Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020 – including complimentary recipes

Come on in, join us at our transnational Christmas dinner table where we slowly bid the year 2020 farewell.

Starter of our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020
Our Christmas Dinner: Pâté en croûte with Portwine cubes, accompanied by a fruity white wine.

Driving Staying Home For Christmas

I spent at least half of the Christmasses of my adult life somewhere more or less far away. Sometimes by myself, sometimes in the company of my daughter. Sometimes I visited friends.

Christmas decoration in the shape of a suitcase that symbolizes the transnational dinner 2020.
Deprived from travelling, we’re having a transnational dinner at home.

I spent Christmasses far away in tropical places like Jamaica, Belize, Honduras, and Hawaii. But I also went on trips to France, Greece, or I hopped across the border to Austria.

But here we go again…whereby the term going makes me all sentimental since we are actually going nowhere. Europe is locked down – again

Christmas Tree and gifts we opened after Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020
Gifts under the Tree.

Although I’m a restless and avid globetrotter, I can also develop a very homely side. I’ve already proved this in my post on pickled and preserved Mediterranean delicacies that I’ve published earlier this year.

During these travel-restricted times, what’s better than bringing international favorites to the table? So come and join us at our table where we enjoyed a Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020.

And so you can share this Holiday Season with us, I added four dessert recipes at the end of this article.

Dinner on Christmas Eve

The Starter

As I mentioned above, I’ve spent Christmas in France – in total about eight times. I’ll never forget the first time I attended Christmas dinner at my friend’s home. I don’t know how his mom did it since she didn’t have any help and still served about twelve different courses.

Welcome! For the Apéritif, I was serving a Crémant with an edible hibiscus blossom.

There were starters and soup. There were oysters and there was ris de veau – which visitors to France tend to mistake for some fried rice or so. Nope, actually, it’s sweetbread from a calf.
Pardon – what is ‘sweetbread’?
Well, sweetbread is the fancy term for the animal’s thymus or pancreas. Sounds gross, tastes delicious, especially drowned in a creamy sauce.

So anyway, after the large family was stuffed to the brim – the immediate family was joined by about a dozen aunts’n’uncles – there was still so much left that we feasted on those delicacies for days.

Starter of Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020
Pâté en croûte in its mold. In the first picture, you can see it cut in slices and spiced up with some gelly cubes made of portwine.

To honor those wonderful Christmas memories from France, I decided on a classic Pâté en croûte as a starter.

Diced meat was mixed with lots of fresh herbs, eventually ground with a bit of bread, and finally wrapped in a buttery shortcrust.

The Soup

Our soup paid tribute to our North German home – namely the city of Hamburg. It’s a potato chowder with a generous dash of cream. This year, however, I added some of the veggies that I had purchased for the duck sauce of the following main course. Therefore, the soup was a bit zingier.

Soup of Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020
Mustard Soup

The smooth vegetable cream is finally seasoned with a generous share of grainy mustard and topped with stripes of smoked salmon and some fresh dill.

The Main Course

This year, our main course was a duck with a couple of complementing sides. I think this dish – in its local variations – could be eaten all over Europe and possibly even in the US and Canada.

The duck was brushed with orange juice – for the taste and for the color. Its main sidekick were dumplings made from a mix of potatoes, chopped Brussels sprouts, and bacon bits. I used this dough also for the duck’s filling.

Main Course Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020
Orange Duck, accompanied by a baked apple and a potatoe-brussels sprout dumpling and two kinds of cabbage – red and savoy.

A baked apple filled with a mix of marzipan, ginger, and rosemary added some spicy and a bit exotic zing.

The veggie sides were a fruity red cabbage with lots of delicious apple slices and a cream-braised savoy cabbage.

Fun sidenote: The other day, I’ve heard a funny explanation where the tradition of having duck or goose for Christmas comes from. Strictly speaking, Christmas eve is still within the fasting period. Since ducks and geese are swimming, they were declared fish and therefore allowed even during this time.
I don’t know if this story is true, but it’s funny just the same – and we truly enjoyed our once feathered ‘fish’.

The Desserts

It’s actually amazing that I’ve made even two desserts – given that I’m no dessert person.

Nevertheless, I love thick creams, and both desserts are made with Mascarpone – a tribute to my beloved Italy – and a generous blob of whipped cream.

I tried to make things a little bit lighter by adding fruits – but I’m afraid I failed.

Desser of Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020
Baked Apple Dessert.

For the baked apple dessert, I piled layers of apples stewed in home-made caramel, crumbs of speculoos, and that heavy cream in little jars. For serving, I sprinkled the treat with chopped burnt walnuts.

Gingerbread Trifle

The trifle is basically the same idea only that I used mixed frozen berries instead of apples, and the crumbs were made of chocolate-covered gingerbread that I first soaked in black currant liqueur I still have from my trip to Riga.

Breakfast on Christmas Day


I was amazed that the next morning, we were actually able to eat again. Well, to increase our appetite, I served freshly baked scones – enriched with a dash of marzipan and some aromatic orange peel.

Scones with all the fixings: A light, buttery spread and orange marmalade

As many other foods, to us, scones are not just a pastry but a culinary reminder of lovely stays in London where we enjoyed many cream teas over the years.

Raspberry Tart

Also, I had prepared a beautiful Tarte Linzer Torte-style – which is a traditional Austrian pastry. As I mentioned above, two years ago, we had spent Christmas at a friend’s home in Vienna – so with this Tarte, I paid tribute to one of my favorite cities in the world.

Raspberry Tart
Raspberry Tart

Below I leave the recipes to the last four sweet treats for you and hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Happy Holidays!


Since I’m sure that you had something terrific for Christmas dinner, too, I only supply you with the recipes for the sweets since these can be quickly prepared even over the next days. You’ll probably have most of the ingredients – or something you can replace them with – at home.

However, if you are interested in any of the above introduced recipes, don’t be shy! Just send me a message and I’ll send them right away.

Gingerbread Trifle

This Is What You Need…

…for four

  • gingerbread, plain or chocolate-covered, 200 grams
  • Mascarpone (or curd cheese), 200 grams
  • whipped cream, 250 grams
  • cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • liqueur, preferably blackcurrant, 2 soup spoons*
  • mixed berries, frozen
  • fruit juice, preferably blackcurrant
  • confectioner’s sugar, 100 grams
  • chocolate shavings
Ingredients for our Christmas Trifle
First step: Soak the gingerbread crumbs in black currant liqueur.

…And This Is How You Do It

  1. Crumble gingerbread and soak in liqueur and juice.

  2. Mix the Mascarpone with sugar and cinnamon.

  3. Whip the cream and fold gently into the curd.

  4. Fill a layer of curd into a glass container. Follow with a layer of gingerbread. Then, place a layer of berries on top.
    Repeat and then finish with a last layer of curd.

  5. Finally, sprinkle with grated chocolate and serve refrigerated.

*I’ve used a wonderful souvenir I brought with me from my trip to Riga. Obviously, this is a great way of incorporating travel souvenirs into my kitchen.

Baked Apple Dessert

This Is What You Need…

…for four

Ingredients for our Baked Apple Dessert
Speculoos in crumbs.
  • three big apples
  • one vanilla bean
  • butter, 35 grams
  • brown sugar, 100 grams
  • cinnamon, a pinch
  • Grand Manier (or apple juice), 2 soup spoons
  • Mascarpone (or curd cheese), 200 grams
  • whipped cream, 100 grams
  • speculoos (or other dry cookies), 70 grams
  • chopped burned walnuts or almonds
Whipped  Cream
Rich custard made from Mascarpone and whipped cream.

…And This Is How You Do It

  1. First, peel, core, and dice the apples.

  2. Then, halve the vanilla pod and scrape out.

  3. Put butter, 70 grams of sugar, half of the vanilla pulp, and cinnamon in a saucepan and let simmer briefly without stirring.

  4. As soon as the sugar is a little caramelized, add the apple pieces and liqueur or juice. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring well. The apple pieces should be soft but not completely overcooked.

  5. Now remove the apple pieces from the pot with a sieve scoop and place in a bowl.

  6. Simmer the caramel sauce for another 5 minutes until it thickens. Then add the pre-cooked apples again and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Mix the Mascarpone – or, hence, curd cheese – with the remaining sugar and vanilla pulp.

  8. Then whip the cream and fold gently into the curd.

  9. Crumble speculoos.

  10. Now fill a layer of apples into a glass container. Follow with a layer of crumbs. Finally, top it with a thick layer of curd.

  11. Decorate with some apple slices and some chopped burned walnuts and serve refrigerated.


Scones with a fine note of orange peel.

This Is What You Need…

…for eight to ten pieces

  • Marzipan, 70 grams
  • flour, 340 grams
  • sugar, 2 soup spoons
  • zest of an organic orange
  • baking soda, one soup spoon
  • salt, one pinch
  • butter, ice-cold, 115 grams
  • milk or liquid cream, 120 milliliters
  • eggs, two
  • cream, liquid, two soup spoons
Preparing the dough for Scones
To prepare the dough for scones takes a bit of patience – but it’s not complicated and absolutely worth it.

…And This Is How You Do It

  1. Grate the marzipan on a kitchen grater. This works best when it’s ice-cold.

  2. Mix flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter in pieces and the marzipan and knead into soft small crumbles.

  3. Whisk milk and eggs together and add to the flour mixture and knead everything well with floured hands to a smooth dough.

  4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin so that it is about 1.5 centimeters thick.

  5. Dip a large cookie cutter or a glass in flour, then carefully cut out disks.

  6. Then, knead the leftover dough together again and roll it out to cut further disks. Repeat until there is no dough left.

  7. Place the disks on a baking sheet and brush with the cream

  8. Bake for about 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven (about 200°C)

Raspberry Tart

This Is What You Need…

  • flour, 250 grams
  • brown sugar, 75 grams
  • sugar, 75 grams
  • baking soda, one teaspoon
  • ground almonds (or hazelnuts), 200 grams
  • salt, one pinch
  • cinnamon, one teaspoon
  • ground clove, one pinch
  • butter, ice-cold, 225 grams
  • egg
  • egg yolk
  • raspberry jam, 500 grams
Hearts of Dough
Bake your good wishes.

…And This Is How You Do It

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nuts, cinnamon, and clove.

  2. Add the very cold butter in cubes as well as the egg and egg yolk and quickly knead into a shortcrust.

  3. Shape the dough into a flat brick and place it in a covered bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour, however, preferably overnight.

  4. Roll out 1/3 of the dough so that it is about 0.5 centimeters thick.

  5. Cut out cookies in the shape of your choice – stars, trees, hearts – or a wild mix. I used a cookie stamp* to engrave the wish Feliz Navidad in mine. Place cookies on a plate and refrigerate.

  6. Line a baking pan of approximately 25 x 40 centimeters with baking paper. Ideally, the baking paper sticks out a bit on the sides. This way you can later heave the Tarte out of the mold more easily.

  7. Now roll out the remaining dough the size of your baking pan. Place into the mold. Press it up the edges with your hands. Refrigerate.

    It is crucial to keep the dough as chilled as possible during all steps.

  8. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C

  9. Take the baking pan out of the fridge and spread the jam evenly. This should be stirred nice and smooth. If it isn’t spreadable enough, you can briefly heat it up a little.

  10. Place the cut-out cookies on top in a decorative way of your choice.

  11. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until the top is light brown.

I hope you’ll like my recipes and enjoy preparing your Christmas treats. If you have questions, you know where to find me.

Also, don’t forget to let me know in the comment section below how it went!

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14 Replies to “Our Transnational Christmas Dinner 2020 – including complimentary recipes”

  1. We had a very quiet Christmas at home in 2020 without family or kids. There was a strict lockdown and we could not risk exposing ourselves or the family to any risk. I sure wish I had the tasty transnational Christmas dinner you had! I never think of having duck for Christmas dinner as I am a big turkey fan. But duck with a side of red cabbage brings back memories of holiday dinners from days long gone.

  2. I would love any pate, also my fave from France, as starters and scones with clotted cream, my fave from the UK, for breakfast. But our tradition is to have German stollen and Italian panettone.

    1. You are absolutely right about the Stollen and the Panettone – however, traditionally they contain candied orange and lemon peel and lots of raisins, hence, ingredients I strongly dislike 😉

  3. Delicious dishes, they look so tasty. You had a wonderful Christmas dinner. I would love to make Mustard Soup from your recipe, Orange Duck and Raspberry Tart.

  4. oh wow! I want to eat all of it right now. We have a long New Year’s holiday here with parties and everything, I will try your Christmas dishes for it

  5. Really nice! The photos in this blog post look so delicious. I especially like the baked apple desert and the raspberry cake.

  6. Wow that was a sumptuous spread of food. I love your spirit to keep the festive season alive. Loved the desserts, too yummy

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