What to eat with sweet wines


Illustration by Eleanor Crow

Michelin-trained chef Stewart Turner shares one of his favourite recipes to enjoy with sweet wines: chestnut choux buns with clementine sauce. It’s perfect as a lighter alternative to the classic Christmas pudding.

Dessert wines might not be one of the most fashionable styles, but I can’t think of a better way to finish a meal than with a lusciously sweet nectar – it just rounds it off perfectly. When it comes to dessert at Christmas, it’s hard to look past the classic pudding or bûche de Noël. I’m a big fan of Christmas pudding, but always feel it’s a bit too heavy after a full-on Christmas lunch. In fact, I often save it for Boxing Day.

So, this is my go-to for a slightly lighter alternative Christmas Day pud. Although it may look complicated, all the elements can be prepared in advance – even the choux buns can be piped and frozen, then cooked when needed. It’s also worth remembering that sweet wines are the perfect match for blue cheese.

Chestnut choux buns with clementine sauce

75g butter
200ml water
100g strong plain flour or bread flour
3 eggs, beaten
Craquelin (see below for the recipe)

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the butter in a saucepan with the water. Heat gently until the butter melts, then bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat, add the flour and allow to cook for around 30 seconds, beating continuously until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating in each egg thoroughly before adding the next.

Remove the craquelin from the freezer. Let it stand for a few minutes, then cut out 8 x 5cm discs. Return to the freezer.

Pipe the choux buns into 5cm mounds onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Make sure you leave space for each bun to rise, then top each with a craquelin disc.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the buns are well-risen and golden. Crack open the oven door and leave for a further five minutes to allow the buns to set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.


75g butter, softened
75g demerara sugar
75g plain flour, all-purpose

Beat together all the ingredients to form a soft dough.

Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out until it’s 3 millimetres thick. Slide onto a tray and freeze.

The filling

200g chestnut puree
30g maple syrup
15ml The King’s Ginger
200g double cream
½ vanilla pod, split and seeds removed
250ml clementine juice and grated zest of clementine
100g icing sugar
50g butter
80g candied chestnut pieces (optional)

Place the clementine juice, zest and 70g of the icing sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer the mixture and reduce by half. Lower the heat and whisk in the butter, a little at a time, before setting aside at room temperature.

Place the chestnut puree in a bowl and beat in the maple syrup and The King’s Ginger. Whip the double cream to soft peaks with the remaining icing sugar and vanilla seeds.

When ready to serve, split the choux buns and spoon or pipe in the chestnut puree. Top with the candied chestnut pieces, finish with the whipped cream and place on the top half of the bun.

Spoon the clementine sauce into the centre of your plates and place the choux bun in the centre. Enjoy.

Explore our selection of fortified and sweet wines here.