Never mind Portable Document Format, I’m talking about Purely Decorative Food!
Christmas this year has, for me, been characterised by a great deal of fun had baking. But not everything I made had to be eaten, although much of it was. These little Santas were incredibly easy to do and they looked great. The idea came from the Coles Magazine app, and consists of little more than mixing 125g of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, and piping on the heads, pompoms, and buttons. Larger strawberries could have accommodated beards as well. Some chocolate ganache I had on hand was added to the mixture to pipe the eyes. Simple, effective, and they tasted darn good too!
Another decorative project I indulged in was this Meringue Tree which became the centrepiece of our table at Christmas Day lunch.
This was actually a nifty little kit put out by Coles (a gratuitous plug, I know, but look – I live near a Coles Supermarket so I’ll probably never mention Woolworths in my blog, other than right now). Everything was included, except the little figurines which I plucked from my snowy village tableau, which I couldn’t be bothered putting out this year because, ironically, the day I did my decorations was too hot. (Curse these Antipodean opposites!)
It even included the gold lustre dust, the paper cone and the white chocolate melts to stick the meringues on with. The lidded plastic trays that the large meringues sat in will be usefully re-purposed for other baking projects. Note the taint of OCD which made me position each meringue with its swirl pointing in the same direction. It also caused me great angst to find that the meringues were not proportioned to exactly fit in offset concentric circles around the cone.
Last year I took advantage of a similar kit (from the same supermarket chain) to make a Gingerbread house, but as far as my OCD was concerned, that was like a red flag to a bull – sooooo untidy! This, at least, was acceptably neat.
Then of course there was my Christmas plaque from a previous post. Here’s a quick visual reminder.
But my pièce de résistance was the Christmas cake. I used the same recipe for the fruit cake as I did for the mini Christmas cakes.
I followed the recipe and instructions for the spiky Royal Icing given by Mary Berry in a Great British Bake Off Christmas Masterclass. As amazing as it looked, there were two hard lessons learnt (unintended pun alert!): the quantity of icing was rather excessive for the size of cake it was intended for; and it sets like plaster. It took considerable muscle power to crack that shell when I served it up for extended family at a Boxing Day morning tea, and was the cause of great mirth as a result. But even so it tasted good.
All in all, a very satisfying Christmas. Probably the first such Christmas in years.