Merry Christmas to mid-week snackers everywhere! Since you’ll probably be trapped under a snowdrift of gift bags and Christmas ribbon for the next few hours, this will be brief.
If you’re still in need of a deceptively overachieving dessert for family dinner tonight, try this festive twist on Eton mess. The very name of this traditional English pudding implies how easy it is to assemble: Just pile generous layers of molasses-spiked strawberry sauce, nutmeg-infused whipped cream and tree-shaped meringues in a trifle dish and call it a day. It’s definitely a mess worth making, just like the chaotic gift-opening crime scene that is your living room right now. Read on for the winter-spiced recipe or play around with your own flavor combos, using Cooking Channel’s meringue recipes below as a guide. Merry mess-making!
Sure, we all love cranberry sauce served alongside the turkey or ham on Christmas Day, but especially when slathered on the day-after sandwich. But I propose that there is another condiment that is equally (if not better) suited for festive seasonal fare: curried apple chutney. Made out of local apple varieties and warming, fragrant spices, it’s the perfect complement to your starring bird. Best of all, this is a recipe that not only can be made ahead, but actually improves with time. This recipe is safe for water-bath canning, so you can prepare the chutney quickly and easily, then store it on the shelf until you’re ready for the big day.
Curried Apple Chutney Recipe
Liqueurs, sweetened infusions, have long been used as digestifs: quick little shots to aid digestion after an especially hearty meal, like Christmas dinner. To make a homemade liqueur, you simply infuse ingredients into a base liquor, then sweeten the resulting liquid. Some liqueurs, like a ratafia of quince, can take months to make. But you can make a really delicious, intriguing tea liqueur in just a few hours.
Think of this recipe as more of an equation: Keep the proportions and change up the ingredients. For this version, I used a chai tea with a rooibos base. The blend of spices, once infused into vodka and sweetened, makes a natural complement to seasonal desserts like a nutmeg-spiked cake. But I’ve also made very good tea liqueurs with genmai cha, Earl Grey and, one of my favorites, jasmine green tea. Vodka is a good neutral base, but feel free to try other liquors. As for the sweetener, honey and sugar syrup work equally well – they just bring different flavors to the final result. (Sugar elevates the intrinsic flavors of the tea, whereas honey brings its own character.) If you want to dabble before committing to the volume of this recipe, just scale it down accordingly. It’s perfect for bottling up and gifting to loved ones — whether they share it with guests or sneak swigs while cleaning up in the kitchen is up to them.
Homemade Tea Liqueur Recipe