Can you believe that Christmas was already a whole month ago? I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on the My Food Bag Christmas Bag before now, but hey, that hasn’t happened.
Christmas Day lunch was straight up YUM! We were treated to a My Food Bag Christmas Bag and beyond looking forward to the delicious sounding dishes on the actual day, I was so grateful for the mental space that was cleared in my head knowing I didn’t have to think about the Christmas Menu at all. You all know I love being in the kitchen and cooking is my jam, but with everything else I’ve had going on in my head, my little brain just couldn’t cope with the idea of researching and planning a menu, shopping for those ingredients, planning my run sheet for Christmas Eve and Day and delegating prep to various members of my family.
Instead, the box arrived on December 23rd, complete with a runsheet in the recipe booklet. We had been advised in advance which staple ingredients would be required to complement the box contents so there was no need to deal with supermarket chaos in the couple days prior to the big one. Big plus here!
We had 15 adults for Christmas Day and five kids, so we had the Large Box, and extended family bought a couple of extra dishes to add to our spread, including two extra desserts but we had waaaaay too much food (as usual).
Everything came pre-portioned as you would expect and appreciate from My Food Bag, portions were generous. There was literally nothing overlooked. We also received emails in the lead up to Christmas Day with cute YouTube recordings of Nadia sharing tips and tricks for the main menu items – Turkey, Ham & Pavlova. These were invaluable since we had never cooked a Turkey before.
I’m sharing the Pavlova recipe here for you because I’m not usually a great fan of pav, but this version will forever be my go-to from this point forward. The brown sugar took it took another level both in flavour and consistency. I beat it like a crazy woman on Christmas Eve and followed the instructions explicitly and it was absolutely perfect. There were mixed feelings from family members about the combination of topping flavours and some thought it was a little too busy but the base was incredible and you can feel free to top your pavlova with whatever you’d like.
- BROWN SUGAR PAVLOVA
- 6 free range eggs whites (at room temperature)
- 1 C castor sugar
- 3/4 C lightly packed brown sugar
- 4 t cornflour
- 2 t white vinegar
- 3/4 t vanilla extract
- SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
- 80g unsalted butter
- 1/3 C lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 C castor sugar
- 50g golden syrup
- 1/4 C cream
- 1/4-1 t flaky sea salt
- VANILLA CREAM
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 T icing sugar
- 350ml cream
- 200 fruit compote
- 40g toasted coconut thread
- small mint leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 140ºC (do not use fan bake). Line an oven tray with baking paper and draw a rectangle measuring about 25cm x 19cm on paper with a pencil. Turn the baking paper over so the marking is on the underside but still visible.
- Place egg whites in a large, clean, dry glass or metal bowl and beat with an electric beater on high until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 C castor sugar and continue beating on high for 8-10 minutes while gradually adding remaining castor sugar and brown sugar. All the sugar should dissolve and mixture should be thick and glossy. Rub mixture between your fingers to ensure you can't feel any sugar granules before you move onto the next step.
- Beat in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract.
- Gently turn out onto the marked rectangle on tray, with mixture about 3-4cm high. You can smooth the top with a butter knife or you can leave it in peaks and troughs.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off oven and leave to cool completely in oven without opening the door (2 hours minimum!). Don't worry if Pavlova has cracks in it, this is normal (and a good sign of a crispy shell), and it will be covered up with the topping.
- Once completely cool (I left mine in the oven overnight), pavlova can be stored in a large, dry, airtight container or on a large platter, lightly wrapped in cling film, for 1-2 days.
- Melt the butter, brown sugar, castor sugar and golden syrup in a small pot on low-medium heat. Once melted, simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly for 2-3 minutes. Stir through cream and salt. Return to low-medium heat and warm gently for a further minute.
- Beat cream cheese, vanilla extract and icing sugar with an electric beater on high for 3 minutes, until smooth. Add cream to bowl in three parts and beat on low for 20 seconds after each addition, until thick and smooth. Continue to beat on low over a further 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Be careful not to over beat or the cream may split. If doing this step in advance, gently fold vanilla cream topping just before serving.
- Roughly spread vanilla cream over the top of of the Pavlova and spoon over the fruit compote. Drizzle over 1/3 of the salted caramel sauce (to taste) and sprinkle over the toasted coconut. Garnish with mint if desired and serve with the salted caramel sauce on the side.
- The original recipe called for Barberry Compote which I've never heard of or seen before. I think you could use fresh seasonal berries in place or any other fruit compote.