Glazed Nut Topping

This is suitable for all cakes but is especially good on the Creole Christmas Cake, which is too rich to cope with marzipan or even sweet icing.

Glazed Nut Topping
 45 pecan nut halves
 15 whole Brazil nuts
 16 walnut halves
 1 heaped tablespoon apricot jam
 2 tablespoons brandy


First of all pre-heat the grill and lightly toast the pecans and Brazils, which not only gives them a better colour but a nicer flavour too. Be very careful, though, to watch them like a hawk: they really only need a couple of minutes if the grill is very hot and they should be pale gold rather than deep brown!
Whilst they're cooling, place the apricot jam and brandy in a small saucepan and heat them gently together, whisking until they're thoroughly blended.
Now, using a brush, paint some of the mixture all over the surface of the cake. Then arrange the nuts in whatever pattern you like. There's room for real artistic licence here, so if you're not that way inclined you could rope in someone else – this bit, after all, does not involve cooking, just purely artistic talent. Finally, brush all the beautifully arranged nuts with lots more glaze, then store the cake in an airtight container until it's needed. The brandy acts as a preservative and the topping will keep well (stored in a cool place) for several weeks. Don't worry about the keeping quality of this glaze – we have stored glazed cakes for three months and they were still in beautiful condition.
_This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Christmas_.

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