Mary Berry draws on her wealth of cookery know-how and shares a selection of her absolute favourite Christmas recipes – wonderful seasonal dishes guaranteed to go down a treat with family and friends, serving up some traditional seasonal staples alongside some new exciting ideas. She starts by showing how to prepare and get ahead for the Christmas season.
Being such a busy time of year, it’s ideal to have just the right dish on standby. To start, Mary updates her mother’s favourite Christmas Eve treat, a family fish pie, this time served with a delicious and luxurious crouton souffle topping. This is followed with her horseradish mustard beef, another winter warmer that can be prepared ahead, leaving more time to relax with family and friends. Mary’s special festive raised chicken and ham pie takes a little more preparation, but it is an old-fashioned treat, perfect for a family lunch on Boxing Day.
Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites episode 1
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without some indulgent sweet treats – Mary serves up two. First she demonstrates a festive twist on the traditional crumble, a blackberry and apple crumble tart, and lastly, a show-stopping chocolate mousse cake, the perfect option for those who aren’t fond of plum pudding.
As well as cooking her favourite festive dishes, Mary offers up titbits from her past and visits some specialist artisans getting ready for a busy Christmas. First up, a stilton factory in Nottinghamshire, who make the famously British seasonal cheese using centuries-old traditional methods, and chocolatier William Curley takes Mary’s breath away with a spectacular Christmas buche de noel.
Mary’s fish pie with soufflé topping
This is Mary Berry’s fish pie with a twist, topped with a fancy soufflé style topping.
- Grease a 1.5 litre/2½ pint shallow wide-based ovenproof dish with butter.
- To make the fish pie, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and gently soften over a low heat until completely tender but not coloured.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir over a high heat for a minute. Gradually pour in the hot milk, stirring all the time until the sauce is smooth, thick and has come to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the chopped dill, lemon juice, fish and season with salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat.
- Spoon into a 1.5 litre/2½ pint shallow wide-based ovenproof dish. Arrange the eggs on top of the sauce and press in gently. Level the top and set aside until cold. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour or until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
- To make the soufflé topping, remove the crusts from the loaf and discard. Cut into five slices then cut each slice into small cubes (about 1.5cm/¾in across). You will need 150g/5½oz of bread cubes.
- Add the cream cheese, butter and cheddar to a saucepan, melt over a low heat until runny (the mixture may look curdled but do not worry). Set aside for a moment.
- In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold the eggs whites into the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper and carefully stir. Stir in the bread cubes so they are all coated in the mixture. Spoon onto the top of the chilled fish mixture so the cubes are in a single layer.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden-brown and bubbling. If it is getting too brown cover it with foil and continue to bake.
- Leave to stand for five minutes then serve with salad or green vegetables.