November 2021: Four festive favourite desserts to dish up

It’s that time of year again…

Because our 6 tasty autumn recipes list went down so well with readers and residents, we’ve assembled a feast of four of our favourite festive desserts. Shortlisting these treats was harder than sticking to new year resolutions, but tucking into these will get you in the Christmas spirit.

Vegan sticky toffee pudding – this recipe serves 8

Ingredients for the pudding

  • 200g of pitted dates
  • 2 teaspoons of ground psyllium husks
  • 140g of soft dark brown sugar
  • 160g of vegan butter
  • 150ml of plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 50ml of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 175g of plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 80g of raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 180g of soft dark brown sugar
  • 75g of vegan butter

How to make it

Making the pudding

Heat your oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and butter a brownie tin or a deep 20m x 20cm baking tray.

Put your dates in a bowl and cover them with 150ml of recently boiled water. Leave the dates to soak for about 10 minutes. Use a second, smaller bowl to add two tablespoons of water to the ground psyllium husks. Mix them up and leave them to thicken.

Take a measuring jug and mix your plant milk and apple cider vinegar thoroughly. Leave the liquid to thicken up (it may curdle, but that is not an issue!)

Beat together the sugar and butter, before pouring in the plant milk mixture, vegetable oil and vanilla. Beat the complete mixture. You’ll probably find an electric whisk makes far lighter work of this!

Add the soaked psyllium husk mixture to your soaked dates and use a hand blender to whizz the mixture until it forms a paste. You then add the paste to the sugar/butter/milk/cider vinegar/vegetable oil/vanilla mixture, and beat to blend it all together.

Mix the remaining main pudding ingredients (flour, plain flour, fine sea salt, baking powder, bicarb of soda, ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger) together, then add them to the batter you’ve already beaten. Beat the full mix gently until it’s only just combined. Put your batter in the tin you buttered at the start and bake for 25 minutes.

While that’s baking, it’s time to make the sauce. Put the cashews into a blender and pour in 240ml of freshly boiled water. Let them soak for 30 minutes and take a breather. Once the 30 minutes is up – you’ll have just remove the pudding from the oven, as well – blend the cashews and water at high speed until you get a creamy mixture.

Making the sauce

Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting the cashews into a high-speed blender and pouring in 240ml of just-boiled water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Once soaked, blitz the cashews and the water together until very smooth and creamy.

Put the 180g of brown sugar and the 75g of vegan butter into a pan and stir as it heats, until the butter has melted. Take the heat down to medium low and add 150g of the cashew cream you’ve just made. Cook this for around 5 minutes – or as long as it takes for the sugar to melt and the mixture thickens and darkens.

Once your pudding has been out of the oven for around 15 minutes, prick it with a cocktail stick, about 20 times. Then pour on the toffee sauce you’ve made.

This sticky toffee pudding works well with ice cream – you won’t be surprised to learn!

Chocolate tart – this recipe serves 12, so feel free to reduce ratios proportionally


For the biscuit base

  • 200g of Oreos
  • 85g of unsalted butter
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes

For the chocolate sherry ganache

  • 250g of dark chocolate (65-70% cocoa solids)
  • 250g of milk chocolate (40-45% cocoa solids)
  • 20g of unsalted butter
  • 250ml of double cream
  • 50ml of Pedro Ximénez sherry

For the sherry whipped cream

  • 400ml of double cream
  • 4 tablespoons of Pedro Ximénez sherry
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
  • 50g of dark chocolate

How to make it

Making the base

Throw the Oreos into a food processor (or crush them in a bowl if you’d like more exercise) and mix until finely ground. Add the butter and salt, and mix again. Tip your mixture into a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Press the mixture firmly into place to create a level, even base. Put it in the fridge until it’s solid.

Making the ganache filling

Put your two types of chocolates in a bowl. With the hob on a medium heat, bring the butter and cream to a simmer in a pan. Once it’s simmering, pour the cream mixture over the chocolate. Leave it for about a minute and then and stir it together until you get a smooth ganache. Pour in the sweet sherry and stir it in. Pour the result onto the tart base and gently spread it until you have a second, even layer. Pop it back in the fridge until it sets.

Making the cream topping

Whisk the cream, sherry and vanilla until you have a mixture that will hold soft peaks. Spread it over the top of the tart, but don’t take it all the way to the edge of the tin.

To make the chocolate curls, take 50g of dark chocolate and melt it gently in a pan. Once melted, pour it onto the back of a baking tray and spread it into a thin and even layer. It should cool quickly, at which point you can put the tray into the freezer. Only for 2 minutes, though – you don’t want it to freeze. Use a metal spatula to scrape the chocolate into little curls. Scatter them over the cream topping and serve.

The tart will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days – which makes it all the more important to adapt the recipe quantity if necessary.

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake – this recipe serves 10


Ingredients for the base

  • 200g of ginger nut biscuits, crushed
  • 30g of light muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt
  • 110g of unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling

  • 240g of Christmas pudding
  • 30ml of brandy
  • 30ml of stout
  • The zest of an orange
  • 2 x 280g tubs full-fat cream cheese
  • 300ml of double cream
  • 200g of light muscovado sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods, split and seeds scraped

Ingredients for decorating

  • 2 clementines
  • light muscovado sugar, for sprinkling

How to make it

Making the base

First, crush the gingernut biscuits thoroughly. Put them into a large bowl with the sugar and sprinkle in the flaky salt. Melt your butter over a low heat, before pouring it in with the biscuit mix. Use a wooden spoon to mix until you’ve got a mixture that looks like biscuit crumbs. Press this crumbly mix into a 20cm round springform cake tin until you’ve got an even layer. Pop it in the fridge to set, which should take around 30 minutes.

Making the rest

Firstly, zest your single orange. Put the Christmas pudding, brandy, stout and orange zest in a blender and whizz it until you have a purée.

With an electric hand whisk, beat the cream cheese with the double cream, sugar and vanilla seeds. Once that’s beaten well, fold it through the purée. Spread the combined mixture over the biscuit base and leave it to chill in the fridge overnight.

The following day, peel the clementines and slice them (rather than just separating the segments). Place them on a baking tray and sprinkle them with sugar. Use either a kitchen blowtorch or, if you don’t have one or don’t feel safe using one, use a long disposable kitchen butane lighter to caramelise the sugary clementines. Let them cool, before placing them on top of your cheesecake. This cheesecake will keep for up to three days in the fridge.

Baileys trifle – this recipe serves 10


Ingredients for the Baileys custard

  • 3 gelatine sheets
  • 400ml of double cream
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 8 large free-range egg yolks (see tips)
  • 60g of caster sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons of cornflour
  • 150ml of Baileys Irish Cream

Ingredients for the base

  • 300g of ready-made madeira loaf cake
  • 100g of apricot or raspberry jam
  • 100g of Lindt Lindor white chocolate truffles, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Ingredients for the topping

  • 600ml of double cream
  • 75g of Lindt Lindor white chocolate truffles, chopped
  • A dusting of icing sugar

How to make it

Put the three gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Set them aside to soak for about 5 minutes.

Pour the cream and milk into a pan and bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat. Meanwhile, lightly beat together the sugar, cornflour and the yolks of eight large eggs (you can freeze the unused egg whites in a container for up to three months – just mark the container with the date and how many egg whites it contains). Pour the hot cream mixture over the beaten yolks/sugar. Whisk the mix to prevent it from scrambling, then stir in half of the Baileys.

Pour the resulting mixture into a clean pan. Stir it over a medium heat until it forms a thick custard. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves and stir them into the custard.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining Baileys. Cover the surface so you don’t get a skin forming while you leave it to cool.

Chop your Lindor truffles into slices and then cut the premade madeira cake into slices about 1cm thick. Spread one side of each slice with jam. Use these slices to line the bottom half of a large trifle dish (jammy side facing inwards towards the middle of the bowl. Add 100g of the chopped Lindor truffles and cocoa powder to the lined trifle dish. Finally, pour the now-cool custard over the base. Leave the entire dish in the fridge to chill and set. This will take at least two hours.

Put the double cream in a bowl and whip it until it forms medium peaks. Spoon it over the custard layer in your trifle dish. Now add the remaining 75g of chopped Lindor truffles and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Recipes come courtesy of Olive magazine, Delicious magazine and BBC Good Food.