Guilt Free Festive Treats

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But when the holidays are here, so are the cravings for all of our favourite festive treats.

Whilst food is a wonderful part of Christmas, navigating through all of the indulgent food and drinks can be tricky. It’s a time of year to enjoy yourself, and everyone can indulge a little, but try not to fall into the mindset of binging for a whole week. A few treats are fine but be mindful of your overall healthy eating and hard from work this year and you’ll be a happier and healthier you come the new year!

To help, we’ve found some healthier – but just as delicious – recipes for your favourite Christmas treats!

Mince Pies (Courtesy of the British Heart Foundation)

Ingredients

  • 1 tart eating apple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
  • 50g (1 ¾ oz) mixed dried fruit
  • 50g (1 ¾ oz) dried blueberries
  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ a large orange
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Small piece fresh root ginger, finely grated, optional
  • 3 sheets filo pastry, about 140g (5oz)
  • 1 small egg yolk, beaten with a splash of cold water
  • ¼ tsp icing sugar

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4. Put the apple, pear and dried fruits in a small saucepan with the orange zest, juice, spices and ginger, if using. Stir over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the fresh fruit begins to soften at the edges and most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool.

2. Lay the filo sheets on top of each other. Cut in half then cut each half into quarters. This will give 24 pieces of pastry in total, see Cooks tip. Keep the filo pastry covered with a clean tea towel to prevent it from drying out.

3. Using a deep, non-stick, 6 hole muffin tin, lightly wipe out each hole with oiled kitchen paper. Line each one with two pieces of the filo pastry. 

4. Spoon the cooled fruit mixture into each muffin tin and press another two pieces of pastry on top. Brush all over with the beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes until golden.

5. Take the tin from the oven. The pies will be quite firm to move by now. Using a small knife, loosen the pies from their tins and turn over to expose the base. Brush the bases with the beaten egg and return the pies to the oven (base upwards) for a further 5 minutes until crisp and golden.

7. Cool on a wire rack and dust lightly with the icing sugar.

Berry Trifle (Courtesy of the British Heart Foundation)

Ingredients

  • 55g (2oz) good quality, crustless, white bread (see Cook’s tips)
  • 140g (5oz) frozen mixed summer fruits, plus a few extra to decorate
  • Pared zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 100ml (3½ fl oz) skimmed milk, plus 2 tbsp
  • 30g (7 level tsp) low fat custard powder
  • 125g (4½ oz) fat free, thick set yogurt, such as Greek yogurt or skyr (fat-free Icelandic-style strained yogurt)

1. Cut the bread into small cubes and divide between two serving glasses.

2. Put the frozen fruit in a small saucepan with the orange zest and half the juice, about 50ml (2fl oz). Bubble gently, without stirring too much, until the fruit is soft. Cool a little, remove the zest, then divide the mixture between the two glasses. Press down lightly to push the juice into the bread. 

3. Put the remaining orange juice into a measuring jug and make up to 100ml (3½ fl oz) with water. Add 100ml (3½ fl oz) skimmed milk.

4. Blend the custard powder to a smooth paste with a little of the liquid then mix both in a small saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring all the time, for 2-3 minutes until thickened.

5. Cool the custard a little before spooning all but 3tbsp over the fruit mixture. Leave to cool completely.

6. Beat the reserved custard into the yoghurt with 2tbsp of skimmed milk and spoon on top of the custard. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

7. Serve decorated with a few extra frozen fruits.

Non Alcoholic Mulled Wine (Courtesy of BBC Good Food)

Ingredients

  • 500ml pomegranate juice
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • handful of frozen blackberries
  • 250ml apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 orange, quartered

Method

Put the pomegranate juice, sugar, blackberries and apple juice in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppercorns and orange. Heat gently until simmering. Taste for sweetness, then strain into heatproof glasses.

Skinny Yule Log (Courtesy of the World Cancer Research Fund)

Ingredients

  • 75g 70% dark chocolate
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 200g thick low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar, sifted
  • 200g raspberries
  • 75g pomegranate seeds

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Fan 170ºC. Line a 30x20cm shallow baking tray with baking parchment.

2.Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Leave to cool slightly.

3.In a separate bowl, using a handheld electric whisk, beat together the sugar and eggs for about 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour and 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder, followed by the melted chocolate.

4.Pour the mixture into the baking tray and spread out evenly. Bake for 12–15 minutes until cooked and the cake is springy to touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

5.Lightly dust a large sheet of baking paper (larger than the cake) with ½ tablespoon cocoa powder and turn out the sponge onto it. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and a clean, damp tea towel. Leave to cool.

6.Meanwhile, make the filling; in a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and icing sugar. Fold in the raspberries and most of the pomegranate seeds.

7.Once the sponge is fully cooled, remove the tea towel and top baking sheet, then spread the yoghurt mixture over the cake. With the help of the paper underneath, roll up the cake from the short side. Transfer to a serving plate, and dust with the remaining cocoa powder and pomegranate seeds. Cut into 12 equal slices and serve.