Christmas horns of plenty with Vin Santo cream

Christmas tuilles filled with Vin Santo cream, berries and cherries.
Christmas tuilles filled with Vin Santo cream, berries and cherries. Photo: William Meppem

Your guests won't quite believe that you made these tuille cones yourself (and no one needs to know that it's easier than it looks), but wait until they taste the Vin Santo cream. In keeping with the season, it has more than a kick of alcohol, so for any children, fill the cones with ice-cream or Chantilly cream. The Vin Santo cream is also an excellent accompaniment for Christmas pudding, and makes a delicious ice-cream when frozen.

Ingredients

For the tuille cones

1 large egg

80g castor sugar

40g light brown sugar

60ml full-fat milk

30g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

80g plain flour, sifted

pinch salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the Vin Santo cream

6 egg yolks

100g castor sugar

180ml Vin Santo (or other dessert wine)

200g mascarpone

200g thickened cream

To serve

800g fresh cherries (stem on) and berries

icing sugar, for dusting

Method

1. For the cones, place the egg and sugars in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the milk and butter and whisk again, then add the flour, salt and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, then set aside while you prepare the trays for baking. Covered with cling film, the mixture will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge – just remember to remove an hour before using.

2. Preheat the oven to 190C (175C fan-forced). Line a large oven tray with baking paper and draw two circles 15cm in diameter with a dark pen. Reverse the paper, or if you have a clear silicone mat, place on top of the paper so that the circles are visible. (A non-stick silicone baking mat will help the delicate tuilles cook more evenly. If you only have baking paper, that's fine; just switch the oven to conventional heat, rather than fan-forced, to prevent the paper fluttering around inside and the biscuits becoming misshapen.) Drop 2 tablespoons of the batter in the centre of each circle. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, gently spread the mix, working from the centre out until it fills the circle in a smooth, even layer.

3. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the biscuits are light brown around the edges. Remove from oven and wait 30 seconds before using a knife or small metal spatula to lift the edge of the tuille. "Peel" the tuille off the paper or mat, then work quickly to fold it into a cone shape, pressing on the outside seam of the cone to seal (the tuille will be hot to begin with, but firms up very quickly). Gently place on a rack, then lift and fold the other baked tuille (if it has cooled and stiffened, return the tray to the oven for a minute to soften before folding as before). Bake and shape more cones with the remaining batter, remembering to allow the tray to cool in between batches.

4. For the Vin Santo cream, put about 3cm of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl, and place the bowl over the simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale. Add the Vin Santo about a third at a time, whisking continuously as you do. The mixture will slacken with each addition of liquid, but thicken again with heat and whisking. When all the Vin Santo has been added and the mixture is thick, pale and tripled in volume, remove from heat but continue to whisk, ideally over a larger bowl of ice, until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot to touch. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge to chill completely. At this point, the mixture will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

5. When ready to serve, add the mascarpone and cream to the Vin Santo mixture and whisk, either by hand or using a cake mixer, until soft peaks form.

6. Spoon the Vin Santo cream into each cone until about three quarters full, then place a few berries and cherries inside. Lay the cones on serving plates (don't worry if the filling spills out!) and scatter a few more cherries and berries around. Sieve icing sugar over the top and serve immediately.

Tip: The tuille cones can be made up to three days before they're needed – just keep them in an airtight container – but if the demands of the season are too much, use shop-bought waffle cones instead. The cream can also be partly made up to three days ahead of schedule and kept refrigerated.

If you like this recipe, try my hazlenut Frangelico truffles