Monday, 17 December 2012

Sweetmeats for Christmas

I acquired a couple of books about Christmas the other day for £1 a piece with some really different bits and pieces in.  One of these has a whole section for sweetmeats.   Originally and traditionally "sweetmeats" referred to a table with lots of little bits and bobs of "tempters" to tease the palate and in the Victorian age to tempt the gentlemen to linger over port.  A tradition that is carried on to this day although probably more better known in a different guise.  What exactly are sweetmeats, Fudge, chocolate rum truffles, pretty frosted fruits, chocolate covered tangerines or grapes, coconut ice, Marzipan fruits, Turkish delight, Turrone, Torrone Molle Peppermint creams, toasted almonds or hazlenuts, sugared almonds etc etc.  The tin of sweets on the coffee table that we all tuck into and nibble at whilst we are watching the Christmas TV (well that is the commercialised version) all constitute sweetmeats and come Christmas I always try and make a few to tuck into.

One of the books in particular had some quite different ideas which I am going to have a go at making later in the week once I have the heavy stuff out of the way with.  This one could perhaps be left to any children in the family to decorate (after of course the adult has melted the chocolate).



8oz unsweetened chocolate
1-2 teaspoons Cointreau


Melt the chocolate with the Cointreau in a double boiler over simmering water. Peel the Tangerines and divide into segments.  When the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and using a cocktail stick dip the segments into the chocolate.  Allow any excess chocolate to drip off and place the segments on a piece of baking parchment to set.  Store somewhere cool.




1lb  (450g) Almonds blanched and skinned or 1lb of ground Almonds
12oz  (340g) granulated sugar
17 fl oz (500 ml) water
3 egg yolks beaten lightly
Decoration (optional) toasted splinters of almonds


Line a shallow tin 16 x 16 cm with rice paper or baking parchment.  Grind Almonds to a paste in an electric grinder/food processor or mince them finely.  Alternatively buy ready ground Almonds.

Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat stirring constantly. Boil rapidly until it will form small hard balls when dropped on to a cold surface.  Remove from the heat and add the ground almonds and beaten egg yolks. This should form a thick paste.  Press it into the prepared tin levelling off the top.  When cold mark the top with a knife in a trellis pattern.  Place a splinter of almond in the centre of each diamond.  Wrap in paper and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Another two recipes to try I shall pop some further recipes up later on

Right have things to do catch up with you later on.


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