By Ethan Haque
The festive month of December is a time of year where the taste of the season is implemented into the food giving it a warm and familiar flavor that is reminiscent of the holidays.
The holiday season is considered to be one of the happiest times of the year. The food that we make is no exception to this rule with strong and developed flavors that will rock your taste buds.
Some of the most seasonal ingredients include but are not limited to peppermint, cinnamon, cranberries, pumpkin, and nutmeg.
The fall and winter season are able to use these flavors in some traditional dishes such as pumpkin pie, eggnog, and beef wellington made from scratch. There is fun in cooking your own delicious morsels. They are able to bring a smile to anyone who has the delight of consuming one as long as you do not stray too far from the recipes provided. They should turn decent upon your first time baking theme.
The first recipe is going to be pumpkin pie. The ingredients that will be needed to produce this delight are as follows one (15oz) can of pumpkin, one(14oz) can of Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed milk, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon,1⁄2 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1⁄2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt, and 1(9in) unbaked pie crust.
Take all the ingredients and whisk them together all at once and then whisk until stiff peaks form or a fluffy consistency is achieved. Pour the batter into the pie crust and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Then reduce to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to cook for about 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with any toppings that you find to be of interest. you’ve made a delicious pumpkin pie that was not to difficult to put together.
Now to wash down that delish pie, some festive eggnog. Eggnog does contain raw eggs but is slightly heated to kill off any salmonella within the drink. This recipe will make about eight to ten glasses of eggnog. You will need 6 large eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1⁄2 cup of sugar (add more if wanted), 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt, 4 cups of whole milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1⁄2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg, and 1⁄4 cup of heavy cream. Finally, garnish with a little extra nutmeg to enhance the overall flavor.
Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-or 4-quart pan, whisking until well-combined. Continuously add in the milk while stirring. Continue to whisk until the milk is fully incorporated. Turn on the stove to the lowest possible setting. Place the pan with the mixture onto the burner and continuously whisk the mixture. It should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon over 45 to 60 minutes for this to occur.
Strain the mixture to remove any unwanted impurities. Add the vanilla extract and the nutmeg into the mixture and stir in thoroughly. Place in a glass pitcher or decanter to chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
When ready to serve the drink pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and whisk vigorously until achieving soft peaks. Then fold the custard mixture with the whipped cream.
Now, you’re ready to serve in a chilled glass that is garnished with extra nutmeg after pouring the drink into the cold glass.
If you don’t like sweets so much and are craving a delicious feast then beef wellington will be the perfect dish to cook. Its essential a piece of meat that is wrapped in multiple layers ending with puff pastry to top it off.
This recipe will feed about four people and is extremely decadent. You will need an 800g piece of beef filet of even thickness(from the center cut; think the shape of a log), 2tbsp of olive oil, English mustard, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 700g of chestnut mushrooms, a handful of cooked chestnuts( about 10 to 12), 1 garlic clove peeled and chopped, 2 thyme sprigs(leaves only), 8 slices of Parma ham, 500g of ready-made puff pastry, and 2 egg yolks lightly beaten with 1 tbsp of water.
To start season your meat thoroughly with salt and pepper to your liking. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the fillet and quickly sear the outside all over for about 5 minutes until evenly browned, turning as necessary. Transfer to a plate and while still hot, brush all over with mustard. Set aside to rest.
Now we move onto making our duxelles, put the mushrooms, chestnuts, and garlic in a food processor with a little salt and pepper and blend to a fine paste, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Heat a dry large frying pan. Scrape the mushroom paste into the pan and add the thyme leaves. Cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally, to drive off the moisture and intensify the flavor. The duxelles must be sufficiently dry otherwise it will make the pastry soggy; the mixture should adhere easily. Spread out on a tray to cool for a few minutes.
Place a large piece of cling film on a clean surface. Lay the Parma ham slices on top, overlapping them slightly, to form a rough rectangle large enough to envelop the beef fillet, making sure there are no gaps. Season the ham with a few twists of pepper but no salt because it has naturally high salt content, with a palette knife, spread the duxelles on top, leaving a 2.5cm margin along the edges. Lay the beef fillet along the middle of the mushroom duxelle. Keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the outside edges, neatly roll the Parma ham and duxelles over the beef into a tight barrel shape. Twist the ends of the cling film to secure. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle, brush with some of the egg wash. Unwrap the beef from the cling film and place it in the middle. Leaving a large enough rectangle to wrap around the beef, trim off the excess pastry. Roll the pastry around the beef to envelop it and then press the edges to seal. Pinch the pastry at the ends to seal and trim off the excess. Wrap the log tightly in cling film and chill for 10 minutes, or overnight if you are preparing ahead preferably.
Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the cling film and brush the large parcel all over with egg wash. Lightly score the pastry in a decorative pattern so when it cooks you get a cool effect to happen if you wish. Place on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt and bake for about 35 minutes; if the pastry appears to be browning too quickly, lower the setting slightly. Leave to rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes before cutting into thick slices to serve, with the friends and family.
Now you are ready to serve a meal to whomever you wish. You have a desert, holiday-themed drink, and a delicious entree that can be served with an array of sides to your heart’s content. Enjoy this themed course and happy holidays.