Angels we have heard on high

Tea biscuit angels

Tell us to go out and buy!

So says Tom Lehrer, mathematician, teacher, lyricist, pianist, composer, singer/songwriter and all round great guy. He wasn’t much impressed with the consumerism that Christmas often embodies. His little holiday ditty from the 1960s is just as relevant today as it was when he penned it:

Christmas time is here, by golly,
Disapproval would be folly.
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don’t say when.

This year we’re trying to fill our cups and plates, not with folly, but with great-tasting foods that feed our bodies and minds with goodness. Our host of angels are made from a low-sugar, low-fat biscuit recipe that kids can roll out and cut into fun Christmas shapes. I used these little darlings, decorated in inert gold leaf, to brighten up my apricot trifle.

The good: Apricots are nutritious. They are a source of  lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) to boost our disease fighters, dietary fiber to aid digestion and control blood sugar, and vitamin A to protect our eyes.

The bad: A lot of the calories in apricots come from sugars.

The good: There aren’t that many calories, really, in the grand scheme of things, and we need a little sweetness this time of year. If you use canned apricots, rinse off the sugar syrup.

Dried apricots have an even higher concentration of vitamins and nutrients, but are also slightly higher in carbs. Dried apricots are usually treated with sulfites in order to help preserve their shelf life and bright coloring. Untreated dried apricots are much darker in color, and can be found more easily in health food and nutrition stores. Your choice.

Vinny's apricot trifle

Vinny’s apricot trifle

I’ve linked to the original recipe  for an apricot tart, by Thom & Aimee. My version is a bit different. I used a thin slice of angel food cake for the crust. I don’t like a pastry crust and the nut crust I tried instead was a disaster.  I made my custard with evaporated skim milk, not cream. I used Stevia to sweeten the cream and only 80 grams of sugar to sweeten the paste. The result was plenty sweet enough. What else. Oh yes, I used ground dried apricots and candied ginger to flavor the paste, not ground almonds. My technique was a little less demanding, too.

The ginger was terrific and even my picky eater liked it… although he did ask what I ADDED to the custard while forking through a piece of it. I smiled and said nothing. I decorated the top with canned apricots (with the syrup rinsed off), as well as the golden angels. The apricots were too much for the little guy. They were left on the side of the plate. Maybe next time?

Hark, the Herald Tribune sings
Advertising wondrous things
God rest ye merry merchants
May ye make the Yuletide pay
Angels we have heard on high
Tell us to go out and try

Try new nutritious foods and ways of cooking, that is…

 Merry Christmas everyone! Peace and love to all  :)__So says Vinny Grette

PS – If you are interested in having me post the exact recipe, let me know. I could do it up some time soon in the new year.

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