A light alternative to the trad Christmas pudding. You could
also serve this at brunch with a nice sparkling rosé.
To serve:thick vanilla yoghurtAlmond shortbread300 gmsoftened butter110 gmpure icing sugar, plus extra for dustingScrapedseeds of 1 vanilla beanFinelygrated rind of ½ orange1egg yolk300 gm (2 cups)plain flour, sieved¾ tspbaking powder, sieved100 gmblanched almonds, finely choppedCherry syrup500 gmcherries140 gmcaster sugarWatermelon, cherry and rose salad75 gmcaster sugar1vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped1½ tsprosewater, or to taste500 gmcherries, halved and pitted¼small watermelon (about 1kg), coarsely chopped
For almond shortbread, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale, add vanilla, orange rind and yolk, beat to combine. Fold through flour, baking powder and almonds, then roll between two sheets of baking paper to 1cm thick and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes). Preheat oven to 160C. Cut 4.5cm-diameter rounds from pastry with a cutter (re-roll scraps and repeat) and place on two oven trays lined with baking paper. Bake, swapping trays halfway though cooking, until light golden (15-20 minutes). Cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Shortbread will keep (undusted) in an airtight container for a week. Makes about 34.
For cherry syrup, combine cherries, sugar and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until cherries are very tender (15 minutes). Pass through a fine sieve, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Cool, then refrigerate until required.
For watermelon, cherry and rose salad, bring sugar and vanilla to the boil with 70ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Set aside to cool, then add rosewater to taste. Combine cherries and watermelon in a bowl, drizzle with syrup to taste and serve with shortbread, yoghurt and cherry syrup.