Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 4:50PM
It's getting close to the big day, so now is the time to lug crates of booze into the house, organise your elderly relatives so they don't forget what time lunch is and plan the delicious treats you are going to enjoy over the festive period.
I absolutely love Christmas pudding, doused in flaming brandy and served nice and hot with a big dollop of homemade brandy butter melting over it. Wonderful as it is, not everybody likes it, so this dessert is a nice simple alternative and a fitting finale to the delicious food you have just enjoyed.
A fool is a creamy dessert that you can adapt to use any fruit you feel like, the most common ones being rhubarb and gooseberry. I thought a cranberry and orange fool would make a nice Christmassy treat and that some shortbread would be a good accompaniment.
Recipe to serve 2
For the Fool:
1 medium carton of whipping cream
150g fresh cranberries
75g caster sugar
zest and juice of one orange
glug of Cointreau
2 tblsp icing sugar
For the shortbread:
- 250g plain flour
- 250g unsalted butter
- 125g semolina or cornflour
- 125g golden caster sugar
- More caster sugar and flour for dusting
- 8 inch square tin, greased
- 50g walnuts, blitzed finely in a food processor
Begin by putting the cranberries into a saucepan with the zest and juice of the orange, a tblsp of water and the caster sugar. Cook on a moderate heat until the cranberries have burst,and have started to cook down a little and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to one side to cool and then add about a 1 1/2 tblsp cointreau or more if you want.
Whip the cream to soft peak consistency, add the icing sugar and then take about two tblsp of the cranberry mixture and lightly mix through the cream to give a nice marbled effect. Take a couple of cocktail glasses and put a heaped tsp of the cranberry mixture in the bottom, then top with the cream. To finish it off put another tsp of the cranberries on top of the cream and chill the dessert in the fridge until needed.
To make the shortbread, cream the butter and sugar together and add the finely ground walnuts. Then sift the flours and stir in gently, finally bringing the mixture together with your hands. Roll out about 1/4 inch thick on a well floured surface, then cut out different shapes with a christmassy cutter and place on a baking sheet. Put into a 160 degree centigrade oven for about 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on a rack and serve with the chilled cranberry and orange fool.