James St Recipes: Niall McKenna’s succulent Christmas Day turkey, and crème caramel

James St Recipes: Niall McKenna’s succulent Christmas Day turkey, and crème caramel

James St Recipes: Niall McKenna’s succulent Christmas Day turkey, and crème caramel

THE star of the show at the dinner table in many households at Christmas is the traditional festive turkey.

Let’s face it, no–one wants to serve a dry, overcooked turkey on Christmas Day, so this week I am sharing my recipe and methods on how to prepare a succulent, perfectly cooked turkey that is sure to impress your guests.

The second recipe is a lovely alternative option for this year’s Christmas dessert. The crème caramel is very easy to bake and is a great dessert to finish off any meal, leaving room for all of the cheese and chocolate that is sure to follow.


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Classic turkey

(Serves 6)

4kg turkey

1 onion

2 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs of sage

1 bulb of garlic

8 rashers of bacon

Salt and pepper


Place the turkey in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Cut the onion and the garlic in half and place in the cavity of the turkey with the thyme and sage.

Place in oven at 200C for 15 minutes before reducing the heat to 180C. Lay bacon on top of the turkey and roast for two hours, basting with the juices occasionally.

Check that the turkey is cooked by placing a knife between the leg and breast. The juice should run clear, once cooked.

Remove from the oven, cover in tinfoil and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Cooking times for turkey:

Weight/Serves/Cooking time

4kg/6/15 minutes plus 2 hours

5kg/8/15 minutes plus 2 ½ hours

6kg/10/20 minutes plus 3 hours

7kg/12/20 minutes plus 3 ½ hours

8kg/14/30 minutes plus 4 hours


Crème caramel

Crème caramel

For the caramel:

140g of caster sugar

3 tablespoons of cold water

For the crème:

500ml of milk

3 eggs, plus 2 extra yolks

100g of caster sugar

2 drops of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier (optional)


For the caramel:

Place the sugar in a small non–stick pan, add water and place on a gentle heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once all of the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and allow to bubble. The mixture will become thicker and should start to turn golden. Do not stir.

Once golden, remove from the heat and place into the crème caramel ramekins (which should be pre–oiled). Place ramekins in a deep roasting tray.

Heat the oven to 160C.

To make the crème:

Place the milk in a pan and bring to a simmer. Place the eggs, the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Once combined, slowly add the milk using a whisk. Add in the vanilla, strain the mix and pour into ramekins to set with the caramel.

Place an inch of boiling water into a roasting tray, ensuring you do not spoil the caramel in the ramekins, and bake for 15 minutes in the oven until the custards are just set.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge overnight or up to four hours before serving. These can be made in advance.

To serve, run a knife around the top of the ramekin, place the dessert plate on top and turn over. Shake gently and the caramel and crème should slip away from mould.


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