Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights

Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights

turkish-caribbean-delight

Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights – Caribish Delight

Turkish delight is one of our family Christmas favourites and its very hard to find in Dominica, or indeed in many of the islands. So sticking to my principles of trying to create recipes using as much of what we grow on our Caribbean property as possible, I have made a thinly disguised Turkish Delight with a mystery twist from my garden and called it Caribish Delight.

Naturally it did’nt stop there, and so we now have an interesting selection of Christmas Sweets to offer visitors dropping in.

Gelatine is readily available locally as a gelling agent, so I used that to set my sweets, although there maybe better alternatives elsewhere.

Caribish Delight

All over the property which runs to several acres we have a ubiquitous Mystery Bush that seems to have no name.  In fact there are hundreds of them and they grow as high 16 feet, or we can keep them trimmed at 1 foot.  They make wonderful obliging hedges at any height, (we could even stretch to topiary), and strong circular windbreaks that protect our orange, lemon and grapefruit trees.  Their evergreen leaves are dark green and glossy, the roots form a solid framework going deep and help stabilise the sloping garden areas when we have tropical rain for weeks.  These bushes also produce copious amounts of black berries from which I make a Christmassy blackcurrant type drink, (nice with a dash of rum on a chilly evening), and from which I also make jam.

Many, many and many more people have been consulted about the identity of these bushes, and nobody has been able to provide an answer!  They don’t grow anywhere else on the island, at least that’s what we are told.  And how do we know we won’t die from berry poisoning?  Well we watched the birds first who had no ill effects and then we tried them out on our gardener.

Ingredients for 20 squares of Caribish Delight

2 tsps of Mystery Bush jam (or any blackcurrant jam or jelly)
1 sachet of powdered gelatine (enough to set 1 cup of fruit jelly)
1 cardamom
1 tsp of rosewater
1/2 cup of water in small saucepan
1/4 cup of cold water in bowl
honey to taste
white icing sugar   (optional)

Line a 6 in square or rectangular cake tin with greaseproof paper and butter it.

Crush cardamom and add to water in saucepan along with blackcurrant jam. Cover and bring gently to simmer for 20-30 minutes until flavour of cardamom is well infused. Remove cardamom. Add honey to taste as needed.

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Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights – Caribish Delight shown with Mystery Bush berries.

Add 1 tsp of rosewater to cold water in bowl, stir and sprinkle in the sachet of gelatine.  Leave for one minute then stir in the boiling mixture from saucepan.  Keep stirring until the gelatine is dissolved and then pour in to the cake tin.  Put in fridge or cool place until set.

When set, cut into rectangles, and just before eating sprinkle with icing sugar. The gelatine changes the sugar into icing which is why the icing sugar should be sprinkled last minute.

For an alternative, omit rosewater and the cardamom, boil water with fresh ginger root, strain and add freshly grated ginger into the final mixture.

Chocolate Coconut Christmas Delight

A previous blog explains how we use chocolate from the cocoa bushes in the garden.

A little explanation about Caribbean chocolate and the way it is still made in tens of thousands of Caribbean kitchens as it has been for centuries. Cocoa/cacao trees grow prodigiously in gardens and homesteads everywhere in the Caribbean and central America. The bean is harvested, fermented for a few days and then roasted in small quantities. After roasting it is shelled and then pounded in a mortar and pestle and finally moulded into a small ball or a stick which will keep for months. Sometimes nutmeg and cinammon are added at this stage into the moulded chocolate. It it is then grated and used in many different ways in sweet and savory drinks and dishes. Locals all drink cocoa ‘tea’, which is grated cocoa, boiling water and sugar to taste. Coconut milk or cows milk can be added for a creamier flavour.
Breadfruit coffee chocolate dessert4

Locally made cocoa sticks

Ingredients for the Chocolate Coconut Christmas Delight

1 stick or ball of local cocoa
1 sachet of powdered gelatine (enough to set 1 cup of fruit jelly)
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 packet of powdered coconut milk OR
1/2 cup of freshly made coconut milk
1/4 cup of double fresh cows double cream in bowl
White icing sugar or grated cocoa (optional)

Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights - Chocolate Coconut

Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights – Chocolate Coconut

Line a 6 in square or rectangular cake tin with greaseproof paper and butter it.

Grate the cocoa stick finely into saucepan, add coconut and simmer until the chocolate is combined with coconut. Sweeten to taste with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.

Sprinkle the double cream with the sachet of gelatine.  Leave for one minute then stir in the boiling mixture from saucepan.  Keep stirring until the gelatine is dissolved and then pour in to the cake tin.  Put in fridge or cool place until set.

When set, cut into rectangles, and just before eating sprinkle with icing sugar. The gelatine changes the sugar into icing which is why it should be done last minute.

Other options include adding grated coconut, chopped nuts, grated fresh ginger or orange zest into the mixture, and dusting the rectangles with finely grated cocoa.

Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights - Chocolate Coconut

Caribbean Christmas Sweet Delights – Chocolate Coconut

Wrap half a dozen little Christmas Sweets in a knapkin and tie with a festive ribbon.  Makes a wonderful little neighbourly gift and are ideal for family treats over the holidays!

 

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