Recipes

Fruit Cakes and Festive Bakes | Recipes with Le Creuset

There’s nothing quite like the change in seasons to get you in the mood for some festive bakes, think spicy ginger, succulent cherries, and a whole lot of treacle. As the autumnal colours fill the pavements you’ll find them making their way into your bakes. This season, Le Creuset’s Christmas campaign Flavour Revival, is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Art Deco with some throwbacks in the baking department. Impress your guests with a modern take on these classic bakes. 

Festive Celebration Fruit Cake

Festive Bakes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 3 and a half – 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2kg mixed dried fruit
  • 4 x 425g cans crushed pineapple, drained
  • 200g glacé cherries, halved
  • 500g butter, softened
  • 700g soft brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 600g plain flour
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 50g blanched almonds and 100g glacé cherries to decorate

Spiced Snowflake Biscuits (to decorate the cake)

  • 100g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250g plain flour, extra for kneading
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • Snowflake cookie cutters, varying sizes

Cake Decoration

  • Snowflake biscuits, different sizes
  • Icing sugar
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • 1 orange
  • Gold edible glitter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 160ºC / Fan 150°C / Gas Mark 3

  1. Grease the Sauteuse with a small piece of butter and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. In a large glass bowl place the fruit, pineapple, cherries, butter, soft brown sugar and mixed spice. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix well and add the remaining ingredients. Mix again.
  4. Place the mixture in the lined Sauteuse and spread evenly inside the pan.
  5. Arrange the blanched almonds and glace cherries on the top.
  6. Bake just below the centre of the pre-heated oven for 3½ to 4 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.

Spiced Snowflake Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 200⁰C / Fan 180⁰C / Gas Mark 6

  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, mixed spice and salt until light and fluffy.
  2. Using your fingertips, rub in the flour to make a sandy-like, crumbly texture.
  3. Add a dash of milk (no more than a tablespoon at a time) and bring the mixture together using a wooden spoon to form a soft dough.
  4. Knead the dough just a couple of times before turning out onto a well-floured surface.
  5. Roll out the dough to approximately the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out cookies of varying sizes and place on a lined or non-stick baking tray using a palette knife – at least 4 of each sized cookie is a good start.
  6. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden – the cookies will firm up as they cool.

Decorating the Cake

  1. Sprinkle a selection of different sized snowflake biscuits with a little icing sugar. Position them in a wreath-like fashion around the edge of the cake, placing the larger ones down first and layering with the smaller sizes. To fix in place, put a little icing sugar loosened with a small amount of water onto the biscuit base. This is a great edible glue.
  2. Entwine approximately 4 sprigs of rosemary in with the biscuits.
  3. Slice the orange thinly and cut each slice into 2 to create semi-circles. Evenly distribute the pieces around the wreath before sprinkling everything with a little edible glitter.

What you’ll need…

Chocolate Volcano Cakes

Le creuset cakes

Prep time: Under 30 mins 

Cooking time: Under 30 mins 

Serves: 2-4 

Ingredients:

To prepare the dishes 

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Cakes 

  • 115g (4oz) dark chocolate
  • 115g (4oz) butter
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 2 whole medium eggs and two egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80g (3oz) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Whipped cream and cocoa powder to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven: 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas Mark 6, pre-heated Fan Oven: 180°
  2. Grease the petite casseroles with butter and dust in cocoa powder.
  3. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of hot water, taking care not to let the bowl touch the water
  4. Whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks together until light and fluffy. Stir in the liquid coffee and vanilla extract.
  5. Whilst continuously whisking, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate and butter into the egg and sugar mixture.
  6. Sift in the flour with the cocoa powder and combine.
  7. Divide the mixture between the prepared casseroles.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The cakes are done when they just form a breaking crust, the mixture should be firm on top but still runny in the middle.
  9. Once cooked allow the cakes to stand for a minute or two
  10. Serve warm with a spoonful of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder
  11. Cooks tips
  12. To prepare ahead:
  13. At stage 6, the uncooked cakes can be covered with the lids, placed in the refrigerator and held for several hours. Remove the lids before baking and allow a little extra cooking time using the appearance guide at point 6.

What you’ll need…

Pear, Treacle and Ginger Sponge Pudding

Festive Bakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time :40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 350g golden syrup
  • 100ml stem ginger syrup
  • 150g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 3 balls of stem ginger, finely grated or chopped
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking power
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 firm Conference pears, peeled

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190⁰C/Fan 170⁰C/Gas Mark 5

  1. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the butter, golden syrup and stem ginger syrup. Pour the melted syrup over the breadcrumbs, stir to combine and allow to soak for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly grease the square roaster with a little butter before spooning in the syrup and breadcrumbs. Set aside whilst you make the sponge.
  3. Cream together the butter, golden caster sugar and grated ginger until light and fluffy. Sieve together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Crack in one egg at a time to the butter mixture along with a tablespoon of flour and mix until well combined. Repeat with all the eggs before carefully folding in the remaining flour and the milk to keep the mixture airy.
  5. Gently spoon the batter over the syrup and breadcrumbs being careful not to disturb the breadcrumb layer too much. Take the pears and slice lengthways approximately 1cm thick. Gently lay the pear slices on top of the batter being careful not to submerge them too much. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden and cooked through. If the cake is browning too quickly, simply cover with a little foil and continue baking until cooked through.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to sit for 5 minutes then sprinkle with a little icing sugar before serving with custard, cream or ice cream.

What you’ll need…

Chocolate and Cherry Sponge

Festive Bakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 260g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tin cherry pie filling
  • 180g soft brown sugar
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/ Gas Mark 5
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa. In a separate jug gently whisk together the melted butter, milk, vanilla and eggs.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold in all the ingredients until well combined and a thick, chocolatey batter is created.
  4. In a Stoneware 24 cm Round Dish pour in the cherry pie filling and carefully spoon the chocolate mixture on top trying to keep separate layers. Smooth the batter to the edge of the dish with a palette knife or the back of a spoon.
  5. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a large jug and stir to combine. Place the chocolate sponge dish on the wire rack of the oven and carefully pour over the sauce mixture. At this stage it will look very runny, but this will thicken during cooking. Bake for 35 minutes.
  6. Once the sponge starts to slightly crack on the top and springs back when lightly touched remove from the oven and leave to set for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Serve with lightly whipped cream, fresh cherries and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

What you’ll need…

Salted Chocolate Custard Star

Festive Bakes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g packet puff pastry
  • 75g GU salted chocolate spread
  • 50ml ready made tub custard
  • 1 egg, to glaze

Method

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/ Fan 180˚C/ Gas Mark 5

  1. Dive the pastry into 3 and roll into 3 x 26 cm circles.
  2. Place one piece of pastry on a piece of parchment paper and spread half of the chocolate spread and then half of the custard thinly over the top.
  3. Place a second disc of pastry on top of the custard and repeat stage 2 and 3.
  4. Place a 5 cm jar or tumbler in the centre of the pastry to make an indent.
  5. Leaving the centre 5 cm circle intact cut the disc into 8 even pieces, all the way around.
  6. Taking hold of 2 of the cut pieces twist them twice anti-clockwise and nip them together.
  7. Repeat stage 6 until all the segments have been twisted.
  8. Brush with egg and then lift into the frying pan.
  9. Place into the hot oven to bake for 30 minutes until a deep golden colour.
  10. Remove from the pan once cooked and dust with icing sugar.
  11. Serve warm or cold.

What you’ll need…

Frangipane Tart with Star Anise Poached Pears

Prep time: Under 30 minutes

Cooking time: Under 2 hours

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

For the pastry 

  • 250g Cake Wheat Flour, 
  • 2 Tbsp 30ml icing sugar 
  • ¼ Tsp fine salt 
  • 150g Salted butter, cold 
  • 1 egg Yolk 
  • 45-60ml ice Water 

For the Frangipane Filling 

  • 175g Salted butter, softened 
  • 175g caster sugar 
  • 3 extra large eggs 
  • 175g almond flour 
  • 4 tsp (20ml) cake wheat flour 
  • 20 ml hazelnut liqueur (optional) or 11/2 Tsp vanilla extract 

For the poaching liquid 

  • 250ml (1 cup) water 
  • 750ml (3 cups) white wine (sauvignon Blanc) 
  • 110g (1/2cups) soft brown sugar 
  • 1 Vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped 
  • 3-star anise 
  • Peel of 1 lemon 
  • 4-5 Bosc pears, firm but not ripe, peeled
  • 40g hazelnuts, roughly chopped 
  • Icing sugar, for dusting 

Method

  • For the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and salt in a processor. Pulse to aerate. Add the butter and process until the texture is roughly crumber. Whisk the egg yolk and 45ml water together and then add to the flour. Pulse to combine. Drizzle in the remaining water if the dough is slightly crumbly. Turn out and press together lightly. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour. 
  • For the frangipane, cream the butter and castor sugar together until pale. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Add the almond flour and cake wheat flour and whisk until creamy. Fold through the liqueur if using or vanilla extract. 
  • For the poached pears, place all the poaching ingredients in a deep saucepan. Brung up to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the pears gently into the liquid and poach for 20-25 minutes, turning the pears several times to ensure even cooking. Remove from the heat and cool in the liquid.
  • On a floured board, roll the dough out to a 3mm thickness. LIne the le Creuset bakeware square fluted tart tin on the base and sides. Prick the pastry base with a fork and chill until firm. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200c. Spread the frangipane evenly over the pastry case. Halve and core the pears. Slice thinly then arrange over the frangipane. Scatter the hazelnuts around the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180c and bake for a further 45-50 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes if browning too rapidly. 
  • Cook’s Note: Reserved poaching liquid can be reduced until syrupy and thick. Serve alongside the tart with softly whipped cream. 

What you’ll need…

Banana & Pineapple Meringue Pie

Le Crueset recipes

Cooking time: Under 2 hours

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

For the fruit & sauce 
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 120ml double cream
  • 50g butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 ripe bananas cut into 2cm slices
  • ½ a ripe pineapple cut into 2cm cubes
For the custard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 fresh vanilla pod
  • 15g cornflour
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 200g tin sweet condensed milk
For the meringue 
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 50g desiccated coconut

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 200ºC / Fan 180°C / Gas Mark 6
  • Pour the sugar into the casserole, add the water and stir. Heat gently on low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn up the heat slightly and allow to bubble for 5 minutes until the mixture turns to caramel. Do not take off the heat or stir during this process.
  • Stir in the cream, butter and salt.
  • Place the fruit into the stoneware dish and pour the caramel over it.
  • Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla and cornflour together in the milk pan. Gradually whisk in the milk and condensed milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • When the custard starts to thicken and boil, take off the heat and pour over the caramel. Leave it to cool a little.
  • In a scrupulously clean and dry bowl whisk the egg whites until they double in size and stand in stiff peaks.
  • Mix the sugar and cornflour together and fold into the egg whites, a third at a time, until shiny and holding the stiff peaks, then fold in the coconut.
  • Spoon the meringue mix on top of the custard making peaks with each spoonful.
  • Put the dish in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top. Turn off the oven and leave for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
  • As an alternative to making caramel, buy a tin of Dulce de Leche (boiled condensed milk) available from major supermarkets. Pour it into a bowl, loosen it with two tablespoons of double cream and pour over the fruit.

 

 

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Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Writer and expert


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