Tanya bakes Christmas

In a second helping from her new book, Tanya Burr presents essential cakes, bakes and puds, all true to the old traditions but sure to wow now.

Sticky toffee and pear traybake

This is for my favourite person, my husband Jim. Sticky toffee pudding is one of his all-time favourites. I have included pears to give extra moisture. Serve it with custard, clotted cream or ice cream.

SERVES 10

FOR THE PUDDING

90g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

160g stoned dates, roughly chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g light muscovado sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tbsp black treacle

175g self-raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100ml milk

FOR THE PEARS

5 ripe pears

40g unsalted butter

25g golden granulated sugar

FOR THE TOFFEE SAUCE

225g light muscovado sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

275ml double cream

1 tbsp black treacle

YOU WILL NEED

a 20cm x 30cm baking tray at least 3cm deep

  • Preheat the oven to 170C/ 325F/gas 3. Lightly grease the baking tray and line it with baking parchment. Put the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl and pour over 150ml boiling water. Cover with clingfilm and leave until cold, then add the vanilla extract and mash the dates with a fork – don’t worry if it is a little lumpy.
  • Peel, quarter and core the pears (remove the stems too). Melt the 40g of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until the mixture bubbles and the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and cook for 5-10 minutes until caramelised and tender, turning them over so that all the sides get nicely browned. Remove from the heat.
  • To make the pudding batter, beat the butter with the sugar in a bowl until pale and soft.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first is well incorporated before adding the next. Add the treacle and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour and bicarbonate of soda and add them to the treacle mixture. Gently fold to combine, then fold in the milk. Stir in the mashed dates and their soaking liquid.
  • Arrange the pear quarters in a layer in the baking tray and pour over any buttery juices from the pan. Carefully pour the batter evenly over the pears and pop it in the oven for 45-50 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • While the pudding is baking, make the toffee sauce. Gently heat the sugar, butter and half the cream in a large saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir in the treacle and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, until it turns a rich toffee colour. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the rest of the cream.
  • Allow the pudding to cool in the tray for 20 minutes, then poke it all over with a toothpick or skewer. Pour over half the toffee sauce and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Invert the traybake on to a large platter or board to serve, with the rest of the toffee sauce for pouring and custard or clotted cream or – better yet – vanilla ice cream.

Panettone bread and butter pudding

My heart lifts when I think about bread and butter pudding. It’s such a comforting dish – a hug in a bowl. Here I’ve made a lighter version using the Italian Christmas classic, panettone. You only need half or three-quarters of a cake, which leaves the rest for another day.

SERVES 6-8

50g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

750g panettone

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

300ml full-fat milk

100ml double cream

2 eggs

100g golden caster sugar

25g demerara sugar

custard, cream or ice cream, to serve

YOU WILL NEED

a 30cm oval or rectangular pie dish or ceramic roasting dish

  • Grease the pie dish with butter.
  • Slice the panettone into quarters, then each quarter into roughly 1.5cm-thick slices.
  • Put a layer of panettone in the bottom of the greased dish, then brush the layer with melted butter. Sprinkle over some of the cinnamon and nutmeg, then repeat the process. Keep going until you have three layers of panettone triangles.
  • Warm the milk and cream together in a saucepan over a low heat, but don’t let it boil.
  • Whisk the eggs and caster sugar together in a bowl until light and pale, then slowly pour this into the cream mixture over a very low heat, stirring constantly until fully combined.
  • Pour the custard over the panettone. At this point, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4. Allow the pudding to rest while the oven heats up.
  • Pop the pudding in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Sprinkle with the crunchy demerara sugar and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm with your choice of custard, cream or ice cream.

Iced, spiced scones

This recipe is inspired by Gail’s Bakery and the love I have for their scones. It doesn’t need any butter or cream and jam accompaniment, just a big mug of tea in front of Miracle on 34th Street.

MAKES ABOUT 8

250g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter, softened

30g golden caster sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

125ml milk, plus extra for brushing

FOR THE GLAZE

3-4 tbsp milk

150g icing sugar, sifted

YOU WILL NEED

a 5cm round pastry cutter

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a bowl, add the butter and, using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the mixture has a crumbly texture. Stir in the sugar.
  • Tip the lightly beaten egg into the flour mixture, then add the milk, little by little, until you have a soft, sticky dough (you might not need all the milk).
  • Dust the work surface with flour, tip the dough out on to the surface and, using your hands, pat it into a flat disc. Gently roll it a few times to flatten it to a thickness of 2cm-3cm.
  • Using a 5cm cutter, cut out a circle and place it on the lined baking tray. Repeat, and when you need to bring your dough back together, knead it lightly, before patting into a disc to cut more circles (you should get a total of 8 circles).
  • Brush the tops with milk and pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the scones are golden.
  • While the scones bake, prepare the glaze by stirring the milk into the icing sugar a little at a time until you have a smooth, pourable mixture. Set aside.
  • Remove the scones from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Pour the glaze over the tops and allow to set, or devour while still runny.

Yule log

I have made a yule log every year since I was little and am a big fan of the traditional chocolate and cream version. However, I love the modern addition of salted caramel here.

SERVES 10-12

FOR THE SPONGE

4 large eggs

140g golden caster sugar

60g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder

FOR THE GANACHE

125ml double cream

125g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into chunks

FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL CREAM FILLING

½ x 397g tin of caramel sauce

½ tsp sea salt flakes

300ml double cream

TO DECORATE

icing sugar

holly sprigs

chocolate shavings

YOU WILL NEED

a swiss roll tin

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/gas 6. Line the swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Start by making the sponge. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the eggs and mix until smooth and combined. Pour into the lined swiss roll tin and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until there is no wobble and the top of the sponge has a nice, light crust.
  • Turn the sponge out on to a sheet of baking parchment as soon as you remove it from the oven and carefully peel the parchment off the base of the sponge. Score a shallow line across the short edge of the sponge, 2cm from the bottom, taking care not to cut all the way through. Roll up the cake tightly, starting from the scored bottom. Leave to cool completely in this position.
  • While the sponge is cooling, make the ganache. Heat the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to bubble at the edges. Take the pan off the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until it has melted. Leave to cool completely.
  • For the filling, put the caramel in a large bowl and add the salt. Mix well. Pour in the cream and whisk until the mixture holds soft peaks.
  • Carefully unroll the sponge, then spread the caramel cream over it evenly. Roll the sponge up again as tightly as possible without squishing the cream out and leave to rest with the crease at the bottom.
  • Cut a thick diagonal slice off one end of the log, spread a little ganache over the cut side of the small piece and attach it to the side of the large roll to make a smaller branch. Alternatively, leave it as a simple straight log shape if you prefer.
  • Spread the ganache over the roll with a palette knife, then make lines in the ganache with a fork or palette knife to resemble bark. Finish with a sprinkle of icing sugar and a few sprigs of holly. You can scatter chocolate shavings at the base of the log too, to resemble bark.

Snowballs

Snowball by name, snowball by nature – these need to be stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve as they can start to melt. They are perfect mouthfuls of coconut deliciousness. 

MAKES ABOUT 24

175g unsweetened desiccated coconut

2 tbsp runny honey

5-7 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Put the desiccated coconut in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until it forms coarse crumbs. Transfer the coconut crumbs to a bowl and add the other ingredients (just 5 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil to start with). Stir with a spoon until you get a thick paste that will hold together when you press it against the side of the bowl. If it’s not quite coming together, add a little more of the melted coconut oil.
  • Put in the fridge for 20 minutes, until the mixture hardens.
  • Take it out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature again so that you can scoop it with a teaspoon.
  • It will be very crumbly, but press it into about 24 bite-sized balls with your hands – the warmth of your palms makes it easier to work.
  • Place the balls on a sheet of greaseproof paper and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them. They will melt if they are left out too long, so try to keep them cool (stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, they keep for ages).

SAVE 20 PER CENT ON TANYA’S CHRISTMAS

Tanya’s Christmas by Tanya Burr is published by Blink, price £16.99. Packed with festive know-how, it covers everything you need to make the most of Christmas and New Year, including finding the perfect gift, making decorations, hosting a memorable party, cooking Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and baking indulgent festive treats. There are more than 50 recipes and easy craft projects, plus hair and make-up tips, too.

SAVE 20 PER CENT ON TANYA’S CHRISTMAS

Tanya’s Christmas by Tanya Burr is published by Blink, price £16.99. Packed with festive know-how, it covers everything you need to make the most of Christmas and New Year, including finding the perfect gift, making decorations, hosting a memorable party, cooking Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and baking indulgent festive treats. There are more than 50 recipes

To order a copy for £13.59 (a 20 per cent discount) until 17 December, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.