Like it or not we now find ourselves in the run up to Christmas. In the bakery we are producing around 46,000 Christmas cakes this year! In fact we usually begin making our fruit cakes in July and pack them away for the flavours to mellow and mature. We start planning at the beginning of the year, so you could say it is Christmas for us all year round at Fiona Cairns Ltd! Surprising then that we still enjoy it but we do.
You can choose from have a wonderful range of our Christmas cakes, biscuits and fairy cakes online and of course our cakes and goodies are available from Waitrose, Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason and The Conran Shop too.
The recipe this month is so simple and a really good one to have up your sleeve. I make it all year round and even if you’re not really into baking it is perfect as it just sets in the fridge. The gold leaf only comes out at Christmas in our home and I have to say I usually cut it into little squares and apply little flecks of gold leaf (less generously than in the photo below!) Gold leaf is available in some supermarkets in the baking aisle or of course online.
Golden Chocolate Fridge Cake
Fruit and nut chocolate bars will never taste the same again after you try these! A cross between a delicious chocolate and a good biscuit, they can be served any time, but seem especially appropriate after dinner. The gold leaf adds luxury. I always make them at Christmas and they can be a very special gift, packed into a beautiful box. If you want to make nuggets, you will need silicone petit four tins.
5 Tips for success
- When melting chocolate do so over very gently simmering water with the bowl not touching the water.
- Always roast nuts – it will release the flavour.
- For younger palettes, use milk chocolate instead and use honeycomb or fudge pieces (or 80g chopped Crunchie bar) instead of sour cherries. Play around with nuts and dried fruits but keep to the quantities in the recipe.
- As instructed in the recipe, when cutting it up let it cool to room temperature first as it may crack.
- If you don’t want it to disappear quickly, as it invariably does in my kitchen, hide it away. It keeps for a good week in a sealed container in or out of the fridge.
Makes 36 squares (or 27 golden nuggets)
TO MAKE THE FRIDGE CAKE
100g unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the tin
80g shelled, unsalted pistachios (or hazelnuts or pine nuts)
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g 70% cocoa solids
Chocolate, broken into pieces
100g plain biscuits (or even unsweetened cornflakes)
80g dried sour cherries (or dried blueberries, cranberries, apricots or figs), finely chopped
TO GILD (OPTIONAL)
A few sheets of gold leaf, to taste (and to budget!)
2 small paint brushes
Lightly butter a 20cm square tin or Swiss roll tin and line it with cling film; this will make it easier to remove the tiffin later.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C/340°F/gas mark 3½. Scatter the nuts on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn, then remove and chop into chunks.
Find a bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. In the bowl, melt the butter, syrup and chocolate together. Place the biscuits in a large polythene bag, seal the top, then bash with a rolling pin until very finely crushed. Add the nuts, dried fruit and biscuits to the butter mixture and stir until all is very well blended.
Spoon into the prepared tin (or the silicone moulds, if you are making nuggets) and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. If you have used a tin, wait until the tiffin is set, then bring to room temperature to make it easier to cut (it might crack if too chilled). Cut into 3cm squares, wiping the knife with kitchen towel between slices.
The gold leaf needs to be applied very carefully in a room with no draughts. Take 1 square of tiffin or nugget at a time on to a work surface. Place the gold booklet close by and slide off 1 sheet, by gently holding the top 2 corners with the tips of the 2 paint brushes, using both hands. Static will cause the bristles to grip the sheet. Try not to breathe on or touch the gold before it is on the tiffin!
Loosely place the gold on a tiffin square, or wrap it around a nugget, then smooth it down with a paint brush. If it tears, it doesn’t matter, you can choose to patch it or leave it as it is with the chocolate showing through.
You can either lay the gold randomly over the squares, leaving many of them plain, or wrap each nugget completely in gold.
Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns. Published by Quadrille