Who else is loving the Two Greedy Italians on SBS? Their enthusiasm for eating is so contagious that ‘Wonderful!’ and ‘Fantastic!’ are now the words that first come to mind when it comes to good food. The recipes are also great for home cooks; simple and wholesome, all you need is fresh produce and a bit of TLC.
On the lookout for a lighter pudding recipe for Christmas this year, Antonio Carluccio’s zuccotto recipe absolutely fit the bill. A northern Italian dessert traditionally made with plain sponge, this recipe calls for panettone, providing another way to enjoy this festive cake. Versatile, easy to construct and requiring no cooking, prepare this on Christmas Eve and set overnight for a wonderful (…see what i mean?) fruity pudding on Christmas day.
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!!
Adapted from Two Greedy Italians
Ingredients (makes two 15cm puddings)
- 1 large panettone, 1kg
- 1kg ricotta
- 150g caster sugar
- 100g glace fruit, finely chopped (Italian glace fruit can be found at nut stores and delis)
- two handfuls of flaked almonds (or two handfuls of any nuts you have on hand, finely chopped)
- 100g of chopped dark eating chocolate
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 150mL Vin Santo (Italian dessert wine, or use any dessert wine)
- Divide the ricotta, caster sugar, chopped fruit, nuts and chocolate between two mixing bowls and stir to thoroughly combine. Add the cocoa to one of the mixtures, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate the two mixtures until required.
- Line two 15cm pudding basins with cling wrap, leaving excess around the edges to help you turn out the puddings later on.
- Cut 4 round discs, ~1.5cm thick, from the bottom of the panettone and set aside. Slice the remaining cake vertically into 1.5cm thick slabs.
- To assemble to pudding, line the pudding basin with slices of panettone and brush with Vin Santo. Spoon in half the chocolate/ricotta mixture and press down firmly with the back of the spoon. Place one of the panettone discs over the top, pressing the edges to seal against the side of the pudding (you will probably need to trim down the disc slightly). Brush the top with some more wine. Spoon in half of the ricotta mixture, top with a second panettone disc and brush the top with wine. Repeat with remaining ingredients for the second pudding. Cover both with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight with something to weight down the top.
- To turn out the pudding, remove the weight and cling wrap from the top. Turn over onto plate, ease off the bowl and peel off the remaining cling wrap. Dust with cocoa powder and/or icing sugar to serve.
Nothing says Christmas more than the aroma of baking gingerbread. This recipe in particular, from Margaret Fulton’s 12 Days of Christmas, will fill the house with a spicy fragrance as you prepare the spiced sugar syrup. The gingerbread biscuits will keep for over a week in an airtight container, so it’s worth making a big batch. Perfect also for gifting and as a Christmas project for the kiddies.
Ingredients (~40 biscuits)
- 1/2 cup golden syrup
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 250g butter, chopped
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarb soda
- Place the golden syrup, sugar, spices and butter in a large mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar and butter have melted and the ingredients well combined, then take off the heat and leave to cool for 15mins.
- Mix the beaten eggs into the cooled syrup. Sift together the flour and bicarb in a separate bowl, then add to the syrup/egg mixture in two batches, mixing well in between additions. Knead the mixture until it comes together to form a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180degC (fan-forced) and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
- Roll out portions of the rested dough to a thickness of 5mm and cut into desired shapes. Bake the biscuits for ~10mins until brown. As the biscuits cook so quickly, I bake them in batches whilst rolling out the rest of the dough, switching out cooked biscuits onto a cooling rack to re-use the trays.
- Allow the biscuits to cool completely before decorating. For the Xmas trees, prepare a simple icing from icing sugar, a splash of vanilla extract and enough water to get it to a smooth consistency for piping (size 2 or 3 nozzle). Edible adhesive will be handy for adding button decorations to the gingerbread boys and girls.