It’s finally that time of the year. The time that brings forth celebrations with a myriad of decorations, a bit of treats, a dash of cheer, a bit of happiness, a hot mug full of hot chocolate, and much more, it’s time to welcome Christmas galore. So, let’s step into the enchanting world of festive flavors with our curated collection of must-try Christmas-inspired recipes.
Mehak Walia, in conversation with renowned and celebrated chefs Natasha Gandhi, Dhanashri Rathod, Mario Pradeep Raj, and Tushar Bhatia, discussed the celebration season and shared their favorite Christmas recipes.
As we approach the holiday season, embark on a culinary journey crafted by some of the most talented chefs. From the comforting warmth of cinnamon to the sweet symphony of plum cake and gingerbread, these recipes promise to transform your kitchen into a haven of joy and celebration. Are you ready? Let’s dive right in!
4 Must-Try Christmas Recipes Ft. Talented Chefs
Chef Natasha Gandhi
Chef Natasha Gandhi was among the top 5 finalists of MasterChef India season 6. She is now a successful chef, an entrepreneur, and a content creator. Forbes recently recognized her as one of the Top 100 digital stars in 2023. She is also the founder & owner of House of Millets. Natasha believes in following her passion and cooking with all your heart and love, as that’s the secret ingredient.
When asked about her views on Christmas cooking, she exclaimed, “Christmas is when the kitchen is filled with scents of cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, and everything is merry. Christmas is magical, from roast chicken to plum cakes to Swiss rolls and gingerbread cookies. Also, these recipes go perfectly with the winter season and are an absolute favorite!”
Her favorite Christmas recipe is her Special Rum Plum Cake.
Ingredients for Soaked Fruits:
- 500 grams Mix of dried fruits & nuts of choice
- 100 ml Rum
- 20 ml Brandy
- 50 ml Orange Juice
Ingredients for the Cake:
- 1/4 cup Almond flour
- 1/2 cup Brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup Jowar flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup Soaked fruits
- 1/4 cup Orange juice
- 1/2 cup Vegan Curd
- 1/4 cup Oil
- 1/2 Dark Jaggery
- 2 tbsp Date syrup
- 1 tbsp Rum
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Flax Egg (1 tbsp flaxseed with 2 tbsp water)
- Soak the dried fruit & nuts in the rum, brandy, and orange juice mixture for 2-3 weeks. If you don’t have enough time, soak them for a day, quickly boil them in orange juice, and then add the alcohol. We need to do this to ensure they are moist & hydrated & absorb the liquids and flavors.
- Prepare the flax egg in a bowl by mixing flax seed powder with water and keep aside. Add all the dry ingredients in another bowl- jowar flour, almond flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, soda, spices & jaggery powder.
- Add the wet ingredients in another bowl- curd, oil, rum, orange juice, date syrup & the soaked fruits. Combine the two & mix gently till incorporated. Bake this in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Let it cool down and enjoy.
Chef Dhanashri Rathod
Dhanashri Rathod is a 23-year-old maestro in the world of pastry. As a seasoned Professional Pastry Chef, she crafts delectable confections and imparts her expertise as a tutor and the proud owner of The Cook O’ Clock Baking Studio & Academy. With a delightful journey spanning seven years, she has woven a love affair with baking, using it not just as a means of self-expression but also as a medium to inspire and educate others in the enchanting realm of culinary creation.
Dhanashri strongly believes that “Christmas baking is more than a festive tradition; it’s a heartfelt celebration of joy, warmth, and togetherness. The aroma of cinnamon, the sweetness of plum cake and gingerbread, and the artistry of decorating treats become a tangible expression of the holiday spirit. Christmas baking isn’t just about crafting delicious confections; it’s a way to weave cherished memories and share the love and magic of the season through every carefully prepared treat. It’s a time when the kitchen becomes a portal to create not just desserts but moments that linger in the hearts of loved ones, making the holiday season truly special.” Her favorite Christmas recipe is her Gingerbread Cheesecake
Ingredients for the Cheesecake Crust:
- 200 grams Digestive cookie crumb
- 48 grams of brown sugar
- 90 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Ingredients for the Cheesecake Mixture:
- 155 grams of white baking chocolate
- 130 grams of cream cheese, softened
- 70 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 45 grams hung curd
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/16 teaspoon sea salt
- Make the cheesecake base and set it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Mix the batter ingredients, then pour the batter into the base and refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before decorating and serving!
Chef Mario Pradeep Raj
Mario Pradeep Raj is a well-known and celebrated chef, founder, and chief consultant for Agape Hospitality. He is also a prominent lecturer and a member of the Board of Educators at MS Ramaiah University, Bangalore. He has been cooking since he was 15, and his passion for the same has brought him so far in life. His dishes include modern and exciting twists on traditional Indian food.
When asked about Christmas cooking, he exclaimed, “Christmas to me is all about family and comfort food, winding down with the year, cherishing memories made, and enjoying each other’s company surrounded by lip-smacking food. My favorite recipe is passed down to me by my mother, one worthy of occupying the centerpiece at a Christmas dinner table.”
His favorite Christmas dish is Honey Glazed Pork Chops.
Ingredients for the Pork Chops:
- 4 pork chops (skinned)
- 1/4 cup honey
- Zest and juice of one orange
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 whole bulb of garlic cut in half
- Salt to taste
Ingredients for the Roasted Vegetables:
- Baby potatoes, halved
- Shallots, peeled and halved
- French beans, trimmed and halved
- Bell peppers, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Marinate the Pork Chops:
Mix the honey, orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, dried thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Place the pork chops in a resealable bag and pour half of the marinade over them. Seal the bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight – the longer, the better.
- Sear the Pork Chops:
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Heat a skillet over high heat. Add butter and a whole bulb of garlic cut in half. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and sear them in the skillet for 3 minutes per side or until golden and cooked halfway through. Brush the chops with the remaining marinade as required. Set aside.
- Prepare the Vegetables:
Toss the baby potatoes, shallots, French beans, and bell peppers with olive oil, butter, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper in a roasting pan or tray. Add in the remainder of the marinade, followed by the pork chops that have been rested. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized.
- Serve and Enjoy:
Arrange the honey-glazed pork chops on a festive platter alongside the roasted Mediterranean vegetables. Garnish with fresh herbs and citrus slices for a burst of color. This Christmas-themed dish captures the season’s essence, bringing together the sweet and savory flavors that make this time special.
Chef Tushar Bhatia
Chef Tushar Bhatia, a culinary virtuoso, commands a distinguished role at Hotel Panorama, Prelog in Croatia, where his gastronomic prowess transforms meals into masterpieces. With an unwavering dedication to hospitality, Chef Bhatia boasts a rich, five-year journey navigating various hotels, restaurants, and cafes, each a distinct canvas for his culinary artistry. As a luminary in the culinary realm, Chef Tushar Bhatia continues to elevate the culinary landscape, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fine dining.
When asked about Christmas cooking, he replied, “Christmas cooking is all about spending time with your loved ones. It’s a family festival where everyone gathers together, and beautiful dishes are perfectly cooked at home. It’s a festival full of love, and I realized this when I went to my friend’s place last year. There, the food, which his mother and grandmother cooked, was part of the celebration. Such traditions are passed on from generation to generation, and it’s amazing to see that.”
His favorite Christmas dish is his Timeless Chocolate Brownie.
Ingredients for the Chocolate Brownie:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tsp vanilla essence
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 200 gm Dark chocolate, melted
Ingredients for the Chocolate Ganache:
- Heavy cooking cream 200 gm
- Butter 100gm
- Dark chocolate 100 gm
- Add sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and whisk it until it dissolves. Then, add eggs one at a time and mix them a bit; do not over-mix.
- Then, mix the remaining ingredients in the same bowl using a spatula. Lastly, add the melted chocolate and mix well.
- Then, grease the baking tray with some butter and put butter paper on it. Following this, pour the mixture into it and make sure the sides are properly covered. You can also add some walnuts to the mixture. Put it inside the oven (to 175 C) for 20-30 min. Take it out and check if it’s done with a toothpick.
- Then, prepare the ganache by adding heavy cream to the pan with butter and dark chocolate and let it cook in low heat. After the brownies have rested for 10-20 minutes, spread this ganache evenly over the brownies. Cut them into squares and serve them with chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
In the heart of Christmas baking lies more than just a delightful tradition; it’s a celebration of togetherness, joy, and the magical spirit of the season. As you experiment with these delectable recipes, may the aroma of festive spices and the artistry of dessert decoration fill your home with the essence of the holidays! Wishing you a season filled with the love and magic that only Christmas can bring.