Friday, 27 November 2015

Recipes: Christmas Sweet Treats

What festive season would be complete without it's share of yummy puddings? Tate & Lyle's know this best.

Spiced Fruit Chutney (pictured above)

225g (8oz) Tate & Lyle Light Soft Brown Sugar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
225g (8oz) red onions, peeled & roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
2 rounded tsp finely chopped ginger or stem ginger in syrup
310ml (11floz) cider vinegar
25g (1oz) sea salt flakes
150g (5oz) dried prunes, quartered
150g (5oz) pitted dates, roughly chopped
110g (4oz) dried apricots, quartered
75g (3oz) dried cranberries
50g (2oz) dried sour cherries
3 star anise
8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 rounded tbsp allspice berries
75ml (3floz) port

You will also need a small piece of muslin or a clean cloth, some string and 2 x 400g (14oz) jars.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook them over a low heat for 15 minutes or until softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes.

Next, add the vinegar, Tate & Lyle Light Soft Brown Sugar, salt and all the dried fruits to the pan. Wrap the star anise, cardamom and allspice in the muslin or cloth, tie into a loose bag with string and add to the pan.

Stir, bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, over a low heat for 50-60 minutes, stirring from time to time, but particularly towards the end of the cooking time when it’s more likely to stick. Stir in the port during the last 15 minutes The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced and only a small amount of sticky syrup surrounds the fruit, as it will thicken as it cools. To check, draw a wooden spoon through the chutney where you should briefly be able to see the bottom of the pan. Chunks of fruit should still be discernible.

Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly, then dry them and their lids in a low oven for 10 minutes to sterilise them. Discard the spice bag from the pan and fill the warm sterilised jars with the hot chutney. Seal immediately with a lid and leave to mature in a cool, dark place, ideally for up to one month, though it will easily last for a few months or more.

Lyle's Christmas Cake

Rich and dark, this wonderful cake is not just for Christmas but is also excellent for a small wedding or christening cake, or indeed just to have as a cut-and-come-again cake.

Serves: 12-16
Prep time: 1½ hours
Cooking time: 3½ hours

For the cake
12 tbsp whisky or brandy
1 medium orange, juiced & zested
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
2 level tsp mixed spice
450g (1lb) raisins
225g (8oz) dried cranberries
110g (4oz) prunes, roughly chopped
50g (2oz) glacé cherries, halved, rinsed, dried & finely chopped
110g (4oz) chopped candied peel
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, roughly chopped
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g (4½oz) Lyle's Golden Syrup
125g (4½oz) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Dark Muscovado Cane Sugar
250g (9oz) self-raising flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
½ level tsp salt

For feeding the cake
about 225ml (8floz) whisky or brandy

For the decoration
3 rounded tbsp smooth apricot jam
1 tbsp water
500g (1lb 2oz) white marzipan
Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Cane Sugar, to dust
500g (1lb 2oz) white fondant icing
a few silver edible cake pearls
edible cake glue or Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Cane Sugar & water

You will also need a 20cm (8") round cake tin, greased and the base and sides lined with a double thickness of baking parchment, plus a double thick layer for covering the top, a 25.5cm (10") round cake board, a 6cm (2½") snowflake cutter, ribbon and glass-headed pins.

Combine the whisky or brandy, the orange juice and zest, vanilla, 1 tablespoon of Lyle's Golden Syrup and the mixed spice in a large saucepan, and shake to mix. Add the raisins, cranberries, prunes, cherries, candied peel and nuts. Stir, bring to just under the boil, then reduce the heat down to a simmer and gently cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the fruit has plumped up. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/120° Fan, 275°F, Gas 1 with the shelf set on the middle.

In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together the butter, Lyle's Golden Syrup and the Tate & Lyle Dark Muscovado Sugar, then add the flour, eggs and salt and mix well until smooth. Next, stir in the fruit mixture until well combined.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin, level the surface with the back of the spoon and make a gentle hollow in the middle which helps prevent the cake from peaking too much. Bake for 3 hours then cover with the parchment paper. Bake the cake for a further 20-30 minutes or until the centre springs back when lightly touched.

Cool the cake in its tin for 30 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling and peel off the paper. If you have the time you can feed the cake with whisky or brandy at intervals over a month to enrich it. Poke holes in the cake with a fine skewer or cocktail stick and then drip about 2 tablespoons of the alcohol over the top each time. Wrap in foil between feeding the cake and store in an airtight container where it will last for up to 3 months.

Transfer the cake to the board.

Heat the jam and water in a small pan for 2-3 minutes, stir to combine, then brush all over the cake.

Roll out the marzipan on a surface dusted with Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar to slightly larger than the cake. Cover the cake, cut away the excess and leave out to dry. One day later, repeat using the fondant.

Thinly reroll the excess fondant - you should have about 95g (3½oz) left. Stamp out 8 snowflakes with the cutter dipping it into a little Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar each time. Use the edible 'glue' to stick the snowflakes around the edge of the cake. Alternatively mix 1 tablespoon of Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar with a drop of water to make a 'glue' and use instead. Using the 'glue' stick the silver balls onto the snowflakes. Leave to dry for a minimum of 2 hours before storing in an airtight container.

Wind the ribbon around the base of the cake, cut to fit and secure with pins and serve.

Lyle's Golden Christmas Pudding

This Christmas pudding is laden with golden dried fruits and has a lovely light texture making it a less filling ending for a festive meal than classic versions.

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 1 hour
Soaking time: 3-4 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 3 hours


For the Christmas pudding
75g (3oz) golden sultanas
75g (3oz) currants
75g (3oz) raisins
75g (3oz) dried apricots, finely chopped
75g (3oz) mixed peel
40g (1½oz) flaked almonds, roughly chopped
60ml (2½floz) brandy or orange liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g (4½oz) unsalted butter, softened
75g (3oz) Lyle's Golden Syrup
40g (1½oz) Lyle's Black Treacle
60g (2½oz) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Golden Syrup Cane Sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
75g (3oz) plain flour
150g (5oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

For the golden syrup brandy butter
125g (4½oz) unsalted butter, softened
95g (3½oz) Lyle's Golden Syrup
2 tbsp brandy or orange liqueur

To serve
3 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
few sprigs holly

You will also need a well- buttered 1.2l (2pt) pudding basin, a circle of parchment paper to fit the base and a circle of parchment paper and of foil cut two times larger than the top of the pudding basin diameter, some string and an old heatproof saucer or small trivet.

Combine all the dried fruits and nuts in a mixing bowl, add the brandy or liqueur and the vanilla. Mix well, cover and leave to soak for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Beat the butter, Lyle's Golden Syrup, Lyle's Black Treacle and the Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup Sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer for 5-8 minutes until light and creamy. Add the eggs little by little, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour over the fruit mixture and stir well to ensure all the fruit is coated in flour. Add to the creamed mixture along with the breadcrumbs and stir well to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin to about 2.5cm (1") from the top and smooth the surface.

Pleat the parchment by folding over 2.5cm (1") in the centre. Repeat with the foil. This allows the pudding to expand when it cooks. Cover the basin with the parchment, with the pleat in the centre of the pudding, then cover with foil, again with the pleat in the centre. Tie the pudding very tightly around the rim with the string and make a carrying handle by tying the excess string across the top of the basin and tying it under the string on the opposite side. This will help you lift the pudding out of the pan once it's cooked. Trim any excess paper and foil, leaving a 2.5cm (1") border, and turn the edges in on themselves to seal.

Put the saucer or trivet in a large, deep saucepan, and place the pudding basin on top. Add enough just-boiled water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and place over the lowest heat. Allow to steam in the gently simmering water for 3 hours, adding more water to the pan if necessary. Make sure the pan does not boil dry – top it up with extra water if it does.

Meanwhile, make the brandy butter by creaming the butter and Lyle's Golden Syrup together with an electric whisk until very soft. Gradually beat in the brandy or liqueur and then spoon into a serving bowl.

The pudding is done when a fine skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding (through the foil and paper) comes out clean. When done, turn off the heat and carefully lift the basin out of the water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Cut the string from the basin and discard the aluminium foil and paper. Run a flat-bladed knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen the sides, carefully invert onto a serving dish and remove the basin. Drizzle over a little Lyle's Golden Syrup, decorate with a sprig of holly and serve with the Lyle's Golden Syrup brandy butter.

Do ahead
You can make the pudding and the brandy butter 1 month ahead and freeze them in lidded containers. Alternatively, make both 3 days ahead and store in the fridge.

To reheat
Re-cover the pudding with foil and place the pudding basin in a deep saucepan half-filled with boiling water and steam for about 30 minutes or until hot. Alternatively, cover the pudding with cling film and poke a few holes in it. For an 800w microwave, reheat on full power for 5 minutes, leave to stand for 3 minutes, then reheat on low or defrost for a further 7 minutes and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Mince Pies

These lovely mince pies are filled with delicious, easy-to-make mincemeat.

Preparation 40 mins, plus overnight soaking
Cooking 25 mins
Makes 12 (plus 3 x 450 jars mincemeat)



For the mincemeat filling (Make the day before)
225g raisins
225g sultanas
225g currants
50g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
100g glace cherries, halved
100ml brandy or rum
1 medium eating apple
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
180g Tate & Lyle Dark Soft Brown Sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
50g butter

For the pastry
200g plain white flour
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
100g chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk from large egg
2 tbsp chilled water
Beaten egg, to glaze

To make the mincemeat, put the raisins, sultanas, currants, apricots, glace cherries and brandy or rum into a large mixing bowl. Stir well, then cover and leave in a cool place for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally, or leave to stand overnight.

When the fruit has soaked, peel, core and chop the apple, then blanch it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain well. Add to the fruit mixture with the cinnamon and nutmeg and stir well.

Add the Tate & Lyle Dark Soft Brown Sugar to the fruit mixture. Warm the lemon juice, water and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Add to the fruit and stir well, then pack the mincemeat into sterilized jars. Seal and label. Keep in a cool place for up to 3 months.

To make the pastry, sift the flour, salt and Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir them together. Rub in the chilled butter with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Beat the egg yolk with the water and stir it in, using a round-bladed knife, then bring the dough together into a ball. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until the dough is smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/Gas Mark 6.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Stamp out 12 rounds with a 7.5mm cutter, then 12 rounds with a 6mm cutter, re-rolling the pastry as necessary.

Place the larger rounds of pastry into patty tins and add 1 heaped tsp of the mincemeat. Brush the pastry rims with water, then place the lids on top, sealing the edges together. Use a sharp knife to make a small hole in the top of each pie. Brush with the beaten egg, to glaze.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm or cold.

Red Nose Reindeers

These fun reindeers will bring a personal touch of festive cheer to your Christmas tree. And they taste scrummy too!

Makes approx. 24
Preparation: 40 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking: 5 minutes


5 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
50g butter
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250g digestive biscuits, crushed finely
2 tbsp Tate & Lyle Demerara Sugar
300g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
24 (approx.) small red sweets
50g Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar
50g white fondant icing
Cellophane, for wrapping
Thin ribbon or raffia, for tying
Brown pipe cleaners, for the 'antlers'

Put the Lyle's Golden Syrup, butter and dark chocolate into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring often, until melted and smooth.

Add the biscuit crumbs and demerara sugar, stirring them in thoroughly. Let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes, then form into about 24 balls, placing them on a tray as you make them. Chill in the fridge until firm.

Melt the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Dip each ball into the chocolate, using two forks to help. Place them back on the tray as you do them. Place a red sweet on each chocolate ball to form the 'red nose'. Chill until firm.

To finish decorating the reindeer's faces, mix the icing sugar with a little cold water to make a thick glace icing. Make tiny white 'eyes' with the fondant icing, fixing them in place with a little glace icing. Pierce a fine skewer or cocktail stick in the centre of each 'eye', to look like the 'pupils'.

Wrap each chocolate ball in cellophane or put them into small sweet bags, and tie with ribbon or raffia for hanging them to the Christmas tree. Wind the pipe cleaners around the top, twisting them to resemble 'antlers'.

Cook's tip: Give these as little gifts, or make lots of them before Christmas to sell at school fetes and Christmas bazaars.

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