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The Gill Books 12 Feasts of Christmas: The Sweetest Things

22-12-2016 11:42


The Gill Books 12 Feasts of Christmas celebrates the festive season with 12 feasts featuring recipes from our wonderful authors. Recipes that will impress the visitors, help cure any overindulgence, sustain you, help you celebrate in style and most importantly, taste delicious. These selection of desserts are perfect for those with a sweet tooth.


Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown: Apple Fritters with Mince Pie Ice-cream


Part cookbook, part memoir, part self-help manual, Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown by Sophie White is a hilarious and refreshingly honest take on the life of a modern millennial woman – the perfect kitchen companion for laughing about the silly stuff, crying about the sad stuff, staring down our own personal madness and getting on with it (all while eating some delicious food along the way).


Here is a dessert that is one part total palaver and one part ridiculously easy. I think they probably cancel one another out to be, as a whole, fairly doable. This is the only ice cream recipe you’ll ever need in life again: no ice-cream maker required, no constant stirring by hand, no effort whatsoever. You can play around with flavour combos too. As for the fritters, yes, deep-frying is a pain in the ass – it must be an evolutionary thing to keep us from doing it too often (I hear it’s not the healthiest). But, my God, a freshly fried fritter is worth the hassle, dammit.


Makes about 25 fritters and 10 portions of ice cream

250g plain flour
75g sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
150ml milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cooking apples peeled, cored and diced into 1-cm cubes
400ml sunflower oil
75g sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, for coating Ice cream
200ml tinned condensed milk
4 tablespoons maple syrup
500ml double cream
8 tablespoons mincemeat

Make the ice cream the night before. In a bowl, combine the condensed milk and maple syrup.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the condensed milk mixture, stir in the mincemeat, then pour the ice cream into a plastic container and freeze. No churning needed – it really is the easiest ice cream ever.

To prepare the fritters, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk the milk, eggs and butter together in a separate bowl, then gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, ensuring that there are no pockets of flour.

Stir in the apples to make a chunky batter. Pour the oil into a saucepan and heat over a medium–high heat. When a small bit of batter sizzles and immediately rises to the top when dropped into the oil, it is hot enough. Drop tablespoons of batter into the oil and cook in batches of three or four, reheating the oil between batches. Cook the fritters for about 4 minutes, turning halfway through, then carefully remove and drain on kitchen paper. Toss the fritters in the cinnamon sugar and serve with the ice cream.

The fritters can be made up the night before – cook all the batter, drain the fritters, arrange on a lined baking tray and store overnight at room temperature. When you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6 and heat the fritters for 8–10 minutes until hot and crispy


Prefer video recipes? Check out Sophie making this dish here.


Eat Yourself Fit: Mini Toffee Cheesecakes


The No.1 best-selling author Rosanna Davsion is back with over 100 recipes and tips to help you hit peak performance in her new book Eat Yourself Fit.


Creamy, silky miniature cheesecakes flavoured with toffee and vanilla, all on top of a chewy base. When I first made these at home to test the recipe, my husband polished them off in well under an hour. Always a good sign of a delicious dessert!





150g dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes to soften

140g raw unsalted almonds or walnuts

1–2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract or powder




1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge

210g raw unsalted cashew nuts, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes and drained

165g pure maple syrup or honey

70g coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract or powder




150g dates, pitted and soaked for 20 minutes in hot water to soften

1 tbsp tahini

1 tsp vanilla extract or powder

pinch of sea salt




To make the base, drain the soaked dates well and place them in a food processor with the almonds, cinnamon and vanilla. Blend them together until a sticky dough forms. You should be able to stick the mixture together between your fingers. Use a tablespoon to divide the mixture evenly between the wells of a muffin tin (you should aim to make around 7 cheesecakes), pressing down gently on the mixture to help it stick together and making sure the tops are smooth and even.


To make the cheesecake filling, first carefully open the tin of chilled coconut milk without shaking it. The thick coconut cream should have separated from the coconut water. Spoon it out into a blender or food processor. Add the drained cashews, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla. Blend together until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Divide the filling between the bases in the muffin tray and make sure they’re smooth across the top.


To make the toffee sauce, drain the soaked dates and place them in a blender with the tahini, vanilla and salt. Use a splash of warm water to help it blend into a smooth sauce. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender if necessary. Use a teaspoon to place a dollop of toffee sauce on the centre of each cheesecake, smoothing it across the top.


Place the entire tray into the freezer to set for at least 2 hours. Remove from the freezer when ready to serve and use a blunt knife to ease the edges of the cheesecakes out from the tin, then pop them out. The cheesecakes are best eaten on the day they’re made, but they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.


A Taste of Home: Ginger and Orange Christmas Pudding


Using simple, fresh ingredients and set against the timeless backdrop of the Irish countryside, Catherine’s delicious, wholesome recipes from her new book A Taste of Home celebrates the best ingredients Ireland has to offer.

In our house, when making the pudding, we keep the fantastic tradition of stirring – each family member has a go and makes a wish (usually about possible large Christmas gifts!) I’ve added ginger here for a tasty twist to this pudding and also to add another level to the festive flavours.


100g raisins
100g sultanas
75g currants
3 tbsp mixed peel
1 tbsp finely chopped crystallised ginger
3 tbsp Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur or brandy)
100ml orange juice
75g dark brown sugar
melted butter, for brushing
50g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp ground almonds
40g fresh white breadcrumbs
80g plain flour
½ tsp ground ginger
½ orange, zest only
1 egg, beaten
60g chilled butter or suet, finely chopped

Combine all the ingredients for steeping, cover and leave in a cool place overnight.

To make the pudding, generously brush a 900ml pudding bowl with melted butter. Line the base with a circle of parchment paper. Mix the caster sugar, almonds, breadcrumbs, flour, ginger and orange zest together in a large bowl. Carefully stir the soaked fruit into the dry ingredients, then stir in the beaten egg. Finally, add the butter or suet.

Spoon the mixture into the pudding bowl. Then cover the bowl tightly with a well-fitting lid or a layer of parchment paper and foil. Secure with string, ensuring to cross the string over the top of the bowl. This forms a handle. Place the bowl in a saucepan a quarter full of boiling water – the water should be only halfway up the sides of the pudding bowl – and reduce the heat. Cover and leave to simmer very gently for 4 hours – remember to top up with boiling water as required. Carefully remove the pudding from the saucepan, cool in the bowl and store in a cool, dry place.


100ml fresh orange juice
50ml caster sugar
1 tbsp butter
icing sugar, for dusting
4 to 5 crystallised ginger pieces, roughly chopped, to decorate
½ orange, zest only

To make the orange sauce, combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer for 12 minutes until thick. Whisk in the butter and cool. This will keep in the fridge overnight.

On Christmas Day, reheat the pudding by steaming again for at least 1½ hours. Turn the pudding out and dust with icing sugar. Warm the orange sauce and decorate the pudding with ginger pieces and orange zest on top. (P.S. A dash of brandy in the orange sauce is nice too!)


We hope that you found some inspiration for your sweet toothed family and friends. Happy feasting to you and yours, stay tuned for more fantastically festive recipes. Follow us @GillBooks on Twitter, @gillbooks on Instagram and like us on Facebook for the latest author news.

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