When I was growing up in Tasmania our family Christmases were big.
There were my Grandparents, my family, my Mum's sister's family, and her brothers family in attendance at Christmas lunch. Sometimes some of my Mum's other brother and his family, who lived interstate, would fly back for the holidays, and sometimes my Nan's brother and his wife would visit too.
Those Christmases were filled with food, and there was always more food than all of us could possibly eat, but that was part of the fun of the event. And my brother and my cousins and I especially loved it because it was Christmas day it was the one day of the year we could indulge in sugar filled treats unchecked. By the day we'd end up feeling sick, but we didn't care.
The women of the family would share the task of cooking, and all had certain dishes that they made each year. It would be decided who would get the ham and who would cook the turkey. Who'd make the roast potatoes, salads and prawn cocktails and so on. However there were certain dishes that were signature dishes. Debbie, mum's sister, was famous for her trifle, Nanna for her Scottish tablet, and mum for her Black Forest Cheesecake. And when I was old enough to take on cooking responsibility I became famous for my chocolate truffles.
While Christmas just isn't Christmas without making a batch of Nanna's tablet, this year I decided to make Black Forest Cheesecake Trifles in homage of Mum's Black Forest Cheesecake because fresh cherries are just wonderful at the moment.
So, to change things up, because really I just can't help myself, I made Black Forest Cheesecake Trifles. Layers of chocolate cake, topped with cheesecake and vanilla roasted cherries.
And let me tell you, these vanilla roasted cherries are SO good. It's worth making them for the beautiful aroma's they fill your kitchen with when they're roasting. They would also be amazing served on top of a dollop of Greek yoghurt, on pancakes and with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
So tell me, what Christmas desserts did you grow up with? And do you still make them now?
12 Treats of Christmas
Don't forget to check out the other delicious treats in my 12 Treats of Christmas series.
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- VANILLA ROASTED CHERRIES:
- 600 g of cherries pitted, 1 ½ pounds
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
- 1 tbs of caster sugar
- CHOCOLATE CAKE:
- 30 g of cocoa sifted, 1 oz
- 50 g of brown sugar ¼ cups
- 125 cup mls of boiling water ½
- 70 g of butter softened, ½ a stick
- 60 g of caster sugar ¼ cup
- 1 egg
- 100 g of plain flour ¾ cup plus 1 tbs
- ¼ tsp of baking powder
- ¼ tsp of baking soda
- ¼ tsp of sea salt
- CHEESECAKE FILLING:
- 400 g of cream cheese at room temperature, 14 oz
- 200 g of mascarpone cheese at room temperature, 7 oz
- 1 tbs of sugar
- Begin with the vanilla roasted cherries. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and place the cherries in a roasting pan lined with non stick baking paper and sprinkle with sugar. Add the vanilla seeds and the pod and toss to combine. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cherries are softened and some of their juices have started to release. Set aside to cool but leave the oven on to make the cake.
- For the cake combine the cocoa, brown sugar and boiling water in a jug and whisk to combine and set aside. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Cream the butter and caster sugar until light and creamy and add the egg. Alternately add the flour mixture with the cocoa, sugar and water mixture and mix until combined. Bake in a small loaf tin for 20 to 25 minutes.
- To make the cheesecake filling combine the cream cheese with the mascarpone cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or whisk by hand, until smooth.
- To assemble the trifles cut slices of the cake to size to line the bottom of the serving glasses. Divide half of the cheesecake filling between the glasses and top with half of the cherries. Top with another layer of cake trimmed to size, the remaining cheesecake filling and finally the remaining cherries. Drizzle the trifles with any juice from the cherries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve topped with grated chocolate or chards of chocolate and a dollop of cream.