Spectacular as it is in its flaming glory, the traditional Christmas pudding will not always be a popular option with all of your guests.
If you want a taste of the festive cheer without the customary heavy pudding, try one of our chocolate masterpieces.
Layered with tradition as well as chocolate, desserts such as Mary Berry's Velvet Chocolate Torte and Linda Collister's Mont Blanc Roulade are sure to provide the sweetest ending to a leisurely lunch.
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And they are bound to impress your guests with their fantastic appearance – lashings of decadent chocolate fudge or meringue as crisp and white as fresh snowfall – be warned though, they might mean you will have a full house next Christmas too.
Not that these four delights will get you in a flap – ingredients are easy to come by and these Christmas recipes are simple to follow – plus the end results beat any shop-bought dessert hands down.
If you are looking for a foolproof dessert for a hassle-free Christmas, who better to trust than the woman who got Britain back to baking in 2012 with Great British Bake-Off. Mary Berry, aka the Queen of Cakes, has shared her Velvet Chocolate Torte recipe. Ideal for big groups, it serves ten and despite being an easy recipe to follow, the outcome is deceptively professional.
Another force to be reckoned with in the booming world of baking, Linda Collister has given us her Mont Blanc Roulade. The recipe combines wonderfully festive sweetened chestnuts, rich chocolate cream and fluffy meringue – making it a truly impressive showpiece and the ultimate ending to your Christmas lunch.
This classic fudge cake is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And it will keep the busy cook happy too – it is a very simple recipe that requires only a little attention. Cocoa powder and golden syrup make for a heavenly combination and its moist sponge and luxurious fudge layers make feasting on this a real treat.
And for a festive nibble, this Chocolate Panettone recipe takes a while to put together but is worth the wait. Its delicate texture is the result of several risings over the course of a day. Time-consuming as it is, a good food mixer will do the hard work for you and you will be left with a delicious and versatile Panettone that is equally good as a late breakfast or afternoon tea.
Try our showstopping festive desserts:
Mary Berry's Velvet Chocolate Torte
Linda Collister's Mont Blanc Roulade
Tom Aikens' Chocolate Fudge Cake