On a cold, cold Christmas Day, it’s the traditional lunch that makes for some relief. So the wines, the spices, the dry fruit-laden puddings, everything to warm the cockles of the heart and envelope you in festive comfort. Of course, here in Bangalore with its pleasant winters where a cardigan or shawl will do, city chefs have upped the ante and conjured creative renditions of traditional Christmas recipes suited to the local weather and tastes.
Like Chef Tanmoy Savardekar’s take on the traditional festive warm drink of mulled wine. His The Winking Macaron is offering mulled wine and pear muffins this season. “Christmas traditions in India are unique to each family and also takes on traditions of the community the family belongs to. So a Keralite Christian versus one from another region will prepare different kind of food to celebrate the festival. But the wine is constant everywhere and that is why I chose to work with it in my recipe. It ties together most celebrations,” he says.
For Foodhall’s Chef Swasti Aggarwal creating an Eggnog cupcake is about introducing the drink often associated with the season to those who may never have had a sip of the frothy milk-based concoction. “What I have done is used the flavour profile of an eggnog. A vanilla cupcake has been perked up with nutmeg. The icing also has a hint of nutmeg. Also, having an eggnog this way makes it a lot more suitable for the light winters we have, unlike the harsh winters it is meant for,” she says.
Dry fruits are the standout ingredient of most Christmas recipes - be it in puddings, turkey stuffing or used to warm up drinks. Manish Gaur at Institute of Baking and Cake Arts has come up with a Christmas Raisin Muffin. He says, “To make these care has to be taken to sieve the dry ingredients together twice before use. Whipping the eggs helps in better air incorporation in the batter and will give a rise to the finished product along with softness.”
In half hour you should have 25 medium sized cupcakes
What you need:
FOR THE SPONGE
Unsalted butter 80 gms
Breakfast sugar 280 gms
Refined flour 240 gms
Baking powder 10 gms
Milk 240 ml
Rum 2 teaspoon
Pinch of salt
FOR THE ICING
Icing Sugar 190 gms
Nutmeg powder ¼ teaspoon
Unsalted butter 60 gms
Milk 20 ml
How to make it
Rub together butter (at room temperature), sugar, flour, baking powder and nutmeg powder.
Mix egg, milk and rum together and pour into the above mixture.
Mix well, and pour this batter into small cupcake cups in moulds. Batter should fill only half the mould.
Bake at 170 C for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Take out of the oven and allow it to rest.
Cream icing sugar, milk and butter to make butter cream icing and pipe on top of the cupcake.
Mulled wine and pear muffins
“This is a traditional recipe from the land of the Alps - Switzerland,” says Savardekar, adding, “It imbibes the warmth of the mulled wine and the pear which bring out the festive mood during Christmas and New Year.” Typically made with spelt flour, cornflour and ‘Vin Cuit’, The Winking Macaron has tweaked it with using flour and wine infused with star anise, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel , some cardamom and pear chunks, making the muffin taste wholesome and divine.
What you need
Unsalted butter 100 gms
Caster sugar 100 gms
Flour 120 gms
Pinch of baking powder
Pear (pared and cut into medium sized chunks) 1
Chopped prunes 20 gms
FOR THE MULLED WINE
Port wine 150 ml
Table wine (red) 150 ml
Stick of cinnamon 1
Star anise 1
Orange rind (pith removed) 3-4
How to make it
Reduce the port wine and the table wine with the spices and orange rind to 1/3 volume on a low heat. Skim the surface frequently during heating.
Take it off the heat, seal it with a silver foil and let it cool down.
Strain this through a tea strainer. Add some of the pear chunks to soak in the aromatic wine.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Mix thoroughly the flour, the baking powder and the prune bits. Combine the butter, sugar in a bowl and with a hand held blender, whisk it till its pale golden and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and scrape the sides of the bowl.
Fold in the flour mixture and then the mulled wine with the pear chunks as desired to a consistency of a cake batter. Fold in some of the pear chunks and spoon them into muffin moulds.
Sprinkle some pear chunks and prunes on top and bake them till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out dry.