I'm not ready for Christmas yet.
Although the shops are overflowing with displays of Christmas Kugels, Christmas Schoggi, and Christmas Mandarinlis, I just can't quite get on board. After a brief flirtation with snow last week, Bern is back to green, with the white tips of the Alps in the distance as the only reminder of winter.
I'm not ready for Christmas baking either. Bags of ground nuts are on sale, Christmas themed rolling pins (why?) are out, and parchment paper is buy one, get one free. The Landfrauen are in front of the big department stores, selling their handmade Güetzli. They must have started months ago. I only just managed to get my fruit for fruitcake soaking last week. I used to work in a place where the soaking began the January before—eleven full months of infusion. That was some good fruitcake.
And so, in an attempt to mitigate the transition from a warm and rather green November, to full-on, (hopefully snowy) December, I present to you the versatile and festive, yet nontraditional, Swiffin.
The Swiffin is my Swiss version of the delicious British Tiffin, or fridge cake. The Tiffin is perhaps Britain's greatest contribution to the traybake (which is saying a lot, as they have some seriously excellent traybakes: Millionaires' Shortbread, Parkin, Flapjacks, Rocky Road...), and so beloved that even the bottom layer of Prince William's wedding cake was made out of fridge cake.
To make it Swiss, I have used Toblerone, Williams (a typical Swiss pear spirit) from Distillery Studer, and Migros-brand Petit Beurre cookies (though any plain-ish biscuit will do).
The recipe isn't totally un-Chrismassy, the boozy fruit and chocolate give it a fragrant and festive edge, and if you wanted, you could simply add some cinnamon, mixed spice, or nutmeg to give it some real holiday flavour. The best part is that it is ridiculously simple and doesn't require an oven. Soak, smash, melt, mix, and set. And there you have it.
150 g raisins
Poire Williams or other spirit
200 g petit beurre cookies (or similar), smashed
300 g of Toblerone, broken into individual triangles
100 g butter
1 tbsp honey
grated lemon rind
Put the raisins in a medium-sized bowl and douse them in spirit of choice. Mix them until they are glistening and let them sit for at least an hour (or overnight).
Line a square pan with parchment paper.
To melt the chocolate, put a large pot of water on high heat and set a large bowl on top of it (stainless steel works best). Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, then add the chocolate, butter, and honey to the bowl on top. This should melt with the residual heat (be patient), but if it is taking too long, briefly turn the heat back on.
Once you have a smooth chocolate mixture, take the bowl off the pot, wiping the water from the bottom of the bowl.
Stir the smashed cookies, lemon rind, and raisins (no need to strain) into the chocolate mixture.
Spread into the lined pan and cover with plastic wrap. Cool in fridge until set.
- If you don't want to use alcohol to infuse the raisins, a great alternative is strongly brewed tea.
- I think two bars of dark Toblerone and one bar of milk Toblerone is the ideal combination.
- It's better to have a slightly larger pan than smaller pan, as these are quite rich. You can really use a pan of any shape, as long as you can spread the mixture out thinly. I used a 24 cm square tart pan with removable bottom.
- When cutting the bars, use a chef's knife or a serrated bread knife and heat it with hot water, either by running it under the tap or filling up a measuring cup and dipping the knife.
- These are brilliant frozen.