It can be frowned upon to talk about Christmas too much before December but for some things it’s essential not least for anyone making Christmas cakes and puddings or chutneys or anything from the kitchen to give as gifts. So the following recipes are not only delicious but help serve as a timely reminder that we need to get a move on!
A big thanks to Margaret Armstrong for donating the Christmas pudding and cake recipes. She told us: “Both these recipes were used by my maternal grandmother and mother, both of whom made them for family members and neighbours. I have now taken over the recipes and followed their tradition of making them for family and friends.”
2 lbs 8 ozs mixed dried fruit (Sultanas, Currants, Raisins, finely chopped Apricots, dried Cranberries) use your choice and combination.
2 teaspoons Cross and Blackwell Gravy Browning (NOT gravy mix!!)
Soak all the dried fruit, nuts and spices in a bowl with the whiskey or Old Ale and gravy browning. Cover and leave overnight, stirring occasionally.
Sieve the flour into the above mixture and mix. Add the sugar, breadcrumbs, lemon rind and suet. Add the grated carrot and the grated cooking apple, stir well. Beat the eggs and stir well into the mixture.
At this stage you may like to ask the children to stir the pudding mixture 3 times and make a wish (NOT for themselves)
Grease the pudding bowl or bowls. This recipe will make 1 x 4 pint, 2 x 2 pint or 4 x 1 pint puddings. Cover with greaseproof paper then foil. Boil or steam for four to eight hours depending on size. Uncover and leave to cool. Re-cover with new paper and foil and store in a cool dry place.
Steam or boil for a further 3 hrs on Christmas Day and serve with your favourite sauce.
Christmas Cake (can also be used for Wedding Cake)
3lbs 6ozs mixed dried fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins, finely chopped apricots, dried cranberries – your choice and combination)
4ozs chopped mixed candied peel
4ozs glacé cherries (chopped)
2 teaspoons Cross and Blackwell gravy browning (not gravy mix!!)
Place all the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the three tablespoons of brandy. Add the two teaspoons of gravy browning. Cover and leave to soak turning occasionally.
Prepare Cake tin using double layer of greaseproof paper. 7 inch square or 7 inch round tins.
Turn on oven to 170 C.
Weigh out all ingredients before beginning. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir in the grated lemon rind. Whisk the eggs and GRADUALLY whisk into the mixture incorporating well each time, add a little of the flour if the mixture shows signs of ‘curdling’. Mix the spices with the flour and sieve gradually and stir into the mixture. Stir in the nuts, dried fruit, candied peel and glace cherries.
Pack the mixture firmly into the prepared tin. Cover the outside of the tin in double layer of brown paper, cover the top of the cake with double layer grease proof paper. Place in preheated oven at 170c for one hour then reduce the temperature to 150c and cook for a further two hours.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from tin. Store in airtight tin until covering with Marzipan and Icing.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of spirit of your choice over the cake weekly for the next two to three weeks.
And don’t forget if you’re the hard working cook in the kitchen a treat of mulled drinks might help set the festive mood!