For Fanny, the most festive of treats is cake. Not only was she determined that everyone should be able to afford a piece of cake at least once a year, but that at Christmas they should be decorated in a sufficiently celebratory fashion. Viewers and readers must've bombarded Fanny with 'cross letters' saying that her Royal Icing cracked their teeth, for here she recommends the softer Fondant as her covering of choice. However, Fanny says, please do not be alarmed into thinking that this is in any way a 'classic' fondant which must be worked up with a spatula on a marble surface. No, Fannys version is much less complicated. And everyone should make their own fondant, shouldn't they Mary Berry? The horror of shop bought was not in Fannys mind.
Fannys version involves adding an egg white and some gently warmed liquid glucose to sifted icing sugar. Fanny warns NOT to beat the egg white at all. Fanny has another warning to ONLY buy your liquid glucose for the chemist. Please update this advice to read 'any good supermarket' unless you want some very funny looks next time you pick up your prescriptions. This fondant is so easy, she sets poor Johnnie to it - simply working it up to a stiff paste and kneading it on a dusted surface. Any flavourings and colours may be added, I choose just to add some pastel shades. Well almost pastel shades.
Fanny uses her fondant to cover cakes, to stamp out pretty little designs to add to cakes and to cover her very favourite Minature Bûches de Noël, or Mini Swiss Roll Christmas Logs. Fanny clearly trusts us now to return to the very beginning and prepare her 'no-crack' Swiss Roll, the only difference is to make it thinner than usual. So I divide the standard mixture between two pans. Once cooked for only a few minutes, the panels are trimmed and cut into eight pieces of equal size. The trimming is essential to ensure that the roll up perfectly without those shameful cracks.
Fanny fills her Mini Bûches with jam, jelly or buttercream. I went brambling at the weekend with my Mum for the first time in years, and made a very nostalgic batch of Bramble Jelly. I can clearly remember the smell and taste of my Grans jelly several decades after last having the joy of it, so this was my attempt to recreate it. I added some Elderflower Gin from Edinburgh Gin to the batch and it tasted perfectly hedgerow-retro-tastic. Perhaps my Gran used to add Gin to hers too? Either way it makes a perfect filling for these little festive fancies. Once spread and rolled up the fondant needs to be rolled out and cut to size to cover them. Fannys final warning is to roll out the fondant on a cold surface sprinkled with CORNFLOUR this time, which will not affect the fondant if the cakes are stored. It's like insurance she says, to avoid nasty little humps appearing like dogs under the bedclothes. Please take heed, and do not write any nasty letters to say it has if you haven't. Fanny has lots of Christmas knowledge to share, and doesn't have time to read them.