Looking for a sweet way to wow your friends and family this Christmas? We asked the supermarkets’ foodie experts for their top dessert picks (plus sneaky cheats for a home-made feel…)
The Expert: Head Development Chef Neil Nugent
The dessert: Luxury White Chocolate and Red Velvet Present. This was launched in response to the consumer trend for show-stopping ‘reveal’ desserts and has a red velvet base, encased in a white chocolate outer which reveals the mousse inside, and is dotted with raspberries. It comes with a hot raspberry coulis to heat up in the microwave and pour over the top for the big reveal.
The cost: £8.00
How to customise: My tip would be to place in the middle of the table on Christmas Day and give everyone a spoon to dig in, rather than serving on individual plates. Sprinkle it with goodies from the cupboard (such as chocolate chip cookies and toasted almonds, and raspberries from the freezer).
The Expert: Head Development Chef Richard Jones
The dessert: The Best Black Forest Mince Pies. Butter-enriched chocolate pastry with morello cherry mincemeat, topped with a cherry & kirsch filling, finished with an all-butter, dark chocolate chip crumble, ‘sweet snow’ sugar dusting and gold glitter. Black forest is a retro flavour that’s on trend so it seemed to be a good fit for this year. I wanted to create a mince pie with chocolate pastry, and a dark chocolate crumble-type topping for those who aren’t a fan of the classic mince pie.
The cost: 6 for £2
How to customise: The crumble on top makes these look more homemade, but dust with some extra icing sugar and serve slightly warmed with a dollop of brandy cream or clotted cream for an extra home-made look.
The Expert: Pastry Chef Will Torrent
The dessert: Waitrose & Partners Rich Chocolate Meringue Yule Log with Pistachio Cream. A rich, hand-rolled chocolate meringue with whipped pistachio cream, topped with Belgian chocolate sauce and chopped salted pistachios.
Who doesn’t love a roulade for that special celebration and this is one you can buy in advance and keep in the freezer, taking it out on Christmas Day morning.
The cost: £8
How to customise: While in the frozen aisle, pick up some essential Waitrose Frozen Raspberries, pop them in a saucepan with a squeeze of honey, a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of cinnamon. Slowly cook down until you end up with a delicious spiced raspberry compote to serve alongside a slice of the yule log.
The Expert: Chilled and Frozen Dessert Product Development Manager Debbie Wallen
The dessert: Tesco Finest Sticky Toffee Wreath Torte. A truly elegant centrepiece – layers of sticky toffee sponge, with a sweet date and crumb base, a rich caramel, indulgent maple mousse and caramel glaze. Hand-decorated with an intricate chocolate wreath.
The cost: £10
How to customise: Serve with a nice brandy pouring cream to complement the maple and caramel flavours. The cream will add a whole new layer to the firm and sticky date base, the soft silky mouse and the crisp chocolate wreath. Enjoy with a cheeky White Russian Cocktail to make this a very special end to a Christmas dinner.
The Expert: Product Development Manager Victoria March
The dessert: Taste the Difference Melting Chocolate Billionaire’s Dome – layers of rich chocolate biscuit crumb, salted caramel custard, Belgian chocolate mousse and chunks of chocolate brownie, all hidden under a luxurious chocolate dome. Simply warm the rich salted caramel sauce and pour over the dome, melting it and revealing the decadent pudding below.
The cost: £12
How to customise: Add some Sainsbury’s Gold Edible Glitter Spray to the dome for an added shimmer, which looks great as the chocolate melts. If you want to make it look more home-made, heat the salted caramel sauce up in a saucepan, then pour it over the pudding straight from the pan so you can pretend you’ve made it from scratch!
The Expert: Managing Director of Buying Julie Ashfield
The dessert: Specially Selected Croquembouche Patisserie Kit. The perfect show-stopper for your party, this build-your-own tower of delicious praline plus plain and snowball choux pastry profiteroles also includes chocolate and caramel sauce and festive sprinkles.
With the trend for shareable and make-your-own foods getting bigger and bigger, we want to offer our customers something different.
The cost: £6.49 (on sale 19th November)
How to customise: Depending on what flavours your guests like, you can customise the tower by flavour, sauce or sprinkles – the kit comes with three different types of profiteroles, two sauces and festive sprinkles.
The Expert: Product Developer M&S Desserts Daniel Fletcher
The dessert: The Collection Belgian Chocolate & Cherry Dessert. Slice into the Belgian chocolate mousse to uncover a hidden centre of chocolate sponge, dark chocolate, white chocolate mousse and a cherry compote. It is the ultimate showstopper.
The cost: £20
How to customise: For that extra wow factor, slice it at the table then add fresh whole cherries and Madagascan Vanilla Ice Cream for that final touch. And nothing says Christmas like a sprinkle of edible glitter! Our new Cookies & Cream Granola has already become a smash hit with customers – I think that would be an amazing addition to any chocolate dessert this Christmas.
The Expert: Asda’s Head Development Chef Mark Richmond
The dessert: Asda’s Extra Special Raspberry and Pistachio Wreath – a crisp and chewy pistachio chocolate-flavoured meringue layered with cream, raspberries, pistachios and an elegant chocolate drizzle.
The cost: £6
How to customise: The wreath can easily be customised by shaving some Extra Special chocolate over the top of the wreath using a peeler; with a simple dusting of icing sugar; by adding a small serving of Extra Sweet whipped cream flavoured with orange blossom water to complement the raspberry and pistachio flavours of the wreath; or with fresh macerated berries with Grand Marnier.
Feature by Rosalind Lowe