Fancy preparing something that is easy and will make your guests think you’re a bit of a professional? Parmesan and poppy seed lollipops and white wine and pear jellies should do the trick. Lollipop sticks (available from Hobbycraft, The Craft Company and Amazon) are not essential, so don’t worry if you can’t get hold of them – they can be parmesan and poppy seed biscuits instead. The jellies need preparing at least five hours in advance to allow time to set, and can go in any type of glass, cup or ramekin. They also make a good dessert in their own right. Have fun seeing in 2013!
Parmesan and poppy seed lollipops (makes approx 10 depending on the size of the cookie cutter)
Butter for greasing
80g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/Gas mark 7, line two large baking trays with baking paper and grease them with butter (or just use a non-stick baking tray without baking paper). Toss the cheese and seeds together in a small bowl. Sit a 9cm/3½in chefs’ ring or cookie cutter on one of the baking trays and sprinkle a small handful of the cheese mixture into it, in a thin layer. Carefully lift the ring off to reveal a neatish-edged disc of parmesan and lay a lollipop stick on top, with the tip of the stick touching the middle of the disc. Repeat with the remaining cheese and sticks to make 10 in total (leaving about 3cm/1¼in spaces between them to allow for any spreading during cooking). You should have a little parmesan left over, so use it to cover up the part of the lollipop stick resting on the disc.
Bake in the oven for five minutes, swapping the lollipops to a different shelf halfway through. The cheese should be lightly golden-brown and bubbling.Remove from the oven, and if using baking paper then slide the paper off the baking trays and onto a rack to help speed up cooling. Leave to cool for 1–2 minutes, or until the lollipops have become crisp. Very carefully remove each one with a palette knife or thin spatula and serve upright in a glass or a box with holes in the top.
Recipe from Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy
White wine and pear jellies (makes 6)
500ml dry white wine
1½ tbsp lemon juice
90g caster sugar
Contents of 10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
Scraped seeds of ½ a vanilla pod, plus the pod
1 tinned pear, diced
3 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for a few minutes
(Optional – for a cream topping – 80g mascarpone, 60ml Greek yoghurt and 2 tsp icing sugar)
Pour the wine into a medium saucepan along with the lemon juice, sugar, cardamom and vanilla. Heat gently and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the liquid to cool down for 20 minutes, then pour into a measuring jug and add water to bring it up to 500ml (you may not have to add any). Place the diced pear in to the base of six small glasses or ramekins. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves to remove all the water, and stir into the saucepan mixture. Once dissolved, strain the liquid and pour into the glasses. Chill until set.
If you want the creamy topping then before serving, whip together the mascarpone, yoghurt and icing sugar until smooth, and spoon a dollop on top of each jelly.
Based on a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi