Friday, December 25, 2009

It's Christmas - December 25th

Well I've done it! 25 days of sweet treats. Thanks to everyone that checked in each day. Merry Christmas to you all! . And thanks for your kind comments. Special thanks first & foremost to Lisa from The Whole Cake & Caboodle, who helped out with some of the posts. And to Mum - aka Grandma Kiwicakes, without whom I would not have made it through this year. She is my right hand lady, sounding board, babysitter, stress reliever and at times lunch maker. And last but not least, love & kisses to my long suffering husband Vaughan who unselfishly gives me time every weekend to myself to get things done.

This dessert is a Christmas day dessert favourite for me. They are very simple to make. Despite the appearance of their sheer size, there isn't a lot in them. Great when you're stuffed full - and want something small. And strawberries always seem to be at their best, at Christmas time in NZ.

To make:
Melt some white chocolate buttons in a double boiler (use melting chocolate from the bakery aisle) add red powder colouring, it looks equally good with brown chocolate. I get asked many times a week "how do you make chocolate/icing red?". The answer is simple..... use lots of colouring. After all red + white = pink, you have to proceed beyond that. If you keep adding it in, it will go red. This dessert uses about 6 good sized strawberries per tower, some whipped cream and only a small amount of chocolate. 1 bag of chocolate will easily make up to 2 dozen desserts.

Fill a disposable piping bag with your chocolate. (if you don't have any disposable bags, fit a round piping nozzle no larger than a no#2 to a regular piping bag). Snip end off disposable bag, to make a small opening.
I like to pipe my chocolate with a random squiggle and wiggle to the piped line - just because I like the look.

Chop up your strawberries, it doesn't matter what size the pieces are, along as they are all a similar size. If children are absent from the dessert table, you can steep the Strawberries in champagne for a few hours first if you wish.

I put my whipped cream in a cream whipper - this is not necessary, but I like the precise nature of piping the cream, rather than trying to spoon it on. I also have a crazy sentimental attachment to my cream whipping machine. I have vivid memories of a trip to David Jones kitchen department in Sydney when I was 9 years old, with my Mum to buy one. It was horrendously expensive at the time. It has been used every Christmas for 25 years (yes I'm that old!) and hasn't failed us yet. I was lucky enough that Mum gave it to me some years back. Mum definitely sowed the seeds for my kitchen gadget addiction very early on.

Place your first chocolate lattice on to a festive plate, pipe cream in to the centre, add chopped strawberries, a wee touch more cream, then top with another chocolate lattice. Repeat this process until you have completed the layers, to a height you're satisfied with. Top with one large strawberry.

This dessert is one that draws oohs and aahs, yet takes no more than 5 minutes to assemble. The chocolate lattices can be made weeks ahead and simply stacked in a container, between sheets of baking paper. Take care when handling them, they are somewhat fragile.

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