I’ve been Christmas shopping since November and am sick of the whole thing. Enough is enough. Sometimes there is more joy to be had in keeping the wallet closed but making the effort to create something from scratch.
For the past four years or so I’ve been Chair of Dancefest, a brilliant organisation who put quality dance classes and projects out into towns and villages in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It’s a misnomer that dancers don’t eat…every meeting I’ve ever been to has involved M&S chocolate biscuits. So instead of the obligatory office tin of Quality Street or Celebrations, this year the Dancefest-ers are getting home-made treats: posh chocolate fridge cake.
These can be rustled up with thirty minutes of kitchen pottering, are really simple and use stuff that I have in my cupboards all the time. I popped to Waitrose this morning and they are selling a Christmas fridge cake, pretty much the same as mine, for £10 a go! At that price, you’re far better off making your own. Plus this way it can be tarted up any way you like – popping candy? Glitter? Go for it.
First, make the chocolate base. I use a mixture of dark and milk chocolate, which is melted with butter and golden syrup over simmering water. I’m decorating with white chocolate so melted that in a separate bowl at the same time. Just keep the heat gentle and don’t prod it too much; white chocolate can be tricksy.
Meanwhile, get the fillings sorted. Fridge cake definitely needs some crunch, so I’m going for digestives, cantuccini and toasted almonds. Amarettis would also work, as would pistachios macadamias and hazelnuts. It’s nice to have fruit in there, and I’ve used mixed peel, diced dried apricots and raisins. Dried cranberries and cherries would also be great.
Then just stir the dark chocolate and biscuits/fruit/nut mix together and pour into a suitable dish for chilling. It helps to line with dish with cling film, else you’ll never get the cake out again. Swirl the white chocolate on top using a spoon. That’s it! Chill for a couple of hours before slicing and packing up as gifts.
Posh chocolate fridge cake
300g chocolate, I used a mixture of milk and dark
100g white chocolate
150g golden syrup
250g biscuits, I used digestives and cantuccini
60g nuts, I used almonds
75g dried fruit, I used crystallised mixed peel, dried apricots and raisins
Drop vanilla extract
In a large heatproof bowl set over barely-simmering water, melt the milk and dark chocolate, butter and syrup. Keep the heat low and stir every now and then. In a separate bowl, melt the white chocolate in the same way.
Roughly chop the biscuits and any larger pieces of fruit, such as apricots. In a dry frying pan, gently toast the nuts and then chop. Mix the biscuits, fruit, nuts and vanilla into the dark chocolate mixture.
Pour into a suitable dish, which you have previously lined with cling film. Spoon the white chocolate on top and swirl into a nice pattern. Put in the fridge for several hours to firm up.
Slice with a hot knife into smallish squares.