Christmas is a time for decisions, but also decadence. This takes both matters under its wing. You want fruit? Cookies? Muffins? Cheesecake? PIE? yep, all smooched together in this ultimate showstopper.
Christmas Pudding is overrated anyway…
185g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
1 Egg + 1 Yolk, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Almond Extract
280g Plain Flour
2 tsp Cornflour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
½ tsp Salt
170g Dark/ Milk Chocolate, chopped into pieces
Small Batch Muffins:
150g Plain Flour
30g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Salt
60g Whole Milk
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Caster Sugar
60g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
100g Chocolate, Chopped into Chips
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
Small Pinch Salt
Mulled Poached Pears:
1 Bottle Red Wine
225g Caster Sugar
6 Pears, peeled but left whole
1 Vanilla Pod, slit and beans scraped
1 Orange, sliced
2 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick
1. Start the day before with the poached pears. Add all ingredients, aside from the pears to a large saucepan. Heat over a low heat to dissolve the sugar then add the pears. Cover with a cartouche of baking paper and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until just tender to a knife.
2. Remove the pears and allow to cool. Take 2 ladles of the cooking liquid and reduce to a syrup in a large pan. Pop in the fridge to cool.
3. The next day you can continue with this epic creation.
4. Begin with the Muffin batter as this needs to rest. Sif the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.
5. Add the butter and sugar to the base of a stand mixer and beat for 3-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
6. Add the egg and beat well. Mix the vanilla into the milk.
7. Add half the milk, followed by half the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining mixtures, do not overmix, a few lumps are fine. Fold through the chopped chocolate and pop in the fridge, covered, to rest for 1 hour.
8. Meanwhile preheat oven 175C. For the cookie base, grease a 9” tart tin or ring with non-stick spray and set on a baking sheet.
9. Add the butter and brown sugar to the base of a stand mixer and beat 5-7 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Add the egg plus the yolk and beat 1 minute more.
10. In a bowl, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and cornflour until homogenous.
11. Add the almond and vanilla to your butter mixture and beat 10 seconds, add the flour mixture, and mix to form a dough. Mix in your chopped chocolate.
12. Pack the dough into your prepared tin, bringing it up the sides. Don’t worry too much at this stage as it will all melt during baking, this is fine.
13. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and immediately use a glass or cup to press the centre down and the sides up, creating a tart shell.
14. Leave to cool completely then remove from the tin.
15. Increase the oven to 200C. Line 4 muffin moulds with paper liners and divide the rested batter between them. Bake 22-24 minutes or until risen and springy. Allow to cool.
16. Once everything is cold. Mix the mascarpone with the maple syrup and salt and crumble through 1 of the muffins. Spoon into your cookie shell and smooth over.
17. Push the pears into the mascarpone so they sit upright and crumble another muffin around (yes you get two more muffins to yourself…perks.)
18. Finally drizzle over your mulled wine syrup and serve with a huge, big, satisfied grin on your face.