I have always traditionally had cheese fondue on Christmas Eve, but since we moved here and my in-laws started sleeping over on Christmas Eve, that has been changed. My father-in-law would keel over dead if I served a meatless meal, and fondue? Even fondue with meat? Far too exotic, not to mention dangerous. (Think of the damage that could be caused by molten cheese, or bubbling oil... Scandal! Amputations! Lawsuits!)
So I instead I have taken a cue from the French Canadians and now make tourtière on Christmas Eve (aka meat pie.)
This year I made one with ground bison (which I prefer to beef) and pork, with a cheddar pastry crust. We never told the 'rents that they were eating bison instead of beef. Why rock the boat?
I got the recipe from Ricardo magazine (alas, if you do not read French you are out of luck, as they have stopped publishing the English version) and it worked very well. I didn't even screw up the pastry! I'm getting much better at that.
(POSTSCRIPT 2010: RICARDO L'ARRIVÉE SUCKS! RICARDO SUCKS!! I ordered a gift subscription of Ricardo for my friend in November 2008, they took my money, the English version of the magazine folded before my friend ever got an issue, and after two years and many emails and phone calls, the THIEVES still have not refunded my money. I have thrown out all my previous issues of Ricardo. THIEVES! I want my $20.95 back and I am sick of asking for it! It's not the money, it's the principle. I paid for something you never delivered. No wonder your damn magazine folded. I wish the French version would fold too! I advise you NOT to deal with Les Editions Gesca of Montreal, as they are dishonest and unhelpful. Even with us speaking to them in French, they did not refund our money after promises to do so. All I am left with is venting on my blog. Les Editions Gesca SUCKS.)
For Christmas day, we had the requisite turkey (without which my in-laws would fall into a mortal depression and keel over dead right at the dinner table), but dessert was spectacular. Gordon made Chocolate-on-chocolate Trifle (he makes some kind of trifle every year) and it was FANTASTIC. I'll post the recipe at the end of this.
Home-made brownies, whipped cream, white chocolate custard, chocolate custard, and crushed Skor bars. Oh MY!!
And the proud chef:
My friend Beth sent the dogs special cookies for Christmas, and they were REALLY impressed:
Not to mention patient:
"Stop taunting us and hand over the cookies already!!!"
And here's the recipe for those in need of a divine chocolate fix. Don't be lazy and buy the brownies. MAKE THEM! They are quite easy.
Chocolate on Chocolate Trifle
By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
If there were an award for over-the-top desserts, this triple-chocolate treat would take the cake. It's pure heaven on a spoon, with layers of white and dark chocolate custard, fudgy brownies and totally decadent chopped-up chocolate bars.
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
3 bars (each 39 g) chocolate-covered crisp toffee (such as Skor)
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter
3 oz (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, 60 chopped
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
3 cups (750 mL) milk
2/3 cup (150 mL) whipping cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) cornstarch
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
3 oz (90 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz (90 g) white chocolate, chopped
Brownies: Line 8-inch (2 L) square metal cake pan with parchment paper or grease; set aside.
In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition; whisk in vanilla. In bowl, whisk flour with salt ; using wooden spoon, stir into chocolate mixture until combined.
Scrape into prepared pan; bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack. (Make-ahead: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)
Custard: In large saucepan, heat milk with cream just until bubbles form around edge. In bowl, whisk eggs with sugar; whisk in cornstarch. Gradually whisk in milk mixture. Return to pan; bring to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Strain through fine sieve into large liquid measure.
Transfer 3 cups (750 mL) of the custard to bowl; whisk in bittersweet chocolate until smooth. Whisk white chocolate into remaining custard until smooth. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of both; refrigerate until cold, 2 hours. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
Cut brownies into bite-size pieces; set aside 12 for garnish. Whip cream. Coarsely chop 2 of the chocolate bars. Finely chop remaining bar; reserve for garnish.
Scatter half of the brownie pieces in 10-cup (2.5 L) glass trifle or serving bowl. Spoon in half of the bittersweet chocolate custard; smooth surface. Sprinkle coarsely chopped chocolate bars over top. Top with white chocolate custard; smooth surface. Scatter remaining half of the brownie pieces over top. Top with remaining bittersweet chocolate custard. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with reserved brownie pieces and chocolate bar. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.)
* Time Saving Tip: If you don't have time to make the brownies, buy brownies and cut them into bite-size pieces to make 5 cups (1.25 L).