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Christmas Fare: Master pastry chef Shane Smith shares some delicious chocolate-themed recipes

If it’s chocolate desserts you’re looking for to wow at Christmas, try these at home.

Shane Smith

WELL, IT MAY be another Christmas of curbed catch-ups and early closing times, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat well, relax and enjoy making nice food for each other at home where possible.

By now, most people will have an idea what kind of main course they expect to serve up on the big day, but desserts can often be left to the last minute.

It’s tempting, of course, to just throw in a couple of shop-bought pavlovas or trifles and forget about it, because you feel you won’t be able to make your own or won’t have the time. But let’s be honest, packaged desserts are just not the same as homemade.

So have faith in yourself and why not give one or both of these a shot? The recipes are rich, tasty and the final serving will wow whoever sits at your table:

Shane’s recipes

Milk chocolate honeycomb mousse

MOUSSE Source: Shane Smith

Serves 8

Mousse

450g milk chocolate

150ml cream

3 egg yolks (60g pasteurised egg yolk)

3 egg whites (90g pasteurised egg white)

50g caster sugar

250ml whipped cream

Honeycomb

100g caster sugar

10ml water

25g honey

1 level teaspoon bread soda

Method

For the mousse, place the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and mix until combined, remove from the heat.

Whisk the egg white and sugar until thick and glossy.

Add the yolk to the chocolate mixture and mix to combine.

Fold in the meringue and finally fold in the whipped cream.

Pour this mousse into your serving glasses and chill for a minimum of three hours.

For the honeycomb, line a baking tray with parchment paper and set it aside.

Place the sugar, water and honey into a pot over low heat and cook until it starts to turn golden brown.

Carefully remove from the heat and add the bread soda and stir with a wooden spoon.

The mixture will froth up so you need to work fast. Once the soda is added, stir and pour onto the baking sheet and leave to cool.

Do not move the tray as this will knock the air out of the honeycomb.

To serve, scoop some cream on top of the chilled mousse, crunch some honeycomb on top and enjoy!

Crunchie cheesecake

chef shane 1 Source: Shane Smith

This is not a drill. I repeat, this is NOT a drill. If you’re still undecided as to what you’ll make for Christmas dessert, this cheesecake is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You’ll find a video version of the recipe below here

Serves: 10
Prep time: 25 minutes
Chill time: Overnight

Base
320g chocolate digestive biscuits
125g butter, melted

Filling
700g full fat cream cheese
100g icing sugar
300ml double cream
dash vanilla essence
150g chopped crunchie bars

Topping
100g dark chocolate, chopped
50g cream
4 crunchie bars, chopped

Method

Line the base of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin with parchment paper.

For the base, mix the blitzed biscuits with melted butter and press down on the base of the tin. Chill for 30 minutes.

For the filling, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla for a few seconds until blended.

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To this, start slowly pouring in the cream while mixing. Continue to do this until all the cream is added and mix for about a minute until the cheesecake filling is thick. It’s important to whisk until thick but do not over mix and the mixture can split.

Add the chopped crunchie bars and fold through.

Spoon this filling on top of the chilled base and spread with a spoon until level.

Place this in the fridge overnight to firm up.

The following day, for the topping, heat the cream and pour this over the chopped chocolate and leave to sit for 2 minutes for the chocolate to melt.

Stir with a spatula until combined and melted.

You can run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin to release the cheesecake.

To serve, spread over the melted chocolate topping and top with the chopped crunchie bar.

Shane Smith has nearly 22 years’ experience working in some of the world’s most celebrated pastry kitchens across the globe. Over these years he has received numerous awards from “Best Bakery Manager in Ireland” by Shelf life magazine to “The top 10 best pastry chefs in Ireland” by Food & Wine Magazine. Shane also has a regular cookery slot on RTÉ’s The Today Show. Check out more recipes on his Instagram or at www.chefshanesmith.ie. 

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About the author:

Shane Smith

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