Anybody else still slowly eating their way through huge mountains of Christmas chocolate, cheese and other festive ingredients that don’t get a look in the rest of the year (chestnut pureé, anyone?)
No? Everyone else on a diet of kale, chia seeds and self-hatred? Oh well, perhaps this recipe isn’t for you.
The funny thing with Christmas leftovers is that the cursory thoughts of what to do with the remains of the festive menu that briefly cross the outer reaches of one’s brain in the run up to Christmas, during the time when the focus is still very much on making sure there is enough alcohol and double cream to see oneself and any guests through the one whole day that the shops are closed, mainly revolve around Christmas dinner. What to do with the inevitable uneaten sprouts and overflow of roast potatoes and parsnips that are sure to be clogging up the fridge come the evening of the 25th? This is, of course, pure festive folly, for there is nothing so easy to whip up than a Boxing Day bubble and squeak. The real challenge is what to do with the little extras-the chestnut pureé, the brie that was never opened and the excess of double cream caused by panic buying huge vats of it two days before Christmas, grabbing it from a fast-emptying chilled foods aisle in that desperate, grasping way that only one who knows the shops are about to close for a whole day can; after all it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bargain Beers is probably the only shop on the High Street open on the big day, and they don’t even stock creme de cacao so surely cannot be trusted to have the real Christmas Day essentials in time of need.
Anyway, finding oneself with a glut of chestnut pureé and double cream, I have been forced to google furiously for tips on using them up, and sadly, most of the recipes I have come across involve cakes, which is not something I wish to be investing either my time or my increasingly large stomach in, given that I still have over half an enormous homemade Christmas cake slowly decaying on the kitchen counter. Apparently with all the alcohol in it that stuff can last up to twenty-five years, so here’s to another quarter-century of fruitcake-based puddings. At the very quickest, I’ll be happy if I can plough through it before next Christmas.
However, there is one dessert that never fails to hit the chocolate-craving spot, and involves both double cream and (apparently, if you happen to have it available) chestnut pureé. Yes, CHOCOLATE GANACHE.
Chocolate ganache is basically the easiest dessert in the world, and also, Christmas cake (and Christmas pudding-but who eats that?) possibly excepted, the heaviest. And I made a massive portion which I was physically unable to eat, thereby defeating the object of the exercise in using up leftovers, but hey ho, lesson learned for next time. Keep your portions small folks, it is Dry Boring Self-Denying, Let’s All Flagellate Ourselves With Juice-Based Diets Consisting of Only Liquidised Sprouts January, after all!
No quantities here guys, make your own minds up how much to chuck in, just make sure it’s less than me. I’m on the Icing Sugar Diet.
- Dark chocolate (you know the type-just use that cooking chocolate you would never ever eat raw. I did consider putting in some of the Christmas chocolate but wisely decided against it. That stuff will keep).
- Double cream
- Chestnut pureé (I was too scared to use more than a tablespoon of this, just in case it did something awful to an otherwise sublime chocolate ganache. I needn’t have worried. You couldn’t taste it, and the back of the packet had a great recipe for chestnut hummous, so it got used up in the end).
- Icing sugar. Yes I added sugar to this. Extra sugar. I went there. And why not, it is January, after all).
- Glacé cherries (for decoration. If you prefer, you could use sprinkles, or chocolate chips, or whatever else you have lying around, but I just thought glacé cherries=MORE SUGAR. Why the hell not?)
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.
- Add the double cream and chestnut pureé and stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, whip the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a serving dish and top with the whipped cream, garnish with the cherries or other chosen topping.
I told you it was easy. This took literally five minutes. Basically kids, when you want a dessert, all you need is chocolate and double cream-and preferably an army of people to help you eat it. Just what you need in Miserable Cold Self-Flagellating January. Don’t go on a diet. Don’t do it.