The City News Team

Bake Yourself A Merry Christmas

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Four simple Yuletide sweets to bake this season. There’s something very special about baking your own treats—whether to eat or to give away—during Christmas. Culinary studio The Kitchen Society generously shares three of its own (and one borrowed) recipes that are easily recreated in your home kitchen.

Bake Yourself A Merry Christmas

Photos and recipes courtesy of the kitchen society.

Preparation Time: 1.5 hours  
|   Makes: one loaf tin (22 x 11 x 6cm)


2 Eggs
150 ml Milk
150 ml Whipping cream
25 g Brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Almond extract (optional)
200 g Stale bread, thick slices
60 g Cherries, pitted
50 g White chocolate chunks


240 ml Milk
1/4 c up White sugar
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp Corn starch
113 g Butter

  1. Whisk eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla and almond extract in a large bowl until smooth and combined into a custard mixture.
  2. Dice the bread into 1” cubes. The older the bread the better. Enriched buttered breads like brioche and croissants will add more flavor.
  3. Drain the cherries cut them into small pieces.
  4. Toss the bread and cherries into the custard mixture till all the bread is soaked through.
  5. Let it sit for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C and grease your loaf tin or baking dish.
  7. Put half the soaked bread into the loaf tin and gently press down to flatten.
  8. Sprinkle the white chocolate in an even layer. Add the remaining bread and custard mixture.
  9. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or till the surface is golden brown.
  10. Make the vanilla sauce: Into a small sauce pan, cook the milk and sugar at medium heat. Do not let it boil over. Add in vanilla bean paste.  Scoop some of the hot milk and mix it well with your corn starch in a separate small bowl. Add the mixture back into the saucepan and keep stirring with a hand whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to whisk constantly for about 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and whisk in butter in until the mixture becomes very smooth.  If there are still lumps, you may push the mixture through a sieve.
  11. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over individual portions of bread pudding.

Bake Yourself A Merry Christmas

Preparation Time: 45 min  |   Makes: about 7 small ramekins

375 g Full cream milk
5 Gelatine sheets
1/4 c up Sugar
1 tsp Orange blossom water/ orange extract (optional)
3 strips Orange peel
450 g Plain or greek yogurt, unsweetened
3 Large oranges, juiced
1 Large orange, segmented
1 tsp Lemon juice
30 g Sugar
1/4 t sp Cardamom seeds
1 Pomegranate

  1. Soak gelatine sheets in cold water until they are soft.
  2. Combine milk, sugar and orange peels in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin sheets until dissolved.
  4. Add in orange blossom water or orange extract. (optional)
  5. Let it cool until lukewarm, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add plain yogurt to mixture into the bowl and whisk until smooth.
  7. Pour each mixture into small ramekins.
  8. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until set for at least 4 hours.
  9. Make orange coulis cardamon coulis: Cook the orange juice, cardamom seeds and sugar until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is reduced a little for about 5 minutes.
  10. Strain syrup over a sieve and leave aside to cool.
  11. Segment the oranges. First slice the top and bottom of the orange. Then remove the skin and pith but cutting downwards with the orange rest on the board. Lastly, cut between the membranes lengthwise, retaining the juices.
  12. Top the yogurt panna cotta with some syrup, fresh orange segments and pomegranate seeds.

Bake Yourself A Merry Christmas

Preparation Time: 1.5 hours    |   Makes: one loaf tin (22 x 11 x 6cm)


4 Eggs
1/2 Lemon, juiced
300 g Full cream milk
280 g All purpose flour
160 g Sugar
1/4 t sp Salt
2 1/4 t sp Baking powder
1 tbsp Poppy seeds / Chia seeds
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tbsp Lemon zest
150 g Butter
1 tsp Fresh thyme leaves


100 g Water
80 g Sugar
1/2 inch Ginger, smashed
1/2 Lemon, juiced

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180˚C . Grease a 12-cup bundt tin well and lightly dust the pan with flour.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and lemon juice and let it stand.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and poppy/chia seeds in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer with a paddle whisk, beat the eggs on high speed for 5 minutes or until thickened and pale in colour. Gradually add in sugar and beat till mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add in vanilla and lemon zest and beat briefly just to mix.
  6. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until smooth and well-combined, scraping sides as needed.
  7. Add butter to the saucepan of milk mixture and heat till butter is melted (do not let it boil).
  8. With the mixer running, add the milk mixture into the batter gradually beating till just combined, scraping down as needed. The final batter will have a thin pour-able  consistency.
  9. Pour the batter into the bundt tin and bake for 40-45 minutes on the lower third rack of the oven until cake springs back when pressed. To ensure the cake is done, a skewer inserted near the center of the cake, should come out clean or with just a few crumbs of cake.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the wire rack for 10 minutes.
  11. Using a knife, gently release the cake from the sides and turn the cake out on a wire rack.
  12. Prepare the glaze: Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes until it begins to thicken. The glaze will still be quite runny and transparent.
  13. Pour some of the glaze over the slightly cooled cake. Reserve some to drizzle over individual pieces of cake when serving.

Bake Yourself A Merry Christmas

Preparation Time: 3 hours   |   Makes: one 8” tart or 5 small tartlets


1 g Salt
1 Egg, large
262 g Plain flour
113 g Icing sugar
60 g Ground almonds
140 g Butter, cubed and cold
1/4 t sp Vanilla extract


1 Egg yolk
20 g Milk


1 Orange, zested
500 g Cranberries, frozen
240 g Caster sugar
20 g Cornflour
20 g Water


1 Egg, large
85 g Butter, softened
85 g   Caster sugar
85 g Ground almonds

  1. For the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar, almonds, salt and cubed butter into a large mixing bowl. Use a food processor to pulse till the dough is like bread crumbs.
  2. Add vanilla extract and egg and pulse a few times on the food processor till the dough starts to clump together.
  3. Gather the pieces of dough in a large plastic bag or piece of cling wrap and roll the dough into a round disc. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  4. While the pastry is chilling, make the jam. Place all the ingredients except the cornflour and water into a medium-sized pot. When the cranberries start to bubble, mix in the cornflour and water. Once boiling, add the cornflour mixture to the cranberries. Stir constantly until thickened. Place completely.
  5. Make the frangipane filling by mixing all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
  6. Once the dough is chilled, place between two pieces of clear plastic sheets and roll out until about 3 to 4mm thick. You can lightly flour the plastic sheets. The dough should be large enough to accommodate the size of the tart pan plus 2” on all sides.
  7. Remove the plastic sheets and place the dough over the tart tin. Gently press the dough to the sides and base of the tart tin, making sure there are no air pockets. Again, work quickly so that the dough remains cool to the touch. Trim any excess away with the blunt edge of a knife. Save and chill excess for the lattice top.
  8. Spread the frangipane filling across the bottom of the tart. Chill tart crust in fridge for 30 minutes to let filling firm up.
  9. Pre-heat oven at 180˚C. Remove crust from fridge and spread the cooled cranberry jam over the frangipane.
  10. Combine scraps of dough and roll out as before. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to create a festive pattern, or cut into strips and weave them in a lattice structure to topthe tart.
  11. Brush the top of the tart with egg wash, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

Recipe by Darren Olsen from Inthebrickyard.

ABOUT THE KITCHEN SOCIETY (TKS): The Kitchen Society is a culinary studio housed in a heritage conservation house at 11 Kim Yam Road, offering boutique cooking lessons that cover cakes, breads, Asian kuehs and savory cooking, along with cake decoration and more. Classes are priced between $160 to $250 and happen every weekend and on special weekdays. TKS is also available as an exclusive venue for private events.

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