Christmas Cheat Treats with the Central England Co-Operative

When invited by the Central England Co-operative to work with them again to bring you tips on how to make Christmas easy and stress free, then what better way to do this than via the dessert table? Using some bought ingredients, along with a just a little, easy, home made preparation, I’m bringing you not one, but four sweet cheat treats to make your Christmas entertaining a breeze!

I bought:

* frozen puff pastry and used some homemade mincemeat (you could buy a jar of mincemeat to make it even easier on yourself, but I had some already made).

* jelly and a bottle of Prosecco to make a grown up, fizzy wobbly treat.

* cappuccino swiss roll, dark and milk chocolate with a tub of double cream to create the most deliciously easy chocolate ganache covered Yule log.

* ready made Christmas pudding and some butter and icing sugar to make the perfect rum butter pudding.

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To make your Yule Log, firstly you need to make a ganache.  Simply take 200g dark chocolate and 100g milk chocolate and break/cut this into small pieces (the smaller the better as it’ll melt quicker).  Place this into a large bowl.  Pour 250ml double cream into a saucepan and heat very gently until hot, but not boiling, then pour this over the chocolate pieces.  Leave to sit for a couple of minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir until fully melted.  At this stage I added a couple of tablespoons of Amaretto to my melted chocolate and cream mixture as I’d bought a cappuccino swiss roll and was going to make a tiramisu inspired Yule Log, but you can leave the alcohol out of yours, if you like.  Leave your Ganache somewhere cool for about 30 minutes to start to set and firm up. Don’t allow this to set hard or it’ll be too difficult to work with and to cover your swiss roll. Gently and slowly pour a couple of caps full of amaretto over your Swiss roll, allowing it to soak into the sponge (again, omit the alcohol if you want to share this with the kids!)

When your ganache is cool, and has started to thicken, spread it thickly onto your swiss roll and roughly leave a ‘bark/knot’ pattern in the chocolate to represent a log.

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To make the grown up fizzy jelly. Following the packet instructions, break/cut up the jelly into small pieces (I use scissors and cut it into small pieces as they dissolve quicker).  Pour over up to 200ml boiling water and stir until the jelly has dissolved.  Carefully open the bottle of Prosecco and use this to make the jelly up to 500ml. Pour into serving dishes or glasses and leave somewhere to cool and set firm.

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For your mince pies, preheat your oven to 200°C onto a floured board, roll out your pastry evenly until it’s about the depth of a pound coin. Using a cutter that’s larger than your tart tin, cut 12 rounds of pastry and use these to line the tin indentations.  Place a generous teaspoon of your mincemeat into each of the pastry rounds.  Using the leftover pastry, cut stars or other shapes to top your mince pies.  Brush the tops of the pastry with beaten egg to glaze, being careful not to allow it to drip down between the pastry base and the tin as this will cause your mince pies to stick.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are golden and the pastry has puffed.  Remove to a wire rack to cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar to give them a festive dusting of ‘snow’.

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To go with my Christmas pudding, I’ve made a delicious rum butter.  This is one of the easiest things to make as it only takes three ingredients: unsalted butter, icing sugar and rum!  Allow your butter to reach room temperature as this will make it easier to mix. The rule of thumb here is to use twice as much icing sugar as butter, therefore for 250g butter, you’d need 500g icing sugar.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and the icing sugar together gently (adding the icing sugar in small amounts until combined, to avoid you, the house and entire neighbourhood being covered in a sweet, white dusting of sugar).  When fully combined, turn up the speed and whip it until it becomes light in texture.  Add a couple of capfuls of rum (or your preferred spirit), then beat again to incorporate it fully.  Taste and add more rum if you like.

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So, there you go; four tasty treats, all of which have a little cheat attached to make your dessert table one to be envied and for you to enjoy as you’ve had a little help to make each of them stress free.

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Wishing you a very Merry ‘stress free’ Christmas from the Central England Co-Operative, my family and myself.

Rosie

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I was provided with vouchers from the Central England Co-Operative to purchase ingredients to take part in this campaign.