Christmas Baking

As promised, just a little bit later than promised, a post about my Christmas baking!

Four recipes today, two that are pure Christmas and the other two ideal to make anytime!

The first is the basic Christmas Cake. A warning on this recipe, you need a BIG tin, or two smaller ones. It makes A LOT anyway! You’ll also need to line the tin with a few layers of newspaper or something before your baking paper lining to help protect it. I make this cake in my soup pot because it’s the only thing I have big enough to hold all the fruit. The best thing about this recipe is its all over with in less than a day, you don’t have to stew the fruit for weeks beforehand like some Christmas cake recipes I’ve seen.

Christmas Cake

Recipe:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup hot water
250g (1/2 pound) butter
1 tab golden syrup
1.5kg (3 pound) mixed fruit

Boil this for 10 minutes and then cool.

Add,
4 beaten eggs and essences like almond, brandy, vanilla and mix all together

Then add,
500g (1 pound) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 small teaspoon curry powder

Bake at 3 ½ hours at approx. 130°c. Test with a knife. When cake has cooled pour over a couple of spoons of whiskey or sherry. Leave in the tin until quite cool.

Next up, probably my husband’s favourite of my baking recipes. The Christmas Mince Pie.

Christmas Mince Pie

To make the fruit mince:
40g raisins
60g soft brown sugar
30g sultanas
50g mixed peel
1 tablespoon currants
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
1 small apple, grated
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp mixed spice
25g butter
1 tbsp brandy

Throw it all into a pot (I make several quantities at once and again I use the soup pot), melt the butter down, mix it up. It’s that easy. I then put it into hot sterilised jars and seal (because I make it way in advance). If you wanted to use straight away you can just melt the butter separately and mix that into the fruit (it doesn’t all need heating).

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
150g chilled butter, cubed
85g icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons iced water

Throw the flour and butter into the food processor and whizz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add the icing sugar and give a quick whizz. Add the water gradually, whizzing until it starts coming together. (*Yes, whizz appears to be the word of the day). This step can be done by hand if you have the patience or no food processor (though I don’t know how you’d live without one!)

Turn out onto floured bench, gather into a ball. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and cut rounds (x24) larger than the holes in a mini muffin tin.

At some point prior to now you should have also greased two 12-hole mini muffin tins and preheated the oven to 180°C. (sorry about that)

Fit the pastry into the tins, spoon in some mince. Roll out remaining pastry to make tops. I make little stars (as you’ll see in the picture. You can do whole tops if you’d like, or maybe you have another Christmas themed cutter you can use).

Bake approx 20 minutes (I notice where I have the recipe written it says 25 minutes, but in honesty I only do mine for 18 minutes – but then I have an often cranky oven).

These pies freeze really well also, so you can make them well in advance. Or you can be like me and have three jars of mince (equal to 180 little pies) left to use in the week before Christmas. Clearly I’m not as organised as last year. Oh and 180 pies isn’t that many, not when you see how fast they get eaten!

Now, the next two recipes are truffles and as I said earlier, these make great anytime recipes! I tend to make them when I’m going to someone’s house for dinner. They are quick and easy and most importantly, delicious!

White Chocolate and Chocolate Coconut Truffles

White Chocolate Truffles
1/4 C cream
250g white chocolate
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
lemon and almond essences
1/4 C desiccated coconut
1/4 ground almonds
Coating: coconut, icing sugar or white chocolate

Place cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has metled. Remove bowl from heat and stir in lemon zest and essences, then coconut and almonds. Chill until mixture is firm enough to handle (45-60 minutes). Roll into small balls (small is good because they are SO rich!), then roll in coconut, icing sugar or white chocolate to coat. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Easy as pie (or truffles as the case may be!)

The next truffle is a Chocolate Coconut Truffle.
125g wine biscuits
100g butter, softened
1/4 C cocoa
1 C icing sugar
1/2 C desiccated coconut
2 Tbsp orange juice
coconut for coating

Put the biscuits in that trusty food processor and whizz until crumbs (you could smash them with a rolling pin while they are safely encased in a plastic bag if you need the therapy, but to be honest its hard work and I’m lazy). Add the remaining ingredients, except the extra coconut and whizz some more. Put in the fridge for a little while (10 minutes or so) then roll into balls and coat with coconut. Store in the fridge or freezer.

I’m just going to note here, that normally I don’t like coconut in things, but I do love these chocolate coconut truffles. How very strange!

Anyway, this will likely be my last post before Christmas and I probably won’t be posting again before mid January at the earliest, so I hope you have a FANTASTIC Christmas and New Year. I’ll have all sorts of exciting things to post about in the new year with my Christmas present round up, plus I’ll be tackling my first ever wedding cake for a very close friend (eeek!)

Enjoy the holidays!

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