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Today, if all has gone to plan at the end of the day I’ll mix myself a Christmas cocktail before getting ready for a homemade curry night, because I’ll be done for Christmas. One of the most important things about being self employed is knowing when to take a break, and every Christmas I try to take two weeks off with a couple of work days in the middle to deal with anything urgent so I can come back refreshed in the New Year.
Yes, partly this is so that I can take a break, but it is also so that I can enjoy all the Christmas cooking and baking that I want to do that is nothing to do with ‘work’, just making the treats and dishes I fancy either out of the seasons new food magazine issues, or festive recipes I’ve bookmarked among my massive cookbook collection.
Unsurprisingly, what I made last year usually makes it into this years Christmas Kitchen. On Wednesday I posted the Truffled Mushroom Pate we made for vegetarian lunch guests a few days before Christmas, and this year I’m sharing two festive cookies that I made not once, but twice last Christmas: these super-addictive German Cinnamon Stars, and todays recipe for Russian Biscuit Cake, or Chocolate Kolbasa, or Chocolate Salami. Whatever you want to cook it, it is the ultimate delicious, customisable, chocolatey treat to keep in the fridge this Christmas.
Adapted from the fantastic post-Soviet cookbook Kachka: A Return To Russian Cooking(ad) who put toasted hazelnuts and broken biscuits in their chocolate kolbasa, here I’ve given it a festive twist adding chopped pistachios and pieces of crystallised ginger to my broken digestive pieces in this fudgy, condensed-milk based fridge treat.
This easy no-bake Russian Biscuit Cake is studded with crystallised ginger and toasted pistachios – the perfect sweet treat to keep stashed in the fridge over the festive period.
6 digestive biscuits
75g (2 1/2 oz) crystallised ginger
25g (3/4 oz) toasted pistachios
55g (2 oz) unsalted butter
80g (2 3/4 oz) condensed milk
40g (1 1/2 oz) plain chocolate, chopped
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
Break the biscuits up into small pieces, each no bigger than 1 cm. Roughly chop the crystallised ginger and pistachios to about the same size, and transfer everything to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan. Whisk in the condensed milk, followed by the chopped chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate has melted. Whisk in the cocoa and the salt, and remove from the heat.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit mixture and stir well so that everything is well coated in the chocolate mixture. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, lay a large piece of foil down on a clean worktop, and lay a clean piece of baking parchment on top.
Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking parchment and shape it into a sort of log. Using the foil, but making sure not to wrap it into the sausage, wrap the biscuit cake tightly into a log shape, rolling it along the worktop to keep it round, and using the foil to scrunch the ends and keep everything sealed and tight.
Chill the log for at least two hours, checking half way through that it has not gone flat at the bottom and you don’t need to roll it again inside the foil to keep it round!
Sieve a good amount of icing sugar onto a large flat plate or platter big enough for the biscuit cake. Unwrap the sausage and roll it in the icing sugar until it is well coated. Slice into thick coins of at least 1 1/2 cm, and keep chilled. Consume within a week.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*