on a serving plate. Serve a scoop or three of ice cream. Drizzle with the pineapple-lemoncello syrup and Lemoncello. Sprinkle with lemon zest and a slice of crystalised lime.
Place a cookie on the side.
Enjoy the tang.