Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Recipes

Mince pies with pear & brandy

From Belle Isle Cookery School

Ingredients -Makes 12

For the pastry:

225g/8 oz plain flour

50g/2 oz ground almonds

140g/5 oz butter, chilled and cut into cubes

Zest of an orange

1 egg yolk

2 oz icing sugar

For the filling:

225g/8 oz good quality sweet mincemeat

75g/3 oz toasted hazelnuts/almonds

Good dash of brandy or rum

1 comice ripe pear, unpeeled and grated

Zest of a lemon

1 apple, unpeeled and grated

Icing sugar for dusting

1 egg, beaten for glazing





  • Preheat oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.
  • Put all the pastry ingredients into a food processor and whiz until it comes together into a smooth dough.
  • Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Butter and flour a muffin tin.  Roll the dough out thinly between two sheets of cling film (this will prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin and you will not need any extra flour) and cut out 12 x 7.5cm/3 inch rounds.  Line the tin with the pastry.
  • Roll out enough smaller rounds to fit over the top (if you are feeling patient, roll out tiny balls to sprinkle on top). Mix the mincemeat together with all of the other ingredients and add brandy or rum to taste, if you do this the night before it will taste even better!
  • Put 2 tsp. of mincemeat in each case and cover with the smaller rounds.  Glaze with egg wash and bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.  Cool in tins for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack.



Make different toppings using a crumble or biscuits cutters to make shapes such as stars etc.

Dunbrody Mulled Wine Recipe
Mulled wine recipes tend to vary as the taste is very personal.  This is one we use at Dunbrody as we like the sweetness added by the 7UP where many other prefer to use Sparkling Water. This recipe makes enough for 15 glasses and reheats very well if you want to make it the day before.”  Catherine Dundon, Dunbrody Country House Hotel.



1 large orange sliced

• 2 pears, cored and quartered

• 3 plums halved

• 250g brown sugar
• 6 whole cloves
• 3 cinnamon stick
• 1 whole vanilla pod, halved


• pinch of mixed spice

• pinch of nutmeg

• 2 star anise
• 2 bottles of full bodied red wine


•750 ml Cranberry Juice

•750 ml 7Up or Sprite

(Sparkling water if you prefer)

This is really easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves and cinnamon and vanilla adds a wonderful aroma.



Pour the wine and cranberry juice into a large pot and slowly heat.  Add in your fruits and sugar stirring continuously. 

Add the cloves, cinnamon, mixed spice, star anise and nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in.  Bring to the boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, reduce the heat and slowly add in the 7Up (or the sparkling water) stirring continuously.



Allow to cool and store in a cool area until needed.  Reheat as required.   

Handmade Rose Water Marshmallow

From Ballymaloe Country House 

Once you taste handmade marshmallow you will never go back to the mass produced version. This recipe makes delicately flavored and lighter than air marshmallow that is best enjoyed within a few days of making.

Makes approx 100

455g (1lb) granulated or caster sugar
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
9 gelatine leaves or 5½ rounded teaspoons of powdered gelatine
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon good quality rose water

Red food colour paste
4 tablespoon icing sugar and 4 tablespoon cornflour sieved together

1. Line the bottom of a 30x20cm baking tray with parchment paper. Dust with sieved icing sugar and cornflour.
2. Place sugar, glucose and 200 ml of water in a heavy bottom saucepan. Stir to ensure all of the sugar is wet. Using a pastry brush dipped water, remove any sugar crystals from the side of the saucepan. Place the saucepan on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling do not stir, simply tilt the pot from side to side to ensure the solution heats evenly until it reaches 127°C. It is important to keep an eye on the temperature using a sugar thermometer.
3. Meanwhile, rehydrate the gelatine in 140ml water.
4. When the boiling syrup reaches 110°C start whipping the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
5. Add the rehydrated gelatine and water into the syrup when it reaches 127°C and stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture will foam slightly, this is normal. Pour the hot syrup onto the egg whites and whip on full speed for 5-10 minutes until the marshmallow thickens and the bowl of the mixer is warm to the touch. Turn the speed of the mixer to low and whisk in the rosewater and enough food colour paste to turn the marshmallow baby pink.
6. Spoon the thick marshmallow mix onto the lined baking tray and smooth with a palette knife. Allow to set (usually takes 2 hours).
7. Dust the top of the marshmallow with the icing sugar and cornflour mix. Turn out onto a work surface, peel off the paper and cut into cubes. Roll each marshmallow in the cornflour and icing sugar mix to finish.