A light alternative to the trad Christmas pudding. You could also serve this at brunch with a nice sparkling rosé.
- To serve: thick vanilla yoghurt
- 300 gm softened butter
- 110 gm pure icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- Finely grated rind of ½ orange
- 1 egg yolk
- 300 gm plain flour, sieved (2 cups)
- ¾ tsp baking powder, sieved
- 100 gm blanched almonds, finely chopped
- 500 gm cherries
- 140 gm caster sugar
Watermelon, cherry and rose salad
- 75 gm caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 1½ tsp rosewater, or to taste
- 500 gm cherries, halved and pitted
- ¼ small watermelon (about 1kg), coarsely chopped
- 1For 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.
- 2For 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.
- 3For 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.