Simply, it was amazingly good – savoury, fruity, rich – the perfect festive meal, with the added bonus of not having to eat turkey until New Year!
I was, as so often of late, ill on Christmas Day, so instead of a suet crust I served the filling in a ring of mashed potato containing the same flavourings I would have put in the crust – Stilton, parsley, and a little onion powder, the latter quite definitely not turning the taste into cheese and onion!
I’m very happy, for a recipe I conjured up out of the air, that it worked exactly as anticipated, not requiring a single major change to the one I published, just a couple of minor tweaks – frozen butternut squash turns to mush when roasted – substitute fresh – and the sour cherries apparently contributed nothing but a little bitterness. Now that’s OK – for me it was a black time when the bitterness was bred out of Brussels sprouts – I like a touch of bitter, but others might not. If that’s you, go with sweet cherries from the same source.
Will I make it again? Absolutely. In fact, I’ll have to, as the recipe yielded 6 approximately one-pound (450g-ish), portions of filling which I consigned to my back-up freezer, the main one being full. Then, removing one to defrost it in the fridge, I failed to close the door properly, with the inevitable results.
The freezer ran flat-out for several days and nights before I noticed it, welding all the shelves in place with ice. The fillings might have survived that, but as I’ll have to defrost the thing to free the shelves, and they can’t be re-frozen, I’ll lose them. A shame, as a lot of work went into them and, as I said at the beginning, they really are very good.
It’s a mistake I won’t make again.
And for Phase 2, I hope to have sufficient spoons to be able to freeze them complete with their suet crusts. Or, for convenience, use ready-made short pastry.
Watch this space…