Festive dessert board
Mix up your festive dessert course with an all-in-one sweet feast to share, with peppermint tiffin, gingerbread-spice doughnuts, mini meringues and more
- Serves: 12 persons
- 100g salted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for the tin
- 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 250g milk chocolate roughly chopped, plus extra melted, to serve
- 50g golden syrup
- 250g shortbread, broken up into rough chunks
- 100g dried cranberries
- 1tsp peppermint extract
- 100g glacé cherries, halved
- 100g white chocolate
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1tbsp ground ginger
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 2litres vegetable oil, for deep-frying, plus extra for proving
- 250g shop-bought toffee sauce
- redcurrants, grapes, clementines, physalis, halved pears, halved or quartered plums, dates, mini meringues, peppermint candy canes and palmier biscuits
Step 1For the tiffin, butter a 20cm square tin and line with baking parchment. Melt 150g each of the dark and milk chocolates with the butter and syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Remove from the heat and stir in the shortbread chunks, cranberries, peppermint extract and cherries. Press the mixture into the prepared tin using a spatula and level the surface. Set aside.
Step 2Tip the rest of the dark and milk chocolates and the white chocolate into three separate heatproof bowls and microwave in short bursts until melted and smooth. Dot each batch of melted chocolate over the tiffin and gently swirl together using a skewer to create a marbled effect. Chill in the fridge for 5 hrs to set. Remove 30 mins before serving, then cut into 16 or 32 squares.
Step 3For the doughnuts, tip the yeast and 150ml warm water into a large bowl. Set aside for 10 mins until bubbly and frothy. Add 50g of the sugar, 1 tsp salt, the eggs, flour, ginger and 1 tsp of the cinnamon. Mix to combine into a dough, then knead by hand on a lightly floured work surface or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook for 5-10 mins until smooth and elastic.
Step 4Add the butter, a little at a time, kneading between each addition, until all of it has been incorporated. Knead for 5 mins until elastic and smooth again, then form into a ball and put in a clean bowl. Cover and leave to prove in a warm spot for 1 hr until doubled in size.
Step 5Knock the dough back on a clean surface for 1 min. Divide into 20-24 pieces and roll into tight balls against the work surface using the palm of your hand. Arrange on a large, lightly oiled baking tray, spaced well apart. Cover and leave to prove again for 1-2 hrs, or until doubled in size.
Step 6Mix the remaining 50g sugar with the remaining 1 tsp cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Fill a piping bag with the toffee sauce and put in the fridge to chill. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan to 180C, or until a cube of bread browns within 30 seconds. Fry the doughnuts in batches of three or four for 1-2 mins on each side until golden. Cool slightly before tossing in the spiced sugar. When all the doughnuts are fried, gently poke a hole halfway through one side of each using a skewer, then snip the end off the piping bag and carefully fill the doughnuts with toffee sauce.
Step 7To assemble the board, arrange the doughnuts and tiffin squares on a serving tray alongside the fruits, mini meringues, candy canes and palmier biscuits. Serve with a bowl of melted chocolate for dipping.