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Shane Smith

Christmas Fare Pastry chef Shane Smith has some delicious recipes for you

Try Shane’s “Do Ahead Desserts” that are guaranteed to make your life and Christmas Day all the sweeter.

WITH THE BLINK of an eye we’re back at the same old crossroad, trying to make the decision whether to buy or make Christmas Day dessert.

Now, if you’re on top of your head and the thoughts of whipping up a Pavlova or baking a sponge make your heart race for all the wrong reasons, it’s completely ok to pop to your local bakery/shop and pick something up ahead of time.

On the other hand, if the 26 different types of potato you’re planning to serve are not enough of a challenge for you, let me give you some ideas. For me, there are a few golden rules to get you across that finish line.

Most importantly, keep it simple, no one is expecting a choux bun tower or individual chocolate fondants. After the fanfare of the stuffed turkey, a light simple dessert is absolutely perfect. If at all possible make your sweet ahead of time and chuck it in the freezer or fridge a few days before Christmas. There is nothing more satisfying than taking your dessert from the fridge, dusting it with icing sugar and serving it up.

I have a few “Do Ahead Dessert” that are guaranteed to make your life and Christmas Day all the sweeter.

1. Oreo Ice-Cream Cake (no Ice-Cream machine needed)
This Ice-Cream cake is utterly delicious and can be made well ahead of time and kept in the freezer. Don’t let the Ice-cream part throw you off, it’s just whipped cream and condensed milk.

2. Mince pie filo parcels
This dessert is an assembly job, use store-bought filo pastry and a jar of mince pie filling and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with some whipped cream.

3. Mini Pavlovas with lemon curd
Again, another dessert that can be made well ahead of time. Make the meringues and leave them in the utility a few days in advance. Top with a spoon of store-bought lemon curd and some berries.

Chocolate Oreo Ice-Cream Cake

Oreo Ice Cream Cake (1) Shane Smith Shane Smith

Serves: 10
Prep: 25 mins
Freeze: Overnight

Cake base
40 Oreo biscuits
50g melted butter

Cake filling
300g condensed milk
170g dark chocolate
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
dash vanilla
360ml single cream, whipped
10 Oreo biscuits, crushed

Cake topping
200ml cream
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp icing sugar
10 Oreo biscuits


Line the base of a 23cm loose bottom round baking tin with parchment paper.

In a food processor, add the 40 Oreo biscuits (& filling) to a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb is reached.

Add the melted butter and mix.

Pour this Oreo crumb mixture into the prepared tin and press down to cover the base and sides.

Pop this into the fridge for 15 minutes.

For the filling, melt the dark chocolate, add the condensed milk, vanilla and cocoa to this and mix to combine.

Add this chocolate mixture to the whipped cream and fold together.

Finally, add the crushed Oreos and spoon this mixture into the line cake tin.

Place this in the freezer overnight to firm up.

To serve, for the topping, add the cream, cocoa and icing sugar to a bowl and whisk until thick.

Place this into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

Pipe 10 rosettes around the top of the ice-cream cake and place a whole Oreo in each one.
Serve straight away & enjoy.

Mince Pie Filo Parcels

filo pastry

Makes 12


3 sheets of filo pastry
100g melted butter
400g store bought mincemeat/pie filling


Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/ Gas 6/ 400F

Cut each filo sheet into 8 x 4.5” squares, this will give you 24 squares in total.

Using the melted butter, brush a square of filo and place another filo square on top, brush this with butter too.

Place these buttered squares into a muffin tin cup.

Repeat the process until you have 12 filled.

Spoon in some of the mince pie filling and pinch the top of the pastry to create a small

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown all over.

Remove from the tins and cool slightly before serving with a side of semi whipped cream.

Individual Meringue Pavlova’s with lemon Curd

Lemon Curd Pavlovas Shane Smith Shane Smith

Makes: 5

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes


4 large egg whites
210g caster sugar
210g icing sugar
10g cornflour
1 jar of lemon curd
10 fresh raspberries
1 passion fruit
5 sprigs basil


Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set to one side.

Preheat your oven to 120°C/100°C fan.

Into a clean dry bowl add the room temperature fresh egg whites.

Whisk for 2 minutes on full speed until doubled in size and start adding the caster sugar.

Mix until thick.

At this point start adding the icing sugar and cornflour and mix on full speed again until thick and glossy.

Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

Stick the baking paper down to the tray with some of the mix and pipe 5 meringue nests on the lined tray.

If you don’t have a piping bag or nozzle, you can simply spoon 5 large meringue mounds onto the tray instead. Hollow out the centre to allow space for the curd later.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes and then turn the oven off and allow to cool fully inside.

To serve, simply spoon some of the lemon curd into the centre of the meringues and top with passion fruit wedges, raspberries and fresh basil.

Tuck in and enjoy! Happy Christmas to all. 

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  

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