The desserts for Christmas lunch were a bit of a mixed bag! The Mocha Torte was a great success - due in part to a topping of popping candy, which provided much merriment. My mincepies were fine, although one or two were a bit heavy on pastry, due to my inability to roll pastry evenly. The disaster was the the Clementine and Saffron Cake - nothing wrong with the flavour but the texture was dense and heavy. I've no idea what went wrong, as I've made this sort of cake - with whole boiled fruit - very successfully in the past!
I've no idea where the recipe for the Mocha Torte came from - it was passed to me by a friend, and I changed it slightly, so I think it's OK to pass it on unattributed. It consists of a light gelatine based mousse (no cream) on a biscuit base, with a topping of shards of chocolate covered popping candy. Sorry about the rough photo - I forgot to take one until it had been served!
6 sheets of leaf gelatine, soaked in cold water to soften
4 fl oz (just over 100mls)just boiled water to dissolve gelatine after soaking
Chocolate Covered Popping Candy
100g plain chocolate - see link
25ml flavourless oil
50g popping candy
Whisk egg whites until quite stiff then fold into the chocolate mixture.
Pour on top of biscuit base and leave to cool and set.
Decorate with chocolate covered popping candy made following this method from Heston Blumenthal. I made it without the spices, which I didn't think would compliment the coffee flavour.
this recipe from Waitrose. I think my mistake was to try to make it nut free. I used SR flour instead of ground almonds. I did look at various recipes online, and found several of this sort which used flour, so I didn't expect it to turn out so badly. It was just about edible - most people tried a sliver out of politeness and my mother took home half of what was leftover to eat warm with custard!
The mincepies were made with my standard sweet shortcrust pastry recipe, with the addition of the finely grated zest of an orange. Here's the pastry recipe, but I don't think there's any need to tell you how to make mincepies. This amount of pastry, plus one standard jar of mincemeat makes 24 mincepies, for me, but obviously the size of your mincepie moulds and how thinly you roll the pastry will make a difference.