My Favorite Christmas Recipe: Cooking with Chef Darren

04 December, 2020

My Favorite Christmas Recipe: Cooking with Chef Darren

Chef Darren Burke shares his favorite vegan Christmas apéro recipe and why he loves it. 


By Swiss Education Group




Originally from the UK, Chef Darren Burke trained in Italian gastronomy and went on to become Head Pastry Chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the north of England. He has worked for Sir Richard Branson in Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco, and in Verbier, Switzerland. He was most recently the Chef Owner of Restaurant Le Bois Sauvage, focused on sustainable dining and local produce. He currently works as a chef instructor at Culinary Arts Academy.

Vegan Chestnut Velouté and Porcini Doughnuts

I really like this recipe because it’s a plant-based adaptation of a recipe from the restaurant Terre à Terre in Brighton. It reminds me of the UK and I love the warm winter flavours.  It has an interesting approach of taking something we would normally associate with sweet and putting a savoury spin on it.

CATEGORY: Main Course



Porcini Mushroom

  • Flour 250 g 
  • Yeast 6 g 
  • Water 125 g 
  • Thyme Leaves 3 g 
  • Olive Oil 30 g 
  • Caster Sugar 10 g 
  • Flax Seeds 1 tbsp 
  • Water 2 tbsp 
  • Nutritional Yeast 10 g 
  • Porcini Mushrooms 20 g


Chestnut Velouté 

  • Chestnuts (cooked) 150 g 
  • Almond/Oat Milk 300 ml 
  • Cinnamon ½ tsp 
  • Nutmeg ½ tsp 
  • Cumin ½ tsp 
  • Salt 



Porcini Mushroom Methods

  • First to prepare the mushrooms, blend the porcini/dried bolet mushrooms and nutritional yeast to a fine powder. You can sieve the resulting powder to be sure there are no large pieces left.
  • We will now use a vegan alternative for an egg, using 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds and 2 tbsp of water.  Mix this together and let it swell.
  • Dissolve the yeast in the water and let this begin to foam.
  • In a mixing bowl with the dough hook, add the ‘flax seed egg’, flour, butter, thyme leaves, sugar, and finally the yeast mixture.
  • Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, the dough should be soft not sticky.
  • Form 30 balls and place on a baking tray covered with a plastic container and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
  • Use a container rather than a damp towel as the doughnuts can stick easily.
  • Heat the fryer to 180C and cook regularly turning until golden brown.
  • Drain on some paper towel and then dust generously with the mushroom powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Serve immediately as they are best when they are warm.


Chestnut Velouté Method

  • If using precooked chestnuts, open the packed and then roughly break them up with a knife or by hand.
  • Place in a saucepan and then cover with the plant-based milk of your choice, oat milk is a personal preference.
  • Add the spices and a good pinch of salt then gently cook the chestnuts and milk for around 20 minutes on a low temperature.
  • Be careful to stir regularly as the chestnuts can catch on the bottom easily.
  • Leave the mixture to slightly slightly and then transfer to a blender, carefully blend this to a smooth consistency, the starch in the chestnuts may thicken this more than desired in which case, add more milk.
  • The velouté should be a nice thick consistency, but thin enough to drink from a coffee cup.
  • Take a small amount of oat milk and froth with a coffee machine or hand whisk for a cappuccino effect.
  • Grate fresh nutmeg, season, and enjoy!


By Swiss Education Group

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