The positive reaction that Victoria chef Eric Akis gets from the readers of his weekly column on building menus around special holidays was the incentive for his latest cookbook.
“Whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day, people want great-tasting recipes that are easy to follow,” says the author of Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations (Whitecap).
Akis suggests recipes in his menus for all kinds of celebrations. These include a Turkey Tourtiere for Christmas Eve dinner, Smoky Glazed Barbecued Ham for a Father’s Day feast or a Chinese New Year dinner buffet with Emerald and White Jade Soup.
Here is his recipe for a sweet festive treat that you can make for your family or to package up and give as a holiday gift.
White Chocolate Clusters
300 g (2/3 lb) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
250 ml (1 cup) dried cranberries
175 ml (3/4 cup) pecan halves
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a heatproof bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate. Remove from heat. Mix in cranberries and pecans. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls (15 ml+) of the mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until clusters are set.
Store in a tightly sealed container at cool room temperature. If stacking clusters, be sure to place a sheet of parchment paper between each layer.
Makes 20 clusters.
Eric’s Options: Instead of white chocolate, use dark or milk chocolate. Replace the pecans with roasted unsalted cashews.