A Treat: Christmas Cornucopias
Who isn’t busy at this time of year? I wanted to create an easy, original dessert for Christmas this year that could:
- be made in advance (with just a little bit of assembly on the day)
- embrace seasonal Tasmanian specialties like berries and our fantastic dairy products
- a recipe that could hark back to our European Christmas traditions
- is great for summer eating
- be portable if necessary
- allergy friendly or Vegan (you can make this dairy free, egg free, and nut free with just a little adjusting)**
- and tweakable to suit those varying tastes that inevitably come with a big gathering at Christmas
- AND yummy of course!
To make Christmas Cornucopias you will need cream horn moulds. These can be bought at kitchenware shops such as Your Habitat or Medhurst Equipment. They cost around $4 to $6 for a pack of 6. If you can’t get your hands on a pack of these, just use a muffin tin to make baskets instead, following the recipe in the same way.
A Week Before Christmas
- Ensure you have organised where you are getting your 500grams of berries and 200ml cream from for Christmas Day
- Buy horn moulds, white chocolate, brandy (1-2 tablespoons)
- Make the horns
- Make the decorations
Make the Horns (serves 10-12)
- 120 grams butter (or margarine such as Nuttelex for a dairy free, nut free version)
- 1 1/3 cups golden syrup
- 480 grams plain flour
- 40 grams Cocoa -Dutch process if possible
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Optional: add 1-2 teaspoon of ginger for extra spice!
- 2 tablespoons of milk or soy milk if needed
- Turn on oven to 180 degrees
- Lightly butter or margarine horn moulds
- Melt butter or margarine in microwave with the golden syrup
- Leave to cool slightly for about 15 minutes
- In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and spices
- Pour golden syrup and butter (or margarine) onto flour mix and knead lightly
- Wrap in cling film and pop in fridge for 1 hour (or up to 3 days)
- Pop a sheet of baking paper onto your work surface or lightly flour (I use baking paper instead of flour as it allows the dough to be re-rolled numerous times)
- Knead dough, adding extra flour if still sticky or a little milk or soy milk if a little too dry
- Roll out dough to 5mm thick
- Using a side plate, cut a circle out of the dough.
- Using your mould as a guide, cut a wedge out of the circle that is about 1/6 of the circle
- Cover the mould with the dough, rolling it on the table to smooth out any lumps and making sure the join has disappeared and that an excess of dough has not gathered at the pointy end
- Place lying down on a baking tray and repeat this with the other moulds
- Bake for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes on tray, then using tongs, carefully slide the mould out of cone ready to use for the remaining cones.
- Store in an airtight container until Christmas Day once cool.
Make the Decorations
Equipment and Ingredients:
- A piping bag (this can be made from a sandwich bag with the corner cut off or by making a cone shape with a piece of grease-proof paper).
- 100 grams white chocolate*
- A sheet of baking paper
- Silver Cachous if desired
*If cooking for Vegans or allergy sufferers, make sure you use a chocolate such as Kinnerton’s dairy free, egg free and nut free.
- Break or grate the white chocolate into a microwave proof bowl
- On a LOW setting, warm the chocolate stirring often until melted
- Spoon into a piping bag
- Place a sheet of baking paper onto the work surface and pipe free form shapes such as stars or Christmas trees (if you find this difficult, try drawing designs in pencil on the underside of the paper)
- Add cachous if desired, then place in fridge to set
- Place on sheet in air tight container until ready to use
The Day Before Christmas
Make the Vanilla, Brandy & White Chocolate Cream*
- 200ml pure cream
- 100 grams white chocolate (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons good quality brandy
- ½ vanilla pod
- Icing sugar, for sweetening if not using the white chocolate, and dusting
- On a very low heat, melt the white chocolate in a microwave, stirring often
- Lightly whip the cream until just beginning to form soft peaks
- Scrape the seeds from half a vanilla pod and add to cream
- Stir the melted chocolate into the cream
- Do not add the brandy until you are ready to assemble
*For the Allergy friendly and Vegan version, omit this step and instead melt 150 grams dark chocolate such as Kinnertons dairy, egg and nut free with 2 teaspoons
Assembling your Christmas Cornucopias
- Strawberries should be hulled, washed and halved strawberries
- Stone cherries using a stoner or by cutting cherries in half
- Berries such as currants or gooseberries should be topped and tailed
Assemble the Christmas Cornucopias:
- Spoon berries into cone until 1/3 full
- Add a layer of white chocolate and brandy cream and then finish with berries at top
- Using a dot of melted chocolate, attach decoration to front
- Repeat to make remaining Christmas Cornucopias
- Dust with a icing- sugar
- Serve with a dollop of cream on the plate and a few berries scattered along side
Assemble the vegan or allergy free version:
- Melt the 150 grams allergy free chocolate (such as Kinnerton) on low in the microwave with 2 tsp vegetable oil or margarine (such as Nuttelex) stirring often
- Place alternating layers of berries and melted chocolate in the cone
- Add decoration and a couple of berries dipped in chocolate on the side
- Dust with icing sugar and add a scoop of chocolate soy based ice-cream such as “So Good Bliss” (found in supermarkets). Remember to check it is appropriate for your allergy sufferer too.
**If you are making Christmas Cornucopias for an allergy sufferer, remember to check all products you are using for “traces of” in the ingredients. Check with the person concerned for advice on the products they usually use.