Mary Berry shares foolproof festive recipes from her latest book

Mary Berry shares foolproof festive recipes from her latest book – including crayfish cocktails, an Asian-inspired side of salmon and a classic yule log

  • Mary Makes It Easy by Mary Berry is now on sale, her BBC show is on Thursdays
  • READ MORE: Mary Berry’s gorgeous Buckinghamshire mansion on the market

Buche de Noel

French for ‘yule log’, this bake has a cream and brandy filling. If you prefer, add sweetened chestnut purée to the brandy cream instead of the hazelnuts.

Serves 8-10

For the Roulade

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 180g (6oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 10g (¼oz) 40% cocoa powder, sifted, plus extra to dust
  • Icing sugar, to dust

For the Filling

  • 2tbsp brandy
  • 150ml (¼pt) pouring
  • double cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks
  • 55g (2oz) roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

For the Ganache

  • 300ml (½pt) pouring double cream, whipped
  • 360g (12oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease a 33 x 23cm (13 x 9in) Swiss roll tin and line with non-stick baking paper. 

To melt the chocolate, place the chocolate pieces for the roulade in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water until melted, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Allow to cool slightly until warm but still runny.

Whisk the egg whites in a large mixing bowl on high speed until stiff but not dry.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until light, thick and creamy. Add the melted chocolate and gently stir until blended. 

Stir two large spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, mix gently, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Finally, fold in the sifted cocoa.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and gently level the surface. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until risen and firm in the centre. 

Remove from the oven, leave in the tin (expect the roulade to dip and crack a little) and set aside until cold.

Meanwhile, make the ganache. Measure the cream into a pan and place over a medium heat until hot. 

Remove from the heat, add the chocolate pieces and stir until melted. Set aside to cool, then chill to become firm and stiff.

Put a large piece of baking paper onto a work surface and dust with cocoa powder. Tip the roulade tin upside down onto the paper. 

Remove the tin and paper, then brush the surface of the roulade with brandy.

Make a 2cm (¾in) mark along one long edge of the roulade using a knife (be careful not to cut through). Spread the whipped cream over the roulade, then scatter the hazelnuts over the cream. 

Using the paper, roll the roulade where it is scored to make a tight roll. Slice a quarter of the roulade at one end on an angle. 

Place the large piece of roulade on a serving plate and attach the quarter to look like a branch.

Spoon the ganache topping into a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe rows of ganache icing over the roulade to create a bark effect. 

Sprinkle with icing sugar and place a sprig of holly on top to serve.

Crayfish and Avocado Cocktail 

One of my favourite light lunches or first courses. Replace the crayfish with prawns or crab, if preferred, or if you can’t find crayfish. 

They are available in fishmongers and all good supermarkets at certain times of year.

Serves 4

  • 225g (8oz) cooked shelled crayfish tails
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, shredded
  • 4 thin slices of lemon, to garnish

Mary says: 

These can be assembled up to an hour ahead and kept chilled in the fridge. 

They are not suitable for freezing

For the Cocktail Sauce

  • 3tbsp crème fraîche
  • 4tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1tbsp hot horseradish sauce
  • A few drops of  Worcestershire sauce
  • A few drops of Tabasco
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 2tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2tbsp freshly chopped dill, plus 4 tiny sprigs, to garnish

Set aside 4 crayfish tails for decoration.

To make the cocktail sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Pat the crayfish tails dry using kitchen paper and add to the sauce.

Dice three-quarters of the avocado and thinly slice the remaining quarter. Add the diced avocado to the sauce and crayfish and mix well.

Divide the shredded lettuce between 4 glasses and spoon the crayfish mixture on top.

Arrange the reserved crayfish tails on the surface of each cocktail, alongside a few slices of avocado, a slice of lemon and a sprig of dill.

Side of Salmon with Hoisin Vegetables 

A side of salmon is so impressive for a party. This recipe has a few parts to it but is very easy and has wonderful East Asian flavours.

Serves 10

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1.25kg (2lb 12oz) side of salmon, skinned
  • 5cm (2in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 115g (4oz) mangetout
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half and deseeded
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 6 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 10 radishes, thinly sliced
  • A bunch of coriander, leaves finely chopped

For the Hoisin Dressing

  • 3tbsp sunflower oil
  • ½tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1tbsp pickled ginger from a jar, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1tbsp rice or white vinegar
  • 2tsp dark soy sauce
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 2tsp caster sugar

Mary says: 

The fish can be cooked up to 6 hours ahead on the day. 

Dressing and sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead. 

Do not freeze.

For the Sweet Chilli Sauce

  • 115g (4oz) mayonnaise
  • 2tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 3tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a large roasting tin with a piece of buttered foil.

Place the salmon in the middle of the foil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Scatter the sliced fresh root ginger and lemon all around, then fold over the foil and seal to make a parcel. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until just cooked. The fish should be opaque. Remove from the oven and leave to become cold, keeping the foil parcel sealed.

Thinly slice the mangetout, then blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Cut the cucumber halves into crescent-shaped slices.

Place the mangetout and cucumber in a large bowl with the other vegetables and half the coriander.

Mix the hoisin dressing ingredients together in a jug. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix to combine.

To make the sweet chilli sauce, mix the ingredients together in a small bowl with the remaining coriander.

Carefully transfer the salmon onto a serving platter, discarding the ginger and lemon slices. Arrange a neat line of vegetables along the centre of the fish. Serve the remaining vegetables in a bowl alongside with the sweet chilli sauce.

Strawberry and Cream Ripple Pavlova 

Meringues and pavlovas can seem a little daunting when you haven’t made them before, but follow a few foolproof rules and they’ll become a firm favourite.

Serves 6

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • 450g (1lb) strawberries
  • 300ml (½pt) pouring double cream
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk using an electric whisk on full speed until stiff but not dry. 

With the whisk still running on full speed, gradually add the caster sugar, 1tsp at a time, until shiny and glossy and the meringue holds its shape in peaks. Mix the cornflour and vinegar together in a small bowl, then stir into the meringue.

Mary Makes It Easy by Mary Berry, £28, published by BBC Books, is out now

Spoon the meringue on to the baking sheet and, using the back of a spoon, spread out to make a rough circle measuring about 23cm (9in). Hollow the meringue slightly in the centre and raise it around the sides. 

Bake for about 1 hour, until firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside for another hour. 

Remove and set aside.

For the filling, remove the stalks from half of the strawberries and cut the fruit into pieces. Whizz in a food processor until smooth. 

Halve most of the remaining strawberries, leaving a few with stalks on for the decoration.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then fold half the strawberry coulis in to give a rippled effect.

Spoon the strawberry cream into the centre of the pavlova. Scatter the remaining strawberries over the cream and drizzle the remaining coulis over the top and sides. 

Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

  • Mary Makes It Easy by Mary Berry, £28, published by BBC Books, is out now. To order a copy for £23.80 go to or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £25. Offer valid until 31/12/2023. Mary Makes It Easy continues this Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC2 and BBC iPlayer. 

Olly Smith – Our bubbly drinks expert 

Fruity – and so festive!

Morrisons Ruby Port (19%) £9.25

Serve this cold from the fridge in white wine glasses for a great-value, juicy berry boost with Mary’s Buche de Noel.

With its lovely luscious red fruit, this sweet fortified bargain is fabulously festive.

Cracking with crayfish! 

Roversi Pecorino 2022 (12%) £7.75, Asda

Move over, Chablis! For perfection with the Crayfish And Avocado Cocktail, just grab this mineral-pure Italian pecorino. 

It’s a bright and delicious white wine that dazzles as brightly as the star on top of the Christmas tree.

Salmon splendour 

Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2022 (13%) £12, Sainsbury’s

What a wine! Made by a famous winemaking family, this peachy pure gem is outstanding and well worth treating yourself to alongside the Side Of Salmon to ensure some splendour this Christmas.

Left to right – Morrisons Ruby Port (19%) £9.25, Roversi Pecorino 2022 (12%) £7.75, Asda, Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2022 (13%) £12, Sainsbury’s, and Aldi Specially Selected Sweet Clare Valley Riesling 2023 (11.5%, 37.5cl) £7.99

Uplifting with pavlova 

Aldi Specially Selected Sweet Clare Valley Riesling 2023 (11.5%, 37.5cl) £7.99

This classy dessert wine has a lime marmalade-like ping to it that’s uplifting with the Strawberry Pavlova.

Serve cold from the fridge in small glasses and savour its zesty sweetness.

Bold winter warmer

Chosen By Majestic Zinfandel 2020 (14.5%) From £8.99

Memorable as a blueberry ripened by the sun’s roaring core, this is red wine with real welly that’s a statement to serve alongside veggie dishes. 

It’s a bold bottle with huge flavour to warm you from winter’s chill.

Super sweet sticky treat! 

Tesco Finest Pedro Ximénez Sherry NV (15%, 37.5cl) £7.25

The sweetest, darkest sherry to serve chilled in small glasses – it tastes like liquid fruit cake turned up to 11! 

Super sweet, immensely sticky and outrageously indulgent. Treat yourself.

Best bubbles with canapes

Waitrose No. 1 Castillo Perelada Cava Brut 2021 (11.5%) £11.99, reduced to £8.99 until 1 January

Here are beautiful bubbles to pop with canapés thanks to a moreish balance of almond, lemon and peachy depth.

And you don’t have to spend big for this entertaining, box-office bubbly.

Left to right – Chosen By Majestic Zinfandel 2020 (14.5%) From £8.99, Tesco Finest Pedro Ximénez Sherry NV (15%, 37.5cl) £7.25, and Waitrose No. 1 Castillo Perelada Cava Brut 2021 (11.5%) £11.99, reduced to £8.99 until 1 January

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