Step up your party game and impress your friends and family at your holiday gathering this season with the help of renowned Michelin-starred British chef and TV star Gordon Ramsay. With these simple yet delectable recipes for Christmas canapés, cocktails, and desserts, they’ll wonder if he’s not hiding in your kitchen while you flaunt those appetizer platters!
Smoked Salmon Blini with Beetroot Mayonnaise
Serves 20 people
For the blini:
- 15 g fast-acting dry yeast
- 60 ml warm water
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 50 g buckwheat flour
- 50 g plain flour
- 2 eggs, separated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 175 g butter, melted
For the beet mayonnaise:
- 100 ml mayonnaise
- 1 cooked beet, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- 200 g smoked salmon cut or torn into strips
- 1 lime, grated
- To make the blini, mix the yeast with warm water until completely dissolved.
- Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave so that it is warm to the touch.
- Next, mix both types of flour in a large bowl and add the warm milk, yeast mixture, egg yolks, salt, sugar, sour cream and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk until it comes together in a smooth, shiny batter.
- Cover the bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and almost doubled in volume.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Stir the frothy batter once to remove air and then gently fold in the beaten egg whites until smooth.
- To cook, brush the base of a nonstick skillet with the remaining melted butter and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of the batter for each blini (you should be able to cook 3-4 blini at a time in a large skillet). Cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear on the top surface and the bottom is lightly browned.
- Brush the top with a little more melted butter. Then flip each blini and cook for the final 1-2 minutes until lightly browned on both sides.
- Set aside on a warm plate while you finish cooking the rest of the blini in batches. The blini can be covered and served warm or cold. If making the blini in advance, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To assemble the blini, add the mayonnaise, chopped beets and parsley to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Place a small spoonful in the center of each blini and top with the smoked salmon strips and freshly grated lime zest for garnish.
Chef’s tip: If you don’t have time to make your own blini, use a package of pre-made blini instead.
Serves 4-6 people
- 750 ml (one bottle) good quality red wine
- 150 ml of ruby port
- 125 g soft brown sugar
- 2-3 pieces of star anise
- ½ teaspoon clove
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, halved if they are large
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1 orange, cut into segments
- Pour the wine and port into a large saucepan and gently heat.
- Add the sugar and allow to completely dissolve before adding the spices.
- Heat for 5 minutes being careful not to let the wine boil.
- Serve hot, optimal temperature is 55°C/130°F (use a cooking thermometer) in heat-resistant glasses.
- Alternatively, if you have time or want to get a head start, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for up to 2 hours to deepen the flavors. Strain the wine into a clean saucepan and discard the spices. Reheat gently when it’s time to serve.
Chef’s tip: You can vary the spices according to taste. Try adding lemongrass, cardamom, or even licorice root depending on what’s available to you.
Mince mini-pies with brandy cream
Serves 36 people
For the dough:
- 250 g plain flour and extra flour for sprinkling
- 25 g powdered sugar
- 125 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 orange, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
For the mince:
- 450 g tart apples (like Pink Lady)
- 225 g suet
- 475 g raisins
- 225 g dried apricots, chopped
- 350 g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 oranges, grated and juiced
- 2 lemons, grated and juiced
- 50 g almonds, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground hibiscus
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 100 ml brandy
- 60 ml dark rum
For the brandy cream:
- 150 ml heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- 150 g mascarpone
- Freshly grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- To make the dough, add the flour, sugar, butter and zest to a food processor and blend into fine crumbs. With the blade spinning, pour in the egg so that the mixture begins to clump together; if it seems too dry still, add 1-2 teaspoons of cold water to help it come together.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to form a smooth ball. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes to firm up (the dough can be chilled for up to 3 days before using, or frozen for up to 1 month. It must be completely thawed before rolling).
- To make the mince, peel and grate the apples into a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill for 30 minutes (if making ahead, transfer to sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months; this will yield a larger batch than you need for this recipe, so you can use it throughout the season for traditional mince pies and other recipes).
- When ready to bake, roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface to 2mm thickness. Cut out 36 rounds (re-roll the trimmings if necessary) with a 4cm round fluted pastry cutter and press them into a mini tart tin or muffin pan (you may need to bake in batches).
- Add a teaspoon of the mince filling to each tin and then chill the tin(s) for 20 minutes so the pastry firms up again.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (convection) or 160°C/320°F (gas). Bake the pies for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack (they can be stored for up to 5 days in an airtight container).
- To make the brandy cream topping, mix the heavy cream, brandy and powdered sugar in a bowl until it starts to thicken. Gently fold in the mascarpone until smooth and transfer to a piping bag. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve (can be prepared up to a day ahead).
- To serve, pipe a swirl of brandy cream on each pie and finish with a grating of fresh nutmeg or a pinch of ground cinnamon.
Chef’s tip: Mince pie recipes are easier to make in large batches, so you may have more filling than you need, but it can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and used in other recipes.