Homemade edible Christmas gifts
Learn how to impress your friends with James Tanner's homemade edible Christmas gifts! He's in the kitchen making us chutney and chocolate Christmas bark!
Homemade Christmas Chutney
Prep: 25 minutesCook: 1 hr 20 minutes
Makes 2 litres
1kg Bramley cooking apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces500g Braeburn apples, (or your favourite eating apples) peeled and chopped into large chunks500g brown sugar450g onion, diced50g fresh ginger, finely grated½ tsp ground cinnamon1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed250ml cider vinegarZest and juice 1 large orange1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed500g cranberries150g sultanas
Place the apples, sugar, onion, ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, sultanas, vinegar, and orange zest and juice into a large heavy-based saucepan set on a medium heat.
Heat gently and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 1 hour keeping the heat on low to medium, you do not want the ingredients to stick to the base of the pan. Cook until softened and the mixture has thickened so there is no watery juice on the top.
Add the cranberries and sultanas then cook for a further 20 minutes until just softened. Spoon the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal.
Store fully sealed in a cool, dark place. Store in the fridge after opening.
Festive chocolate bark
Prep: 30 minutesSet time: 4 hours
Use the quantity of chocolate of your choice:400g good quality chocolate, broken into piecesDark 60-80% cocoa solidsMilk 30-40% cocoa solidsWhite 25-33% cocoa solids
Take 380g of your chosen chocolate and place in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, do not let the water touch the base of the bowl, leave the chocolate to melt gently, remove from the heat and begin to temper the chocolate.
Commercially chocolate would be poured onto a marble slab to cool slightly and the spreading over the slab the method of tempering stops sugar crystals forming when it sets it also stops the chocolate from blooming where the chocolate sets with a dull colour and white patchy look.
A guide to temperatures to get your melted chocolate to before use is:
Dark 32ocMilk 30ocWhite 28oc
Tempering helps give your chocolate slab a nice gloss or shine also a nice snap when it comes to breaking it into pieces.
Fear not, I have an easy method for you to use at home to give a similar if not the same effect.
Once you have gently melted you 380g of chocolate carefully take the bowl off the heat, take the remaining 20g of broken chocolate pieces and stir into the melted mix, this method cools down the temperature of the chocolate close to the temperatures above. Or, use a thermometer to test the temperature of the chocolate.
To set take a small baking tray that has enough surface area for the chocolate to sit in, if you do a double mix then a larger tray is required and for a guide to thickness of the chocolate slab, not thicker than 2cm. Line the baking tray with non stick baking parchment.
To decorate, pick your favourite toppings. Here are some great examples:
Toasted nutsFudge pieces or caramels with a pinch of sea saltChocolate sprinklesMini marshmallow piecesPopping candyFreeze dried raspberry sprinklesZig zags of different coloured chocolatesCrumbled flaked bars
The choice is endless, but do not load it up to much!
For marbled effect:
Why not do two separate bowls of chocolates white/dark etc to create a marbled slab, pour dots of each into your tray and blend together using a palette knife and add a topping.
To set your slab leave in a cool dry place for at least four hours for the chocolate to set. Snap into pieces, or use a sharp knife dipped in hot water to slice into shards. Package in clear cellophane bags, boxes, jars, or greaseproof paper, tie with Christmas ribbon or string and give as a delicious gift made by yourself the secret chocolatier!