Stir-up Monday….?!

I am a little bit behind with the Christmas Cake and Pudding  making.

I had the fruit all soaking in alcohol over the weekend but only got round to the Great Christmas Bake Off today.

When it comes to Christmas my husband makes the same joke every year – when are you going to write to Delia to thank her for Christmas.   I do use a lot of her recipes but I also use some recipes from Nigella.

My Christmas pudding is based on the classic Christmas pudding recipe from Delia in her first Christmas book, but I do adapt it a little.

Christmas Pudding

110g Shredded Suet

50g self raising flour

110g white breadcrumbs

Teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

225g Soft brown sugar

520g dried fruit (including candied peel)

25g Chopped almonds

1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped

Zest of an orange

Zest of a lemon

2 eggs

200ml Sherry

These are my amounts – I use a bit more spice than Delia and she gives specifics about how the dried fruit should be split – what weight of raisins to currants etc.   I buy the mixed bag of it all in together and use that to the same overall weight.   She also uses barley wine, stout and rum whereas I always have used sherry – and it has always tasted great.

Put all the ingredients in a big bowl, mix well and cover with the alcohol and leave for at least 24 hours.  Then put the mix in a greased pudding bowl, cover with baking parchment and tin foil (tied on tight as a lid) and steam for eight hours.

The house has smelt wonderful today with this simmering away.

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When it comes to my Christmas Cake I do a variation on a Nigella recipe (from her How to be a Domestic Goddess book)

Christmas cake:

610gs of mixed fruit (including mixed peel and 50g glace cherries)

100ml Sherry

110g butter

90g brown sugar

zest of one orange

zest of one lemon

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons homemade marmalade

250g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon almond essence

I soak the fruit in the sherry for at least 24 hours.   Then cream the butter and sugar and then add orange and lemon zest.    Beat the eggs in one at a time and then add the marmalade.    Sift the dry ingredients together then combine the dry ingredients, the beaten wet ingredients and the soaked fruit bit by bit until well combined.  Then add the almond essence and mix well – by this time you will have a very achey arm!

Make sure you have lined your cake tin well (the above amount is for a 18cm round tin).  You need to line the tin with two lots of brown paper on the bottom and round the sides and then one layer of baking parchment.   The pour your mixture in to the cake tin.    Then place a circle of baking parchment and two circles of brown paper on the top of your mixture (with a small hole [about the size of a 50p piece so that the steam can escape).  Put in the oven (at 150) for 2 – 2 1//2 hours.

As soon as it is cooked pour over a little more alcohol of your choice and then wrap the whole lot (still in its cake tin with all the paper) in tin foil – do two lots of tin foil.   This means that the steam created as it cools is trapped in and makes the cake super moist and wonderful.    Do not unwrap it until it is completely cold.  Then remove it from the tin, peel off all the paper, rewrap in tin foil and store in an airtight container – taking it out once a week to give it a little drink.

 

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So a productive day with important Christmas bakes done.   I will marzipan, ice and decorate the cake in due course (and probably blog it!).

I hope you all had a good Monday.

Until tomorrow….

www.natural-alchemy.co.uk

 

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