DIY: airy Christmas pudding with pear and fennel

Dessert with a herbaceous viewing window

Flowers on the table, in the tree, on your dress or pocket handkerchief: you’re ready for Christmas dinner. But wait a minute… what does the dessert look like?

DIY: airy Christmas pudding with pear and fennel - Thejoyofplants.co.uk

This  year you can round of Christmas dinner with cries of admiration. Both for you, and for the airiest dessert you’ve ever made. A dessert with two layers, and a viewing window through which your guests can see greenery. You can make this green Christmas pudding with almond snap biscuits in just 10 steps.

You will need:

  • Pudding mould (we used a 1.2 litre one)

  • Saucepan with a thick base

  • A couple of wooden skewers 

  • (Stick) blender

  • Oven

  • Baking parchment

  • 4 fennel teabags 

  • 4 star anise

  • 2 tsp aniseed seeds

  • A lemon or 2 limes

  • A couple of tbsp of honey 

  • Fennel tops, one of which is about as high as the mould

  • A couple of sprigs of tarragon

  • 14 sheets of gelatine

  • 2 large firm pears

  • 1 vanilla pod

  • Vanilla sugar

  • Honey

  • Blueberries

  • 250 ml whipping cream 

  • 75 g chopped or flaked blanched almonds

  • 65 g melted butter

  • 120 g caster sugar

  • 50 ml pear juice

  • 50 g flour

  • Salt

How to make the pudding

Step 1 - Place the pudding mould in the fridge. Put 0.8 l of hot water in the pan with the teabags and the star anise and leave to infuse well. Scrub the lemon or the limes, rasp the zest and squeeze the fruit. Add the juice to the tea and stir through some spoonfuls of honey to taste. Bring to the boil, reduce to 0.8 l and remove from the heat.

Step 2 - Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water, squeeze them out and dissolve them in the still-warm honey and fennel mixture. Add a tsp of citrus zest and stir thoroughly.

Step 3 - Now get the pudding mould and pour a thin layer a few millimetres thick into the mould, return to the fridge to firm up a bit for at least 10 minutes. Prepare the skewers, the fennel top and a couple of nice sprigs of tarragon. Insert a skewer through the firm white underside of a large fennel top, ensure that you place the skewer on the edges of the mould so that the fennel top is hanging in the middle of the mould but does not touch the bottom of the mould. Place additional skewers on the edges of the mould on either side of the fennel skewer and drape a tarragon spring over each of these so that they also hang down into the mould. Then pour all the pudding mix into the mould so that the sprigs hang into it. Place this in the fridge to firm up. Clean the pan. Carefully check with your finger whether the jelly is firm enough to support a second layer.

Step 4 - Peel the pears and cut them into pieces of varying sizes (1 cm³-3 cm³). Take the pan and heat 3 tbsp of honey on a low heat.  Add the pieces of pear. Heat the mixture well so that the pieces of pear are cooked through and allow the moisture to evaporate until there's a shiny layer of honey around the pieces of pear.

Step 5 - Take half the pieces of pear and stir through a sizeable amount of freshly ground sea salt and the seeds from a vanilla pod. Take the remaining pieces of pear and add a splash of whipping cream and use the (stick) blender to turn this into a fine puree/mousse. Soak 4 gelatine sheets in cold water, squeeze out some of the moisture and dissolve them whilst stirring in the still-warm mousse.

Step 6 - Meanwhile loosely whip 100 ml of whipping cream. Carefully mix the pieces of pear, the mousse and the whipped cream. Get the mould from the fridge and cut the fennel and tarragon off just above the transparent pudding. Fill the mould with the pear pudding and leave to firm.

Step 7 - Now we’re going to make the snap biscuits.
Mix the caster sugar into the molten butter, add pear juice and then stir flour into the mixture. Finally add the citrus zest, the aniseed seeds and a pinch of salt and stir. Then leave in the fridge to rest and firm up for half an hour.

Step 8 - Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Scoop piles of mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Give them enough space, and place foil over the top. Flatten the mixture firmly with a saucer or something similar, remove the foil and bake the biscuits for approximately 12 minutes.

Step 9 - Whip the rest of the whipping cream with a bag of vanilla sugar until stiff to serve with the dessert. To make it a nice green Christmas pudding, you could carefully scatter a bit of green tea powder (matcha) on the plate.

Step 10 - Remove the pudding from the mould and garnish it with some fresh sprigs of tarragon and fennel, the snap biscuits, fresh almonds, star anise and maybe an extra piece of pear, lemon/lime or some festive fruit like blueberries. Put on your finest smile, and place the pudding on the table.

Credits:

The glass plates are from van Dille en Kamille, the large dinner plates are the Neue plate large from Ferm Living. The top small plates are from Yong Monte. The table runners are the Lagoa Azul from Barbara Osorio.