Celebrate Christmas Maggie Beer style
Maggie Beer AM DUniv
Australian celebrity cook, food author, TV host, restaurateur, food manufacturer
Christmas is a special time of year for millions of people around the world – each celebrating in their own unique and different way. For many, Christmas is the time of year dedicated to sharing delicious festive treats with loved ones. It’s the occasion to feast on the never-ending leg of ham, when a bowl of chocolates is a permanent fixture on the dining table, when South Australian cherries are in abundance and when the adored pavlova is a nostalgic treat (and an acceptable meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
As many families will know, to enable all of this magic to happen planning and preparation are key. Thankfully, Maggie Beer has taken the time to share two of her favourite festive recipes with UniSA’s alumni, and explains what Christmas means to her.
“When it comes to Christmas, I must admit a streak of extravagance - if I am tempted by something special, I’ll justify it by saying, ‘but it’s Christmas…’ The house will be overflowing with flowers, the cellar will be raided for special wines and if there’s enough water in our dam for Colin to catch some yabbies, they’ll definitely be on the list. Then we always have baked ham at the centre of the table with lovely salads and vegetables, and finish with Christmas pudding. Although I have to admit, our family never manages to eat the Christmas pudding on Christmas Day. What tends to happen is that it’s covered well and put back into the fridge. In the evenings that follow, it is taken out, a slice at a time, and warmed a little, to enjoy with a cup of tea after dinner,” says Maggie Beer.
Baked Ham with Quince Glaze
- 5kg traditionally smoked leg of ham
- 200ml Maggie Beer Quince Glaze
- ½ cup water
- Remove ham from the fridge half an hour prior to preparation.
- Preheat the oven to 250⁰C.
- To remove the rind, make a cut 10cm from the hock, then using your fingers, gently pull the skin away from the ham. Remove the rind completely and discard.
- Using a small sharp knife, score the fat in a crisscross pattern to form diamonds. Ensure to maintain an even depth all over and avoid cutting the flesh. Place it onto an oiled wire rack that rests in baking dish.
- Pour water into base of baking dish.
- Using a basting brush, brush the fat of the ham with half of the Quince Glaze. Place uncovered ham into oven to bake until it begins to caramelise - this should take approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven quickly and brush over the remaining amount of Quince Glaze. Return ham to the oven, ensuring to place the tray back in the opposite way around, and bake until the ham is beautifully caramelised all over – this should take approximately 10-15 minutes. Ensure to keep a close eye on the ham so you don’t take it too far, but you’re looking to achieve a nice burnish all over.
- Remove from the oven, carve and serve.
Salted Brandy Caramel Pavlova with Caramelised Bananas
Serves 8 to 10
- 4 free range egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 220g caster sugar
- 1 tbspn cornflour
- 1 tbspn Maggie Beer Verjuice
- 375ml thickened cream
- 375ml crème fraiche
- 1 jar Maggie Beer Salted Brandy Caramel
- 4 lady finger bananas, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 160°C.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with a pinch salt and whisk until peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, a third at a time, whisking well until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Check the sugar is dissolved by rubbing between your fingers.
- Add the cornflour and Verjuice and do a final whisk to combine. You’ll know when the meringue is stiff and glossy because the mixture will have tripled in volume and stands up when the beaters are lifted.
- Spoon half of the mixture onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and shape into a rough rectangle (approximately 22cm x 8cm). Repeat this same process with the second half of the mixture.
- Place the meringue slabs into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140°C. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven with the door ajar.
- To prepare the filling, place the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip to soft peaks. Add the crème fraiche and whip for another 30 seconds. Gently fold through the Salted Brandy Caramel, ensuring not to combine, but just swirl through.
- Coat each side of the banana slices lightly with brown sugar.
- Place a large non-stick frypan over a medium heat and once hot, place in the bananas. Fry each side for 3 - 4 minutes or until caramelised. Remove and set aside.
- To assemble, place one meringue onto a serving platter. Spread over half of the cream mixture, then place the second meringue on top. Spread the remaining cream on top, and decorate with the sliced caramelised bananas. Serve.
To find more of Maggie’s Christmas recipes please visit her website: https://www.maggiebeer.com.au/recipes/theme+christmas