What To Do With Leftover Christmas Bakes

What To Do With Leftover Mince Pies & Other Christmas Treats

Is there such a thing as leftovers when it comes to Christmas goodies?  I guess this is possible if you are a generous soul who wants to make sure none of your guests get even the slightest bit peckish, never mind go hungry, and over cater with the mince pies, cake and other delicious festive treats.  In the interests of being environmentally friendly and trying to reduce food waste, we here at Crafty Bug have rounded up some great ideas you could try out if you have any sweet treats “going spare”.

Here are some quick and dirty ideas that should work with pretty much any of your Christmas leftover items (mainly sweet rather than savoury):

  • chop up and fold into softened ice cream and then freeze to harden (Christmas pudding, mince pies, panettone, brioche, fresh fruit, crystallized fruit);
  • turn into a tasty trifle by laying with custard (tinned or from a carton would work well) and cream.  For panettone or brioche, you could drizzle with either a fruit juice or alcohol of choice (amaretto, baileys, sherry, port for starters);
  • use as a filling for croissants for a breakfast treat.  Why not try chopped Christmas cake with a dollop of brandy cream?
  • stir chopped up cake or mince pies through quark for a breakfast or pudding which is a little less sweet;
  • my grandmother was very fond of cutting a slice of cold Christmas Pudding and frying in butter for breakfast on Boxing Day. A knob of clotted cream would add an extra indulgent feel.

Mince Pies

Mince pies are definitely seasonal.  Not sure why you can’t eat them all year round – may be it’s to do with the spicing and the sheer pastryness of it that makes it a festive treat.  Anyway, I think it is possible to have too many mince pies.  A Crafty Bug friend has been involved in taste testing (informally) a whole range of mince pies where she works.  Each day, someone brings in a different supermarket’s offering and everyone has to rank them so she’s definitely getting to the end of her mince pie capacity.

Why might you need to think of what to do with leftover mince pies?  This could be because you don’t particularly like a certain brand or you bought a huge stash to hand out to visitors who all turned out to be dieting!  Rather than just crumble them up for the birds, here are a few creative things if you want to make the most of your stockpile!

I like this pretty straightforward no cook recipe from Katie Byrson recipe where the nearest to cooking is melting the chocolate.  If you wanted to put a spin on it, you could always used a chocolate orange (just in case you have chocolate going spare) and add a dash of Cointreau to the chopped mince pie mix.  It might also work with a digestive biscuit or two added.

https://goodfood.uktv.co.uk/recipe/mince-pie-fridge-cake/Melt half the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave. 2. Pour the melted chocolate into the bottom of the tin and spread out evenly. Put in the fridge until set. 3. Melt the remaining chocolate and add the mince pies, orange zest and nuts, stirring gently to thoroughly combine but without turning it all to mush. 4. Pour over the set layer of chocolate, pressing down to form an even surface and then pop back in the fridge to chill until firm. 5. Turn out onto a chopping board with the chocolate layer on top and cut into 12 squares. Via goodfood.uktv.co.uk

For some more quick and easy ideas, you might like to take a look at the ideas Anna Spurling and blogger Gourmet Girlfriend came up with when they put their heads together.  One you might like to try:

Chop up your mince pies into tiny pieces, mix into softened vanilla ice cream and whack it back into the freezer, ready for your next sweet craving. Via fiveofthebest.com

A small splash of brandy would add that something extra but don’t add too much as alcohol doesn’t help the ice cream freeze well.


Panettone instead of a traditional Christmas cake has become very popular in the UK over recent years.  It’s easy to see why with it’s light, moreish texture, panettone is very easy to eat and doesn’t feel as heavy or stodgy as the more traditional iced fruit cake.  The only thing is: these cakes are rarely small in size and so it is quite easy to end up with leftover panettone.  Well, there are lots of things that can be done should you and your family have tired of eating it in its unadulterated state.

One tried and tested way of making good use of your panettone bread pudding in the style of a traditional “bread and butter” pudding.  There are many different ways of doing this from simply substituting panettone for bread in your usual recipe, to adding a layer of lemon curd to add extra citrusy zing.  Great for lemon fans!

https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2013/12/26/panettone-bread-pudding/Light dawns on Marblehead! Lemon curd. Now I was inspired. I quickly found my recipe for Easy Microwave Lemon Curd (ready in under 10 minutes), and made a half batch. As it cooled and thickened, I soaked cubes of panettone in custard. Bread and custard were scooped into a loaf pan, followed by dollops of lemon curd; more bread and custard, then coarse sparkling sugar on top. Forty-five minutes in the oven, 30 minutes to set and cool, and delizioso! Panettone Bread Pudding with Lemon Filling was born. Via blog.kingarthurflour.com

Another way to use up leftover panettone is this recipe by David Lebovitz which adds caramelization and sounds rather scrumptious!  The addition of ice cream to serve melting over the top is surely a winner.  David says:

https://www.davidlebovitz.com/caramelized-panettone-bread-pudding-recipe/It’s that time of the year, when you may be gifted one too many panettoni. And while you might not think it’s possible to have too much panettone, this is a welcome reprieve from French toast or panettone ice cream, if you do find yourself with an overload of loaves. With a base of panettone, this caramelized bread pudding is a great way to use the fruit-studded Italian bread. Delicious with ice cream or on its own! Via davidlebovitz.com

One final (for now!) “what to make with leftover panettone” is Gennaro Contaldo’s Panettone Zucotto Christmas Pudding! I think this is one I will need to try this year. Having bought myself a panettone for the first time ever, I then received a second, identical one, as a gift! Which was, of course, rather lovely and will afford me the opportunity to try out some of these yummy panettone recipes.  This Zucotto pudding is a bit like an Italian version of summer pudding, made with ricotta rather than fruit and panettone rather than bread.  But it looks pretty easy to make and would make a alternative dessert to Christmas pudding when something lighter is needed.

If you have been gifted with some Stollen, and haven’t managed to finish it up in its natural state, the above panettone ideas and recipes should work equally well with Stollen.


It’s possible that you may find you haven’t needed to make as many mince pies as you thought you would be making and so have a jar or two of leftover mincemeat that could usefully be turned into something other than mince pies.  After all, you’ve done mince pies for the season and fancy something different.

This tutorial for mincemeat shortbread bars is a little longer at nearly 14 minutes than some video demonstrations but you are taken through all the steps needed to make these delicious bars in a well guided manner.

Of course, mincemeat is great in baked apples: simply core a cooking apple, stuff with mincemeat, dot with butter, sprinkle with sugar and bake! It also goes well in a bread and butter pudding: when layering the bread (or brioche), add in a layer of mincemeat making sure you finish with a bread layer.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding does, of course, keep well for a long while.  In fact, it’s always best made well in advance.  In our family, when I was growing up, my mother would always make her Christmas puddings in the run up to Christmas, with everyone in the family have a stir and a wish.  But these were for the following year as we had one for Christmas Day that was at least a year old.  Well matured!

Here’s my first idea for how to use up Christmas pudding leftovers, spotted on BBC GoodFood. As this recipe calls for a couple of tablespoonfuls of Baileys, it’s also a great way to use up any of this liqueur should you be finding it difficult to work your way down the bottle.  This strudel would be delicious served with ice cream, cream or custard.  Possibly a dollop of brandy cream would work well here:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/886635/christmas-pudding-strudelGive your Christmas pud leftovers a second life with this easy strudel recipe. Mix the pudding, mascarpone and Baileys. Lay out a sheet of filo on a large flat baking tray, brush with some melted butter and lay another sheet on top. Repeat with more butter and filo until you have 4 layers. Via bbcgoodfood.com

This next recipe sounds like a definite win! Who doesn’t love anything made with chocolate and cornflakes? Most people have a packet of cornflakes in the cupboard which should make these Chocolate Cornflake Christmas Pudding Cakes easy to make without having to buy any special ingredients.  Not one to rustle up immediately as it will need chilling time but other than that, a straight forward make.

Note that if you are buying the cornflakes and chocolate specifically for preparing this recipe, there is no need to buy brand names or expensive cooking chocolate. Supermarket cornflakes and a chocolate flavoured coating (at less than half the price) were used in this instance. Via  delishably.com

Using up leftovers works best when you can simply open the kitchen cupboards, fish out a few storecupboard items and use them to work with your particular leftover item to create a dish that’s tasty and, ideally, quick and easy. This flapjack recipe does just that: it uses regular staples such as oats, golden syrup, dried fruits and nuts. And you’re bound to have an apple sitting in a bowl just waiting for its moment of glory!

http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/2015/12/christmas-pudding-flapjacks.htmlI always end up with leftover Christmas pudding … but I have not made flapjacks before. Having made mincemeat flapjacks to use up my leftover … jar of mincemeat, I was confident that leftover Christmas pudding would work just as well inside a flapjack. I added some extra ingredients such as grated apple, sultanas, cranberries and some roasted hazelnuts to make these flapjacks full of flavour and to ensure they were moist too. Plus everything I used were all in my kitchen cupboards and leftover from making my Christmas puddings, so this recipe is a great way of using up leftovers in more ways than one. Via mummymishaps.co.uk

Cookies or Biscuits

At Christmas, we all like to make sure we have plenty of food in the cupboard not only for family but for visitors, expected or unexpected and biscuits or cookies make a great standby for such occasions.  And of course, tins of shortbread or tubes of chocolate chip cookies make excellent gifts so don’t be surprised if you receive some in your Christmas stocking!

Should you find yourself oversupplied with cookies, here are some quick ideas as a way to eat them up without having to dunk them in your tea!

  • use them to make an ice cream sandwich by slotting a block of ice cream between them;
  • crumble up and use as an impromptu crumble topping for cooked fruit;
  • add into any fridge cake type recipe you may have.

This idea below, for turning leftover cookies (particularly if they’ve gone a bit stale) into a sweet version of a crouton, is a great idea and worth trying:

Christmas is over and we’ve entered a bleak time of year full of gifts being returned, dried-out Christmas trees at the curb, and the saddest story of all, the Christmas cookies gone stale. But because I believe that cookies deserve at least the same courtesy given to stale bread, I humbly present the leftover Christmas cookie crouton.

Though they follow the same general idea as savory croutons—baking and flavoring dried-out carbohydrates to give them a second wind—this version is composed entirely of sweet ingredients. The applications for these crunchy, sweet little nuggets are virtually endless—they can be used as an ice cream topping, a rich eggnog or hot chocolate garnish, or as a buttery delight all their own. Via seriouseats.com


So, what to do with leftover marzipan? Just in case you have any marzipan spare from icing the Christmas cake, here are some thoughts on how to use up those last scraps. Personally, I very much doubt I would ever be in this position as I do rather love the stuff and would simply pick bits off and nibble away until there’s only the empty packet left!

You could get creative, fish out the food colouring and make some marzipan fruits – either for you and your family or these would make a super last minute gift. Assuming the recipient doesn’t have a nut allergy of course.

I’ve found this video below which shows you how to make marzipan apples, pears and oranges. It only takes around 3 1/2 minutes to watch and demonstrates the process really well. In fact, it all looks so straightforward, I may even be tempted to have a go myself. Most challenging bit: “painting” the colour onto the shaped fruits so this would very much suit someone with an artistic bent (although to be honest, how wrong can you go with putting a bit of yellow on a pear?); standout moment for me: how to get the textured dimples on the oranges by using a cheesegrater – who knew?

If you have made your own mince pies you could always use some crumbled marzipan as a topping instead of pastry. Or to jazz up shop bought ones, simply remove the pastry lids (the birds would welcome these as festive treat I’m sure) and top with the marzipan.

Christmas Cake / Fruit Cake

A traditional fruit based Christmas Cake is great to have as part of the festive offerings.  But there are some people who aren’t quite so keen on fruit cakes and, to be honest, they can be quite filling on top of other Christmas goodies, so it’s not unusual to find such cakes take a while to be eaten up.  It’s not a bad thing, to have a couple of ideas up your sleeve for transforming leftover cake into something everyone will want!

It’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t like chocolate so these Boozy Christmas Cake Truffles are bound to be a winner.

https://www.foodandthefabulous.com/food/boozy-christmas-cake-truffles-easy-and-resourceful/Easy and resourceful – two things you may not want to be referred to as in the same breath. But, these truffles certainly are.   Left over Christmas cake is splashed with Port (or brandy), rolled into balls and dipped into a clever mixture of equal parts 70% couveture and white chocolate. This ensures the chocolate isn’t too harsh and bitter a partner, but not sickly sweet either. However, the point is to use up left overs, so please use whatever you have at hand. Also, this is a nice way to use up Christmas cake that could ordinarily be thrown away or left in the freezer to collect freezer whiffs for months to come. Via foodandthefabulous.com

You could turn the above truffles into cake pops too as a different way of serving them.

Many of the recipe ideas already mentioned above would work well with a Christmas fruit cake.  Trifles, bread and butter puddings, fridge cake, even a crumble are other ways of using up leftover fruit cake.

Fruit & Nuts

Christmas is a time when people tend to buy fruit either in a bid to temper the general overindulgence or because they always have!  For example, some people traditionally buy dates and dried figs but don’t really eat these routinely and end up with packets left over once the guests have gone home.  We always had a selection of nuts in their shells and often these didn’t get eaten up.  I think the brazil nuts often lasted until Easter!  Some thoughts on helping to reduce any leftovers:

  • I like chopped nuts mixed with seeds as a topping for plain yoghurt as a weekday breakfast;
  • Toasting pecans and hazelnuts adds extra flavour and crunch.  I tend to use a non-stick frying pan on a fairly high heat – don’t take your eye off them, though as they will burn as soon as you look away!
  • Chopped dates or figs are also great with yoghurt or a tasty topping for porridge;
  • Dried fruit such as dates, prunes or apricots can be sprinkled over panettone or stollen when making a leftovers trifle;
  • Take a handful of nuts to work as a healthy snack to stave off visits to the chocolate machine!
  • I like adding a couple of dates to a smoothie to add sweetness instead of using honey or syrup.  And they add extra fibre too.  Simply blitz together almond milk, a couple of tablespoonfuls of almond butter, 2 tablespoonfuls of oats with some frozen blueberries and you have instant breakfast.

If you have ended up with some leftover cakes, mince pies or similar after the festive period, I hope you find something here to tempt you into making something tasty to empty out your larder or free up space on your cupboard shelves.