Admittedly a tad delayed, but still timely, here is a list of a few favorite things which help make Christmas the best season of the year.
1. A great excuse to hold a party or two. With lots and lots of booze.
2. Christmas lights all over cities
3. An excuse to put a giant tree in your living room and decorate it (the smell is just amazing!! Fake trees are not the way to go).
4. Mulled wine. Nom.
5. Turkey and stuffing and trimmings and pudding and brandy butter.
6. MORE FOOD (and almost all of it seems to contain alcohol in some way or another).
8. Gingerbread houses.
9. The spirit in the air: everyone is happy….. ok most people are happy.
10. Yet another reason to get presents (and of course buy some…not the season to be selfish)!
11. Christmas markets
12. Carol singing (definitely the only time of year I actually make it to church)
14. Lots and lots of family time…. probably not appreciated by everyone out there, in some cases 2 days a year are plenty.
17. Tasteless Christmas jumpers….. Primark seems to have been successful in this department
Why can’t it be Christmas all year round? We would possibly all be spoilt and overweight alcoholics by now if that were the case, but introducing a half Christmas in June doesn’t seem like such a bad idea:-).
Lebkuchen Mousse ala Robert Speth
Important things first: Lebkuchen is not the same as gingerbread. It may contain similar spices, but is still not the same. So don’t try make this mousse with gingerbread (but if you do, let us know how it turns out).
for the Mousse:
2 egg yolks
1 leaf of gelatin, soaked
3 tbsp warm Kirsch
100g milk chocolate, melted
2.5dl cream, whipped
50g Lebkuchen, finely grated
Cognac and Rum, to taste (I usually only add a bit more than a tsp of Cognac)
for the Orange sauce:
50g caster sugar
4 tbsp white wine
125ml orange juice
60g butter, cut into pieces
- Before you start: it is best to make the mousse the night before as it should chill for at least 6 hours before serving.
- Prepare all the ingredients for the mousse as mentioned in the list above.
- Whisk the egg, the egg yolks and the sugar over a water bath until warm. Dissolve the soaked gelatin leaf in the warm Kirsch by stirring gently.
- Add the Kirsch/gelatin to the egg mixture and whisk to combine until the mixture has cooled down.
- Using a spatula, mix in the melted chocolate. Fold in the whipped cream and finally gently incorporate the Lebkuchen crumbs into your mousse.
- Taste it and add some Rum, Cognac or both to the mousse for the finishing touch. As I mentioned, I prefer to add Cognac (am not really a fan of either, but it does make a big difference). But don’t add too much, one can quickly add a tipsy-inducing-amount without realizing ;-).
- Cover with cling film and chill for at least 6 hours before serving, preferably over night.
- For the sauce (make this right before serving), caramelize 50g of sugar with the zest of 2 oranges. Don’t get impatient with the caramel, it just likes to take its time! You’d rather do it over low heat and not burn it than end up with burnt orange flavored sugar:-).
- Meanwhile you can segment your oranges. It’s actually not as hard as people seem to think. This should help you.
- Once you have a nice caramel, deglaze it with your white wine and add the orange juice. Reduce your sauce by half of the volume and finally stir in the butter chunks.
- Stir in the segmented oranges into your sauce, let them pick up the heat and serve straight away with your mousse.
One two three four – SCORE
[Numerical ratings are out of four, where four is best/healthiest/hardest.]
Taste: 3.9, imagine Christmas in your mouth.
Difficulty: 3. We’ll add a level of difficulty for segmenting the oranges and making caramel.
Healthiness: We should probably omit this point for any holiday related dishes… this time of year one should just indulge in all foods and forget about healthiness/calories. Don’t waste time thinking about your diet during the last few days of the year.
Cost: 3. If your bar is not equipped with Kirsch or Cognac it can get pricey.