A few days ago, lured by a recipe I saw on goop, I found myself at the stove stirring a tapioca pudding made with almond and coconut milks and a bit of maple syrup. Since the cancer diagnosis a year ago, I had to make some changes to my diet and eliminating refined sugars is one of them. It hasn’t been terribly hard and I am not obsessive about it – if I am invited to your birthday party, I will not refuse a slice of your cake – but, by and large, I don’t order desserts anymore if dining out, there are no cookies to be found at my house and I will just reward myself with something fabulous, mostly made by me, once a month or so.
There are days, though, when I have cravings, which is why I am always on the lookout for healthier options. While agave and maple syrups, and coconut sugar are still sugars, they are a tiny bit better than the refined white stuff, so I was intrigued by this highly spiced pudding that I saw on goop. The result? Edible. But it won’t win any pastry awards any time soon.
More than the sugar itself, I miss baking as much as I used to. I still do it at work but I miss experimenting at home just for the hell of it. So, this Christmas, instead of the usual cookie bags that some acquaintances have come to expect, I will be giving desserts created for each and one of them. And I have begun hunting for the perfect Christmas dessert.
While my Christmas meal, modeled on my Italian Christmas lunches, does not change, alongside panettone and pandoro I always serve something special I have never made before. This year I am considering a layered crepe cake with chocolate mousse in between the layers but I haven’t quite decided it’s what I really want. So I am opening it up to you, dear readers: do you have a recipe you always make for Christmas? Or an unusual show stopper you make only for special occasions? Or just something which is very traditional in your corner of the world?
Feel free to send me links in the comments or email recipes at email@example.com. Whatever I make, I will take pictures of and post it. In the meantime, I will keep that tapioca pudding stocked in the fridge, to keep any of your mouth-watering suggestions at bay.