The 12 Days of Desserts at Humber Heights

From December 12th – 23rd we will be serving a special Christmas dessert every evening with dinner. As were not able to host our annual diversity lunches this year, we hope this will help broaden all of our outlooks on what Christmas looks like to other people from around the world. 

Check back to this page each day to see what is being served and check out the recipe.  

For information about the Village of Humber Heights, please call the Directors of Lifestyle Options, Carmen and Karen, at 416-235-0201 ext. 6858. 

December 22 - Trifle 


  • 6 ounces/160 g sponge cake (or Pound cake; halved and cut into thick slices)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet sherry
  • 10 ounces/300 g fresh strawberries (or raspberries; if frozen, defrosted)
  • 2 cups/500 mL thick homemade custard (or canned)
  • 2 cups/500 mL whipped cream
  • Garnish: sliced strawberries or whole raspberries


  1. Line the bottom of the trifle bowl or glasses with the cake slices.
  2. If using fresh strawberries, slice and layer (reserve a few for decoration), if using previously frozen, leave whole. Lay the fruit evenly over the cake. Press down lightly with a fork to release the juices.
  3. spoon a thick layer of custard on top.
  4. Finish with a thick layer of whipped cream either spooned over
  5. Decorate with strawberry slices or raspberries and toasted flaked almonds, optional



December 22 - Apricot Tart


  • Cake:
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks (retain egg whites for top)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Half tsp salt


  • Additional flour
  • ~1 cup jam (Apricot is traditional)


  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Mix in egg, egg yolks, vanilla, sour cream (or yogurt).
  3. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt.
  4. The batter will be thicker than usual cake batter. Spread it into a greased pan (I used a 9 inch square glass dish) and top with about a cup of jam. Apricot is traditional, but any kind of jam will work.
  5. Bake for around 50 min, or until the top is golden and a knife comes out clean. 
  6. Can be served with whipped cream and fresh fruit

December 21 - Puff Puff


For about 25 balls of Puff Puff, the size in the photo above, you will need:

  • 2 cups (250g) of Plain Flour
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast (the one used in baking bread)
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (or to your taste)
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • Lukewarm water (for mixing)
  • Vegetable Oil (for frying)


Before you make the Puff Puff

If your yeast is the type that looks like tiny pebbles or is like paste, mix it with lukewarm water and set aside. you will add it later when you have added water to the Puff Puff mix. If your yeast is in powder form, then add it when you add the other dry ingredients to the flour (as mentioned below).


  1. Put the flour in a bowl, add the ground nutmeg, powdered yeast, sugar and salt. Mix all these together.
  2. Add water in small quantities and mix everything by hand till you have a good blend of all the ingredients. Add the yeast you mixed with lukewarm water if applicable. Use warm water to mix the puff puff ingredients if you want it to rise faster.
  3. Keep mixing till the batter is smooth but not too watery to flow from a spoon. The mix should be much thicker than pancake batter (see video below).
  4. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and make sure it is airtight by pressing the edges of the bowl (see video).
  5. Leave to rise for about 45 minutes. When OK to fry, the Puff Puff batter should have risen in quantity and will have some air bubbles.
  6. Pour some oil in a deep pot and allow to heat up. It's not advisable to use a deep fryer for Puff Puff because of the netting but if you want to use it, set the temperature to 170°C.The oil should be at least 3 inches deep. This is so that the puff puff will become spherical when scooped into the oil. 
  7. Test that the oil is hot enough by putting a drop of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and comes up to the surface of the oil, then the oil is hot enough. If the oil is not hot enough, the batter will go down to the bottom of the oil and stay there.
  8. When the oil is hot enough, scoop some batter into the oil with your hand by pressing the batter to come out from between your thumb and index finger. You should see the video for this technique as this is what will make your Puff Puff have a near-perfect spherical shape.
  9. Put in more scoops of the batter, as much as the space in the frying pot will allow without overcrowding.
  10. Once the underside of the puff puff has turned golden brown, flip the ball so that the topside will be fried as well.
  11. When both sides are golden brown, take out the puff puff balls and place in a sieve. If you want to reduce the oil on your Puff Puff as much as possible, then line your sieve with paper towels. The paper towels help soak away the excess oil on the puff puff.


December 20 - Cassava Cake


  1. For the cake:
    • 4 egg yolks, beaten
    • One 1-lb (500 g) package frozen grated cassava, thawed
    • 1 cup (250 g) jarred macapuno coconut strings, or sweetened shredded coconut
    • 1½ cups (375 ml) canned unsweetened coconut milk
    • ½ cup (125 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  2. For the topping:
    • 4 egg whites
    • ¼ cup (65 ml) sweetened condensed milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the cake, combine the egg yolks, cassava, macapuno (or shredded coconut, if using), coconut milk and the ½ cup sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl and mix well
  3. Pour the cake batter into a greased 8 x 8-in (20 x 20-cm) cake pan. The cake batter will appear to be very loose and wet at this point, but don’t worry, the cassava will absorb most of the liquid during baking.
  4. Place the cake pan into the oven and bake until the top of the cake appears dry and no liquid is floating on the surface, 45–60 minutes.


December 19 - Black/Fruit Cake



  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon essence
  • 2 tsp lime rind (zested)
  • 2 tsp almond essence
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg


  • 1 lb pitted prunes
  • 1 lb raisins
  • 1 lb currants
  • 2 bottles non-alcoholic red wine


  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling hot water


One day before:

Chop all the fruits and place in a large bowl. Pour non-alcoholic wine to cover fruits and leave in a  cool corner. One day should be good as long as the fruits soak up the wine.

Baking day – Blend Fruits:

Pour the soaked fruit and remaining juices into a blender and blend until thick and chunky or to desired consistency .

Prepare The Browning:

Burn the sugar until it has caramelized and add hot water gradually. Let this mixture cool.


1. Preheat oven to 275F 
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in
4. Add lemon zest, almond essence and vanilla
5. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg.
6. Gradually add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture
7. Mix in fruit base and ‘browning’ prepared earlier
8. Pour batter into greased baking dishes
9. Bake for 3 hours
10. Once removed from the oven let cool

December 18 - Apple Cake


  • 4 eggs
  • 200g of sugar
  • 300g of white flower
  • 4 apples
  • 50g of butter
  • 100 ml of milk



  1. Grease a baking pan with butter and sprinkle it with sugar.
  2. Pell and core the apples and slice them not to tick and put a layer o to cover the bottom of the pan.                                                                        
  3. The rest of the apples will go together with the cake mix.
  4. Mix eggs with sugar, add the butter softened, mix it again and add the milk after, the last add flour and the rest of the apples.
  5. Pore the mix in to the pan and goes to the oven at 350 degrees for about 45/50mn or until you insert a toothpick and comes dry.
  6. Optional:
  7. If you like cinnamon you can sprinkle the cake with it after comes out of the pan .
  8. Let cooldown and serve


December 17 - Dresil (Tibetan Sweet Rice)


  • 2 cups rice (Before cooking. We used basmati, but almost any rice is okay.)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts (We use unsalted.)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sugar (if desired)
  • Any other nuts or dried fruits, as desired


  • Cook the rice. For the rice, for 2 cups of basmati, you should use 3.5 cups of water, not 4 as it originally says in the video.
  • Mix together all the ingredients
  • Serve in small bowls and enjoy with sweet tea or po cha — butter tea.

December 16 - Nonna’s Snowflakes (AKA Pizzelle!)


Must have a Pizzelle Press – a thin waffle maker

  • 6 eggs
  • 12 ounces of sugar
  • 8 ounces oil
  • 2 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of anise extract
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 3 cups of flour


  1. Beat the eggs.
  2. Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add more flour if required to create thick pudding-like consistency.
  3. Place one teaspoon for each pizzelle in the hot press. Press until green light flashes or until golden.

December 15 - Nalysnyky



  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 g (1/2 lb) flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 125 ml warm water
  • dairy butter (for greasing)


  • 200 g (7 oz) cottage cheese
  • sugar  - to taste


  • Powdered sugar
  • Fresh Fruit or fruit puree


  1. Whisk the egg with sugar until fluffy.
  2. Pour in milk and stir in flour.
  3. Whip until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Add vegetable oil and stir everything thoroughly. You should get a smooth batter with no lumps.
  5. Cover the batter with a napkin and leave it under room temperature for 2 hours to let gluten in flour swell. This helps prevent pancakes from tearing, which is especially good when you need to fry super thin pancakes.
  6. Pour in warm water, stir the batter again.
  7. Grease the frying pan with vegetable oil and preheat it. Pour some batter in the pan (the amount of batter depends on the diameter of your frying pan). Swirl the pan to make the batter spread evenly and to create a thin circular layer. Cook the pancake over medium heat, around 1 minute. Then turn it over with a spatula and fry for around 30-40 seconds on the other side, until golden. Fry crepes until all batter is used up. Oil the pan in between frying as needed.


Second step – Make the Filling

Mix the ingredients until smooth the cheese and sugar until smooth

Third Step – Fill and roll the pancakes

Spread the filling on to each pancake, tucking in each side to prevent the filling from falling out and roll into a log.

Top cooked cottage cheese pancakes with powdered sugar. Serve nalysnyky warm with a generous dollop of sour cream and fruit or a fruit puree.  

December 14 - Ladoos 


  • Besan / gram flour
  • Ghee
  • Powdered sugar
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground Cardamom
  • Saffron (optional)
  • Almonds or Pistachios (optional)


  1. Add ghee and besan to a medium sized heavy bottomed pan. Keeping the heat low, slow roast the besan flour, while stirring constantly with a spatula. Continue to stir evenly and break the lumps that will form initially
  2.  After about 10 minutes, the flour will start to loosen up and become light and fluffy. Continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the flour turns light golden brown. At this stage the ghee will start to separate, filling the kitchen with a delightful aroma
  3.  Turn the heat off and take out the mixture into a bowl. This will avoid the besan from being overcooked. Allow it to cool for about 15 minutes or until it is luke warm to touch. Add saffron, cardamom, nutmeg and pistachios
  4.  Add powdered sugar and mix well. Next, massage the mixture with the palm of your hands, and as you do so the ghee starts to release, allowing the mixture to bind together. Take 2 to 3 tablespoons of mix at a time and start pressing and shaping to form round balls

December 13 - Pavlova 


  • Meringue nests  
  • Whipped cream 
  • Lemon fruit curd topping, you can chooose any toppings you'd like!


1. Arrange the meringue nests on a big platter (I like Presidents Choice but any fine bakery will do)

2. Then use any of these ideas alone or in combination with each other!

3. Serve pre-built or even allow your guests to build their own – the kids will love it!

December 12 - Yule Log 



  • 3/4 cup (98g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (38g) Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 3/4 cup (155g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp (72g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cups (86g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (226g) mascarpone cheese, softened but still chilled*


  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Sugared cranberries, optional*
  • Sugared rosemary, optional*


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 17×12 inch jelly roll sheet pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper sticks up at least an inch above the sides of the pan on all sides. You’ll use the parchment paper later to lift the cake out of the pan and roll it up.
2. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together until well combined.
4. Add the sour cream, melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk together until well combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients and gently whisk together until well combined, then set aside.
6. Add the egg whites to a large mixer bowl and whip of high speed until stiff peaks form.
7. Gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen up the batter.
8. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold together until well combined.
9. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when toughed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
10. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper and place it on the counter.
11. While the cake is hot, use the parchment paper the cake was baked in and start at the shorter end of the cake to slowly roll the cake up. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
12. When the cake has cooled and is ready to be filled, make the filling. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
13. Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly.
14. Unroll the cake roll very carefully, looking out for areas where it may be sticking to release it. You can use an offset spatula or something similar and run it along the parchment paper as you unroll the cake to help release it as it unrolls.
15. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up without the parchment paper.
16. Wrap it up in plastic wrap with the seam side down and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.
17. When you’re read to decorate the cake, make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate to a medium sized bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in the microwave just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate.
18. Allow the chocolate and cream to sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool to about room temperature, then transfer to a large mixer bowl.
19. Whip on high speed until lightened in color and thick enough to spread.
20. To decorate the cake, use a large serrated knife to gently cut off a piece of the log about 3 inches in length. Make the cut with a slight diagonal.
21. Use some of the chocolate ganache to attach the small log to the side of the larger log.
22. Spread the remaining chocolate ganache all over the cake, then use a fork to create bark-like lines all over it. You may also cover with chocolate shavings. Decorate with sugared cranberries and rosemary , if desired.
23. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.