Getting ready for Christmas

It's time to start getting ready for Christmas

It's time to start getting ready for Christmas

Last week I promised to share my Christmas cake recipe with you, as I had a few requests for it, so here it is again. When I started at culinary school all those years ago, I followed the recipe in the curriculum for a Christmas cake. When we got around to eating it on Christmas Day, it just didn’t seem to be as good as the cake that my grandmother makes.

Christmas cake

You guessed it; this is her recipe and the one that I have used ever since. This cake is a rich, dark, moist fruit cake, very flavourful at Christmas. This recipe is started in October or November to let it mellow before the holidays. I find that this is one of the secrets to the flavour.

Ingredients

12 oz candied cherries

8 oz candied mixed citrus peel

2 cups raisins

1 cup dried currants

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped

5 oz blanched slivered almonds

1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup plain flour

2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

6 eggs

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup apple juice

Method

In a medium bowl, mix the cherries, citrus peel, raisins, currants, dates, and almonds. Stir in brandy; let stand two hours, or overnight. Dredge soaked fruit with 1/2 cup flour. Preheat oven to 275 F (135 C ). Grease an 8-inch fruit cake tin, line with parchment paper, and grease again. In a small bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking soda, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter until light. Gradually blend in brown sugar and eggs. Mix together molasses and apple juice. Beat into butter mixture alternately with flour mixture, making four dry and three liquid additions. Fold in floured fruit. Turn batter into prepared tin.

Bake in a preheated oven for three to three and half hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean. Remove from tin, and lift off paper. Cool cake completely, then wrap loosely in waxed paper. Store in an airtight container. A couple of days before Christmas I like to ice the cake. Personally, I keep it simple. I buy the marzipan and icing in the supermarket and roll it on and add decorations that we have used every year, and that’s it. Don’t let the number of ingredients phase you, making your own Christmas cake is very rewarding, and it really is not that hard to do. I hope that you all enjoy this recipe.

Homemade scones

I have also been asked for a basic scone recipe, so this is for you Moira! Now, everybody loves a scone, straight out of the oven with creamy Irish butter. They are so easy to make, so here is my recipe for the perfect scone, go on, and give them a go… They are cheap and easy to make, and moreover so delicious, that you will never buy shop baked scones again. This should make a dozen scones.

Ingredients

8 oz self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2oz butter

2oz sugar

1 oz ground almonds

1 oz sultanas

1 oz Mixed peel

1 egg

Milk to bind

Method

Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingers until you get a light crumbly consistency, and then add the fruit and sugar. Mix the egg and milk together with a fork and add to the dry ingredients, then mix it all together until it forms dough. Roll out the dough on a floured table, and cut the scones with a cutter, and then cook for 10 minutes at 200°C, and sin é as they say. Quick and easy to make

Next week I hope to share my Christmas pudding recipe with you, and if anyone wants a recipe for anything at all, don’t hesitate to contact me on my e-mail, [email protected].

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