Mary Berry Saves Christmas: Mary Berry teaches three hopeless kitchen novices to create surprise festive feasts for those closest to them. Mary’s pupils – Jake, Jess and Claire – all have one thing in common: they have never cooked a meal from scratch in their lives.
Mary teaches Somerset zoo keeper Jake her recipe for butternut squash, stilton and sage tart, so he can attempt to treat his bosses with a surprise feast to thank them for all of their support this year. But he struggles from the off, failing to follow Mary’s instructions and serving up something that even his animals wouldn’t go near.
Customer services rep Jess has spent much of this year living with her parents in Hull and now faces a Christmas without her mum and dad, who are travelling back to her mum’s native Philippines. She is keen to show them how much they mean to her with a big festive send off in the form of Mary’s turkey crown with bacon lattice and Christmas vegetable gratin. But given that the last time Jess tried to heat a ready-made roast she nearly burnt the house down, Mary has got her work cut out.
For years, bra fitter Claire has relied on her husband Tony to do the cooking. Now she is keen to wow him and their friends with her first ever attempt at a homemade desert, Mary’s spectacular mango, passion fruit and limoncello pavlova. In Mary Berry Saves Christmas she makes it look easy, but can Claire follow the recipe to the letter when left to her own devices?
Mary is keen that her novices’ feasts go without a hitch, and so she has enlisted three celebrity elves to help them. She brings The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades, comedian Tom Allen and presenter Angela Scanlon together to brief them before sending them out across the UK to each surprise one of the non-cooks and act as their sous chef for the day.
Mary Berry Saves Christmas recipes:
Christmas vegetable gratin
Mary Berry’s vegetable gratin brings potatoes and carrots together in a dish that’s rich, creamy, colourful and full of flavour.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Butter a 1.7–2 litre/3–3½ pint wide ovenproof dish.
- Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan, add the shallots and fry for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the carrots and stir together for 30 seconds. Spoon into the buttered dish. Season with salt and pepper.
- Thinly slice the potatoes into discs about the thickness of a £1 coin.
- Pour a third of the stock and a third of the cream over the carrots and shallots. Arrange half the potatoes on top. Season and pour over another third of the stock and cream. Push the vegetables down into the liquid. Arrange the remaining potatoes in neat overlapping rows over the top. Season and pour over the remaining stock and cream. Push down, then sprinkle over the cheese. Cover the dish with foil.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes around the edge of the dish are soft. Remove the foil and cook for a further 25 minutes, or until all the vegetables are cooked through and the top is golden-brown. Scatter over the parsley to serve.
Christmas turkey crown with bacon lattice – Mary Berry Saves Christmas
My Christmas turkey crown is perfect for a smaller gathering; it’s easy to carve, too. You can buy the crown on or off the bone: I prefer it on the bone as it gives more flavour and helps the crown stand upright. For this recipe you will need a large, deep roasting tin with a rack that fits in it (to sit the turkey on).
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
- Mix the butter, paprika and lemon zest in a small bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Pat the turkey skin dry using kitchen towel. Spread the butter mixture all over the breasts. Weave the bacon slices in a lattice pattern on top of the butter. Snip tiny sprigs of rosemary from the stalk and poke them through the bacon lattice into the breast skin, at random intervals.
- Scatter the leek slices in a large, deep roasting tin and pour over the stock and wine. Put a rack on top, sit the turkey crown on the rack and cover loosely with foil. Roast for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil and roast for a further 30 minutes, or until the turkey is golden-brown and cooked through. To test, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat – if the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. Transfer the turkey to a board, cover with kitchen foil and towels, and rest for at least 20 minutes (and up to an hour). Reserve the roasting tin for making the gravy later.
- Strain the leeks, wine and stock through a sieve into a large jug. Discard the leeks.
- To make the gravy, skim off the fat from the top of the jug. Put about 3 tablespoons of the fat into the roasting tin. Put the tin over a medium heat and sprinkle in the flour, whisking until smooth. Gradually pour in the liquid from the jug, whisking continuously to make a smooth gravy. Whisk in the redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, gravy browning and any juices from the resting turkey, check the seasoning and pour into a serving jug.
- Carve thin slices of turkey and serve with the gravy.
Mango, passion fruit and limoncello pavlova
Mary Berry’s mango, passion fruit and limoncello pavlova is an impressive tropical fruit dessert guaranteed to wow family and friends. For this recipe you will need a large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Draw a 40x10cm/16x4in rectangle on a sheet of baking paper and place the paper (pencil-side down on a large baking sheet or shallow baking tray.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large mixing bowl with an electric whisk on full speed, until soft peaks form (see the recipe tip and technique video below). Add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking on full speed until stiff and glossy. Mix the cornflour and vinegar in a cup until smooth, then stir into the egg white mixture.
- Use four small blobs of the meringue to stick the prepared baking paper to the tray. Spoon just over half of the meringue onto the rectangle drawn on the baking paper. Using the back of a spoon, spread out the meringue to make a neat rectangle. Make a trench in the centre and build up the sides. If necessary, use a small palette knife to add more of the meringue to the outsides to make a smooth rectangle.
Method part 2
- Spoon the remaining meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe eight small round nests on top of both sides of the meringue rectangle, making a little hole in the middle of each nest.
- Put in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 130C/120C Fan/Gas 1. Bake for 1–1¼ hours until the outside is crisp but still white. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven for at least an hour until completely cool.
- To make the filling, chop one mango into small cubes. Slice the second mango into thin strips. Scoop out the pulp and seeds from the passion fruit.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then lift out 1 heaped tablespoon and set aside. Fold the limoncello and three-quarters of the passion fruit pulp into the whipped cream, then fold in the cubed mango.
- Spoon the cream mixture along the centre of the pavlova. Spoon a little of the reserved cream into each nest and top with the chopped pistachios. Arrange the sliced mango along the centre, on top of the cream, and drizzle over the remaining passion fruit pulp.