Recipes from our Xmas table – the desserts we all loved!

I promised when I spoke about our Xmas menu this year to post the recipes from some of the favorite dishes that Trevor and I prepared for the day so here I am back at the computer putting together the recipes for you from 4 of the deserts that we presented on the day and that the family all loved.

Of course we did more than 4 recipes for Xmas day and if I get the time I will post the others but I thought I would put the ones that everyone enjoyed and of course include the special Pavlova recipe that I have made now for over 35 years after it was handed down to me from a close friend of my mothers when I was about 15 years old and ever since then a Xmas has not gone by when I have not made a Pavlova for family who have gathered to help celebrate Xmas day.

The other ones that I will include here are the strawberry mascarpone tart, the raspberry, pistachio and rose-water ice cream and Gouda apple pie.  Each of these, as well as the Pavlova were all favorites on Xmas Day and so I am really pleased to be able to share the recipes with you…

Mary’s Easy Pavlova 


4 egg whites
1 cup of castor sugar
1 tbl of corn flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tsp of vinegar

Topping (this is of course an individual choice – some people like to add passion-fruit for a more traditional Pavlova topping and I also sometimes add kiwi fruit as well)

Whipped cream
Bananas sliced
Fresh berries – either whole or quartered depending on which berries you are going to use

The above makes a small Pavlova and I know that for me on Xmas Day and family gatherings when there are more than about a dozen people I make a Pavlova using 12 egg whites…so then just triple the other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

To begin beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then gradually add the sugar.  Beat again until they form stiff peaks and the sugar is well combined.

Turn the mixer down and gradually add the rest of the ingredients and once they are well combined beat again on high for a couple of minutes.

I then line a pizza tray with foil and turn out the Pavlova mixture and from it into a nice circle.

Place in the oven and initially set the timer for 20 minutes.  Check to see if the crust has formed and then leave for another 20 minutes.  I then turn the oven down to about 150C and leave the Pavlova for another 20 minutes and then turn the oven off and leave the Pavlova in it for about half an hour before removing it and letting it cool before turning it out onto the serving platter.

I usually then place it in the fridge and leave it until the day that I am going to be serving it to add the fruit and cream.

Sticking with Mary’s original recipe place sliced bananas on the top of the Pavlova and then cover them with the whipped cream and then to top it all off arrange the berries on top and it is ready to slice and serve.


Mary’s Easy Pavlova – a Xmas Day tradition!

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart


1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 tbl of unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 to 4 tbl of ice water


2 cups of quartered ripe strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice


1 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of sliced strawberries

To prepare the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together.  Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

To prepare the preserves, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, cooking until the juices thicken to a jam-like consistency, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Do not worry if it is very runny as the mixture will thicken when it cools.  Transfer to a bowl and all to cool completely.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/8 inch thick circle.  Cut it into a neat 9 to 10 inch circle and transfer the round dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Prick the surface a few times with a fork.  Cover the crust with a sheet of parchment, and top with something to weight it down and keep it flat.  We used a tart pan filled with pie weights.  Bake it for 15 minutes, remove the top baking sheet and return it to the oven.  Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until golden.  I suggest making it pretty dark golden.  Remove from the over and allow the crust to cool completely.

Mix the mascarpone and sugar together in a small bowl.  Spread the mascarpone evenly over the cooled crust, going almost all the way to the edge.  Spread a thin layer of the cooled strawberry preserves over the mascarpone.  You will not use all the jam – you can spread it on your toast for breakfast if you are not going to do another tart any time soon!

Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the preserves, working in concentric circles from the outside in.

Pass a generous 1/4 cup of the strawberry preserves through a fine strainer.  Combine with 2 teaspoons of water in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring, just until smooth.  Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the strawberries.  Serve the tart at room temperature.

straw tart

The yummy strawberry and mascarpone tart!

Gouda and Tart Apple Pie

This was  a real treat and combines the tartness of granny smith apples with the nuttiness of Gouda cheese to make an irresistible apple pie.


Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp of salt

20 tbl of unsalted butter cut into  1 inch pieces

4 ounces of Gouda cheese, grated finely

6 – 7 tbl of ice water


1 1/2 kilos of granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

3 litres of boiling water

5 tbl of granulated sugar, plus 1 tbl for sprinkling over the crust

5 tbl light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbl cornflour

1 egg white, lightly beaten


Whisk together the flour, salt and grated Gouda in a large mixing bowl.  Using a food processor mix the butter and flour/cheese mixture until the largest butter chunks are the size of large peas.

Open the top of the food processor and sprinkle ice water over the flour mixture in increments of one tablespoon, pulsing a couple of times between additions.  Repeat until dough begins to clump together.

Remove flour mixture from food processor and return it to the large mixing bowl.  Gather the tough together with your hands and press into two disks.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Add the apple slices to a large bowl and pour boiling water on top.  Cover bowl and set aside for ten minutes.  Drain apples completely and let sit in a colander in the sink, tossing occasionally until completely dry, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Return apples to a large bowl and add sugars, cinnamon, salt and corn flour, and toss until apples are evenly coated.  Set the mixture aside.

Move the oven rack to the centre place and preheat the oven to 200 C.  Roll out one disk of pie dough into a circle of about 12 inches in diameter and transfer to a 9 inch pie plate.  Add the filling.  Roll out the remaining pie dough into a 10 inch rectangle and cut into 1/2 inch strips.  Us the strip to weave a lattice top.

Brush the pie evenly with egg white and sprinkle evenly with a tablespoon of sugar.  Transfer pie to a parchment covered rimmed sheet pan in the oven.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 175C and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. If the edges are getting overly browned, you can cover with foil or crust protectors.  Remove from the over and let cool to room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.


This was a real treat on Xmas day – the pastry was divine!

Raspberry, Pistachio and Rosewater ice cream cake.


2.25 l of home-made vanilla ice cream, softened – or if you do not want to make your own you can use any good quality vanilla ice cream – we prefer to make our own

2 x 125 g punnets fresh raspberries

80 g unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

1 tsp rosewater essence

Honey to drizzle

1 cup of fresh raspberries extra to serve

25 g unsalted pistachio kernels extra, finely chopped to serve


Line a 2.5L capacity pudding bowl with a double layer of plastic wrap, allowing the sides to overhang.

Pleas the ice-cream in a large bowl.  Gently fold in the raspberries, pistachio and rosewater.  Transfer to the prepared pudding bowl.  Cover the surface with the overhanging plastic wrap.  Place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight until firm.

Place a serving platter in the freezer to chill slightly.  Turn the ice-cream cake onto the platter and remove the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes or until firm.

Drizzle over honey and top with extra raspberries and pistachio.


Yummy and a lovely addition to our Xmas dessert table!

So there you have it the 4 favorites from Xmas day.  Of course none of them are really just Xmas recipes but perfect summer dessert treats for anytime you are entertaining.  I hope that if you try them that you will enjoy them as much as our family did!

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