Let's get Christmassy. It is 6 December and the tree is going up, cheap baubles and all. Let's embrace that warm fuzzy in our stomachs and hit the shops like we are Pretty Woman and Richard Gere just gave us his credit card. There are a few cookbooks on the cards this Christmas and plenty of baking plans. Just part of the fun and excitement.
White chocolate cherry Tiramasu is a great Christmas dinner party option. Easy to prepare in advance, the red and white colour contrast makes for a stunning visual. You can use jam jars to keep in style with your hipster glasses and brand new 'beat up' boots or tumblers to keep things simple. I used martini glasses for an extra 'ooh' and 'ah' factor, I never pass up an opportunity to pump up the glamour. If you feel you want to keep your martini glasses purely alcohol filled, I appreciate and respect that.
Adapted from Neven Maguire's Home Chef
For the custard (or buy good quality custard)
3 egg yolks
1/2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
For the cherries
150g fresh cherries pitted and halved
150ml red wine
35g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons amaretto or port
For the marscarpone cream
80g white chocolate
4 sponge fingers
1. Make the custard. Beat the egg yolks, caster sugar, cornflour and custard powder in a large bowl.
2. Heat the milk and cream until almost at a boil. Pour the hot milk and cream over the egg yolk mixture whisking constantly.
3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly over a medium heat until the mixture gets very thick. This could take 5-6 minutes. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the custard with a circle of greaseproof paper to avoid a skin forming.
4. Chop 40g of the white chocolate very finely. Heat 2 tablespoons of the cream in a small bowl in the microwave or a small saucepan until below boiling. Add the chocolate and stir until thoroughly melted. When cool add to the cooled custard.
5. For the cherries, put the red wine, caster sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise in a small pan and bring to the boil. Turn now and simmer with 5 minutes with the lid off until the mixture reduces.
6. Add in the cherries and cook for 5 minutes until slightly tender but holding their shape.
7. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
8. Put two tablespoons of cherries in the bottom of each glass. Break one of the sponge fingers for each glass and place over the cherries sugar side down. Spoon over the red wine mixture until all used up, discarding the cinnamon stick and star anise. Put in the fridge to cool.
9. Grate the white chocolate. Beat the rest of the cream in one bowl until thick. Beat the mascarpone until soft and then fold in the cream and white chocolate.
10. Spoon the mascarpone mixture over the cherry mixture. Top with a sprinkling of cocoa powder and fresh cherries.