For some, Christmas pud is just a gastronomic step too far. For comfort, there are those who prefer to end the traditional Christmas dinner or lunch on an altogether lighter note, with a fruit finale.
Here are three refreshing recipes, greatly varied, to round off roast turkey or goose, or whatever your choice has been for the main course. And of course, these recipes are good on any of the other 364 days of the year too.
All that remains is for me to wish each of you a very Happy Christmas, peaceful and neventful may it be.
Pineapple, ginger and mango fruit salad with caramelised lime rind and lime syrup
This makes such a fresh and delicious finale to a lunch or dinner. Don’t think that you can use the syrup used for candying the lime rinds for the final syrup – it becomes too thick.
4 pieces of stem ginger drained of its preserving syrup
For the lime rinds and syrup:
pared rinds of 3 limes, sliced into fine matchsticks simmered in water for 20 minutes then drained in a sieve
¾ pint/425ml water
6oz/170g granulated sugar
½ pint/285ml water
4oz/110g granulated sugar
juice of 3 limes
Start by candying the lime rinds – measure the water and sugar into a small saucepan over moderate heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Boil for 2-3 minutes before adding the drained, softened shreds of lime rind. Simmer gently in the sugar syrup for 25-30 minutes. Then lift out the rinds onto a sheet of baking parchment, and leave until cold. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until required.
Meanwhile, make the lime syrup – measure the water and granulated sugar into a saucepan and, over gentle heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved completely, and only then bring the liquid to boiling, and boil fast for 3-4 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the juice of the 3 limes. Cool.
With a sharp serrated knife slice the skin from the pineapple, and cut off either end. Slice the pineapple into 4 quarters lengthways, and slice away the tough core from each quarter. Slice each quarter in half lengthways and then across, putting the neat chunks into a glass bowl.
Slice the skin from each mango and cut the flesh into similar size chunks as the pineapple – though cutting around the mango stones is not easy. Put the chunks of mango into the glass bowl with the pineapple.
Slice each piece of ginger into slices across, then across the other way, and finally slicing down, to give neat dice. Add these to the pineapple and mango in the bowl.
Finally, add the candied shreds of lime rind and the lime syrup, and mix all thoroughly.
This can all be made 24 hours in advance, providing the bowl is covered and stored in a cool place, ideally a larder.
Orange, grape and ginger compote
8oz/225g black seedless grapes, each cut in half – if you cannot find black seedless grapes, get red ones instead
6 pieces of preserved ginger, drained of its syrup
2 tablespoons of the ginger syrup from the jar
With a sharp serrated knife slice the skin and white pith from the oranges, then, slicing in towards the centre, cut between the pith of each segment, over a serving bowl to catch the orange juices.
Add the halved seedless grapes to the sliced oranges in the bowl.
Slice each chunk of ginger in thin slices across, then across the other way, to give fine slivers of ginger. Spoon in the 2 tablespoons of ginger syrup and carefully mix all together.
Sauvignon blanc jelly with passion fruit syllabub
Port wine jelly is a very Edwardian dish, but I think that jelly made from a good white wine is much more delicious. These jellies can be made 36 hours in advance of eating. I spoon the passion fruit syllabub on top of each glassful of jelly – the flavours are so complementary, the passion fruit with the sauvignon blanc. Try using a Villa Maria sauvignon, my favourite.
¼ pint/140ml cold water
1oz/28g granulated sugar
¾ pint/450ml sauvignon blanc
4 leaves of gelatine soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
For the syllabub:
½ pint/285ml double cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 level tablespoon caster sugar
2 passion fruits
Heat the water with the granulated sugar until the sugar has dissolved completely. Boil for 1 minute, then take the pan off the heat, lift the soaked gelatine, dripping off excess water, and drop the gelatine into the hot syrup. Swirl the pan and the gelatine should dissolve almost instantly. Cool, then stir into the sauvignon blanc, mixing well. Divide in even amounts between 6 small glasses. Leave for several hours to set.
For the syllabub, whip the double cream until thick, but not stiff. Fold in the caster sugar and lemon juice. Cut each passionfruit in half and scoop the contents of each half into the cream. Mix thoroughly, then divide the syllabub evenly between each glass of set jelly. No garnish is needed.