Desserts for the festive season: 3 easy and delicious recipes

Whether you prefer more traditional or modern holiday dishes, sweet rum plums, citrus posset with licorice cream and fruity pavlova perfect any meal.

Festive desserts: Citrus posset in Iittala's Essence tumbler
Zesty citrus posset is a great choice to top off a festive meal. The Gear candleholder is by New Works, the Glacies vase by AYTM, the Conical candle and pink Rainbow plate by HAY, the Essence tumbler and red Teema plate by Iittala, and the Shorebird by Normann Copenhagen.

WINTER’S FESTIVE SEASON is already around the corner, so it’s good to have a few simple yet delicious dessert recipes ready. All three recipes are easy to make, as it would be a shame to withdraw from the festivities just to stand in front of the stove. The posset, meringue base for the pavlova and rum plums can all be prepared in advance and finished off just before serving. If you are cooking for a larger group, the recipes are easy to double.

Of these three recipes, the rum plums are the most traditional Christmas dessert. Instead of a Scandinavian-style mixed fruit soup, the prunes are cooked into a syrupy delicacy with rum and served hot with high-quality vanilla ice cream. Those with a more adventurous streak can serve the plums with Suomen Jäätelö’s ice cream flavored with spruce, milk or clementine, for example. When preparing the rum plums, it is important to cook the prunes, sugar and rum long enough to allow the alcohol to evaporate and the liquid to become syrupy. Otherwise, the result is just prunes in a strong rum shot.

Festive desserts: Rum plums and vanilla ice cream on Arabia's KoKo plate
The sweet rum plums are served with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. The small Teema plate is from Iittala, the ice cream scoop from De Buyer, the Cubik Tree ornament from Alessi, the green Everyday napkin from The Organic Company, the Savonia ice cream spoon from Hackman, and the deep KoKo plate from Arabia.

Posset is originally an English dessert made of cream, sugar and lemon juice. Lemon juice magically thickens the cream, and posset could, in fact, be compared with Italian panna cotta.

It’s easy to add an extra twist to the lemony pudding with other citrus fruit in season.

It’s easy to add an extra twist to the lemony pudding with other citrus fruit in season. Clementine adds a touch of sweetness, whereas grapefruit zest gives the dessert a floral taste. When you spot the first blood oranges in stores, you can give the lemon a boost with their deep-red juice.

Lemon and licorice create a refreshing and surprising taste combination, and whisking some raw-licorice powder into mascarpone is an easy way to prepare an accompaniment to the posset. Raw-licorice powder is available in the baking section of grocery stores as well as eco shops, for example.

Fruit on Iittala's Ultima Thule serving platter
A fruity pavlova is a refreshing ending to hearty festive meals. The Ultima Thule serving platter and glossy glass apples are made by Iittala.

Pavlova is a meringue cake named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. At first, pavlova may seem like an odd choice for a Christmas dessert, but for example in New Zealand and Australia, it is a traditional holiday delicacy. Come Christmas, many exotic fruits are at their best and add a touch of lightness and freshness to desserts ending hearty festive meals. So, take advantage of this opportunity and decorate the pavlova with passion fruit, mango and fresh pineapple, for example.

You can prepare the meringue base a few days in advance, as it won’t go bad as long as you store it in a dry place at room temperature. Whisk the cream and fill the base just before serving to prevent the meringue from getting soggy.

The festive dessert recipes:

Festive desserts: Citrus posset in Iittala's Essence tumbler
Licorice and lemon are a surprising but delicious combination.

Citrus posset with licorice cream

Ingredients for four servings:
100 ml citrus juice (2 lemons, 2–3 satsumas)
zest of 1 grapefruit, grated
400 ml cream
85 g sugar

Licorice cream:
200 ml mascarpone
1–3 tbsp licorice powder
30–60 g powdered sugar

Do as follows:
Pour the cream and sugar into a saucepan. Heat the mixture at low heat until the sugar has melted. Remove the saucepan from the stove and add the citrus juice and grated grapefruit zest into the mixture. Stir well. Pour the mixture into small tumblers and let cool in the refrigerator for 3–4 hours or overnight.

Prepare the mousse by whisking 30–60 g of powdered sugar and 1 tbsp of licorice powder into the mascarpone. Taste and add more sweetness or licorice powder, if you wish. Decorate the citrus possets by spooning licorice cream on top of them before serving. You can also decorate them with fresh berries, licorice powder, lemon zest or edible flowers.

Festive desserts: Rum plums and vanilla ice cream on Arabia's KoKo plate
Simmer prunes in rum and sugar to make a syrupy delicacy.

Rum plums

Ingredients for four servings:
200 g prunes
400 ml water
100 ml rum
85 g sugar
high-quality ice cream for serving

Do as follows:
Soak the prunes for a few hours in warm water. Pour all but 100 ml of the water from the saucepan and pour the rum and sugar on top of the prunes. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, allowing the liquid to simmer until syrupy. Let the mixture set for a moment and spoon the warm prunes and syrupy rum on top of cold vanilla ice cream. Serve right away.

Festive desserts: Christmas pavlova on Iittala's Ultima Thule serving platter
Fruit and crushed pistachios give the Christmas pavlova a colorful look.

Christmas pavlova

Ingredients for 6–8 servings:
4 egg whites
215 g sugar
2 tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract

200 ml double cream
150 g Greek yogurt
1–3 tbsp powdered sugar
2–3 passion fruit
fresh fruit for decorating (e.g., mango, banana, pineapple, pear)
crushed pistachios or other nuts

Do as follows:
Separate the yolks and whites of the room-temperature eggs. Make sure that no yolk gets mixed with the whites, as it prevents the meringue from foaming properly. Measure the sugar in advance and have all the ingredients ready. Preheat the oven to 120 °C.

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper and draw a circle on it with the aid of a round pan. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl using an electric mixer or food processor. Add the sugar and cornstarch to the foam one tablespoon at a time, constantly whisking. When the foam is glossy and stiff, whisk in the lemon juice. The meringue should have soft peaks, and it should stay in the bowl even when turned upside down.

Use a scraper to spread the meringue onto the baking sheet inside the drawn circle. If you wish, you can make the sides higher than the middle, as a nest-like base is easier to fill. Put the base in the oven and bake it for 2 hours. Once the base is baked, turn off the heat and let the meringue cool in the oven for a few hours. You can make the base 2–3 days before serving and store it in a dry place at room temperature. The base should be filled just before serving to prevent the meringue from getting soggy.

Prepare the filling by whipping the cream. Mix the yogurt carefully with the whipped cream and sweeten with powdered sugar to taste. Spread the cream on top of the meringue and decorate with fresh fruit and nuts. Serve immediately.

Set the table

Teema plate
Valerie Objects
Inner Circle espresso cup
Ultima Thule serving platter
Savonia ice cream spoons
Conical candles
Glacies vase
Rainbow plate
New Works
Gear candleholder
Collar espresso maker
The Organic Company
Everyday napkin
KoKo deep plate
Normann Copenhagen
Suvi Kesäläinen

Design Stories contributor Suvi Kesäläinen is a photographer, who loves to create dishes that are not only delicious but also fast and easy to make. She’s passionate about the best seasonal ingredients, local food and intriguing culinary trends.

See also:

New tableware at Finnish Design Shop >

Text and photos: Suvi Kesäläinen

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