Recipe: Nigella's Christmas puddini bonbons
I know there aren't many sweet things in this chapter -- strictly speaking only two -- but that is mainly because, as I suggested in the introduction, there are lots of sweet treats, just waiting to be wrapped and beribboned. And the truth is, apart from baking, making sweets is a lot harder than making savoury edible presents. These bonbons, however, are almost alarmingly easy. I was inspired by a picture I saw in The Australian Women's Weekly, fell in love with their cuteness and had to have a go myself. This isn't quite their recipe, but the idea -- and the decoration -- is the same, which is to say, these are delectable little truffley bonbons made by mixing up cold Christmas pudding, liquor, syrup and melted chocolate, rolling them into small balls, then melting white chocolate over them and arranging small pieces of red and green glacé cherries on top to make them look like miniature Christmas puddings themselves.
I made this just after last Christmas, using some leftover pudding, foilwrapped and waiting to be gratifyingly recycled (though you could buy a mini one, microwave it and leave it to get cold) and adding a slug of my beloved Pedro Ximenez -- since that was the alcohol I'd originally put into the pudding -- and an ooze of golden syrup before compacting it with melted dark chocolate, but you could just as easily add rum or brandy and, as the original recipe also does, 40g icing sugar.
The hard part -- in the sense that you need superhuman patience, rather than any special skills -- is dripping over the melted white chocolate and snipping the cherries and arranging them to evoke a sprig of berried holly. I am not really cut out for this work, and you will curse my name as you do it, but, afterwards, you will be thrilled with what you've done.
And, although they look like baby Christmas puddings, they taste like meltingly rich, spiced chocolate truffles. These babies have got everything going for them.
- 125g best-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 350g leftover, or freshly cooked and cooled, Christmas pudding
- 60ml sherry
- 2 x 15ml tablespoons golden syrup
- 100g white chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 red glacé cherries
- 6 green glacé cherries, or 6 short lengths angelica
1 Line a baking sheet (that will fit in the fridge) with clingfilm, baking parchment, foil or Bake-O-Glide, and set it to one side while you make the bonbons.
2 Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended above a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
3 Crumble the cold Christmas pudding into a bowl, add the sherry and golden syrup and stir briskly till all is incorporated.
4 Pour in the melted dark chocolate and stir again: this will make the mixture much more cohesive.
5 To make this step easier, put on a pair of those disposable vinyl gloves sold in hardware stores and supermarkets, pinch out small lumps of mixture and roll so that you have little rounds about the size of a chocolate truffle. You should get about 30 out of this mixture; fight the impatient urge to make these balls larger as you go.
6 Cover with clingfilm and slot into the fridge to firm up.
7 To decorate, melt the white chocolate either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave according to the manufacturer's guidelines, then let it cool for about 5 minutes, to make it easier to work with, while you chop the red cherries into small pieces (to evoke berries), and snip the green cherries (or angelica) into miniature lengths, to represent leaves.
8 Using a teaspoon, drip a little of the melted but slightly cooled white chocolate on each bonbon, then arrange the infuriatingly sticky pieces of cherry on top.
9 Place in boxes to give away -- if you use small boxes that will fit 6 bonbons each, you will get 5 adorable presents out of this -- or on a plate to hand round with coffee, instead of dessert, after a post-Christmas dinner.
Makes about 30
MAKE AHEAD TIP:
Make the bonbons up to 2 weeks before eating or giving. Pack in boxes and store in a very cool place. If made 2 weeks ahead, add a label to say "keep cool and eat within 1 or 2 days".
Check out Nigella Lawson recipes for more mouthwatering dishes.
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From Nigella Christmas. Published by Random House Canada. Copyright © 2008 by Nigella Lawson. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Random House Canada.