Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and in addition to a fattening goose, food blogs everywhere are stuffed with food based gift ideas and recipes for your Christmas feast. As much as I hate to jump on the bandwagon, I can’t totally ignore the season now can I?
Now, not everyone likes Christmas pudding, I for one think those people are a highly suspect but, in the spirit of goodwill, I feel it is my duty to offer up an alternative dessert for the yuletide season.
Every Christmas dinner should end with a treat, something decadent that won’t occupy precious oven space that is reserved for roasting turkey, potatoes and stuffing. (Or in the case of my Christmas this year, roasting duck and root vegetable gratin, I can’t wait!!)
This dessert is just that. Rich creamy mascarpone, (which, incidentally makes a truly excellent accompaniment to Christmas pud) crunchy, buttery, crumbly bits with just a hint of coconut, and best of all booze soaked fruit. I wouldn’t recommend setting light to this one though!
The choice of alcohol here is entirely up to you, if you’re anything like me it’s going to come down to what’s been in the cupboard for the longest! Fruity drinks will work best, I went with some Winter Pimms that had been unloved since last Christmas, when it was warmed with apple juice at a marvellous shindig. Kirsh, Grand Marnier, Chambord, Framboise, the choice is yours and for those of you who are teetotal, elderflower cordial will work an absolute treat, but you probably won’t need as much sugar.
One of the best things about this dessert is most of the components can be made the night before, so it’s super quick to pull together just before serving. You can make the crumble and macerate the berries on Christmas eve, leaving only the cream to mix up before you assemble the pretty little glasses. We all need minimal stress on Christmas day, right? Right.
Boozy Berries with Vanilla Mascarpone & Coconut Crumble
Please excuse the mix of American and British measurements, the battery ran out on my kitchen scales part way through my planning process!
For the crumble:
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
For the berries:
4 tbsp Winter Pimms, other fruity alcohol of your choice or elderflower cordial
2 tbsp icing sugar (halve this if using elderflower cordial)
200g strawberries (about a punnet)
50g blueberries (about 1/2 punnet)
For the cream:
250g low fat plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or the beans from a vanilla pod
It’s best to make the crumble in advance, as you want it to be cool when you add it to the dessert, I suggest the night before.
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 C Fan / 350 F. Start by rubbing together the butter and flour with your finger tips. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs stir through the sugar and the coconut. Spread the crumble out in a baking dish and put it into the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, shuffling the mix a little halfway through and keeping an eye on it towards the end. You’re looking for it to be fairly evenly golden. Once cooked leave it to cool completely.
Also in advance of serving (the day before if you like) prepare the fruit. Finely chop the strawberries and halve the blueberries. In a small saucepan melt the icing sugar into the alcohol over a low heat. Once it’s melted add the strawberries and blueberries, stir them in, remove the pan from the heat and pour the berried into a bowl to cool.
Before serving, thoroughly mix together the mascarpone, yoghurt and vanilla. Now it’s time to layer up your 3 components in serving glasses. Start with the crumble at the base and beyond that it’s up to you! Enjoy!