and some of this
and probably some of this
The pudding is the one I've always made, rich dark and traditional. Note I avoided the obvious joke about boyfriends.
The mincemeat is very citrussy, and so much better than anything you can buy in the shops it's well worth the small effort of making. You used to be able to buy a halfway decent mincemeat and just jazz it up with a bit of brandy but all the ones I see nowadays (I hate using that word) but nowadays, they all seem to be made with mouth puckering artificial flavours and some kind of gluey stuff to thicken it up. Yuk.
And my cake this year is a bit Brazilian in theme, (did I mention I went to Brazil...)Not that I imagine they have anything like English Christmas cake in Brazil, but whilst I was there I picked up some of this in the market..
Its a Brazilian sweet which is basically a solidified chunk of sugar cane. It has a lovely rich treacly flavour so I thought I would incorporate some of it into my Christmas cake. If you don't happen to have any Rapadura Caipira on hand you can use Billington's unrefined dark brown sugar, or Muscovado.
If you're going to do all three, I think the most sensible way to go about it is to do all of them together, spread over a couple of days as they all involve soaking fruit in various alcoholic liquids to swell them up and ensure a moist, flavourfull result. A slight side effect of this is that your kitchen smells like a distillery with great vats of alcoholic dried fruit macerating in various bowls, which I rather like. So anyway you will need three large bowls.
Bowl 1 Christmas Pudding
The pudding is essentially the same incendiary device that I've made for years, you either love it or hate it, but it's dark, traditional and spicy, and for many years when my children were young I made it and brought it out only to set it on fire for the sake of tradition, and return it to the kitchen untouched, except by me. I detect a slightly more enthusiastic audience for it these days, and anyway I still love it, with a big blob of clotted cream gently melting over it. I can hardly wait.
1 lb of mixed dried fruit, about half of it currants, a small amount of dried peel, (about an ounce) and the rest sultanas and raisins.
zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
half a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 oz soft dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon black treacle or molasses
a glug of rum
2 oz ground almonds
4 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
2 oz flour
4 oz shredded suet
half a pint of barley wine or stout or Old Peculiar
a 2 pint/1 litre pudding bowl - if you use a plastic one with a lid you can dispense with the greaseproof covering in the picture providing you don't lose the lid, like some people.
In bowl number 2 Mincemeat
I make a lot of mincemeat, because I need a lot of mince pies for one reason or another, we just get through loads of them. I always like to have some to offer people around Christmas and New Year, I expect people get fed up of them, but it's Christmas, you have to have mince pies, it's the law.
2 lbs of mixed dried fruit, this time you need predominantly raisins about half, and the rest currants and sultanas and a small amount of dried candied peel.
8 oz shredded suet
12 oz granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses or black treacle
zest and juice of 2 oranges and 3 lemons depending on size
4 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
half teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
half a teaspoon ground cloves
1 lb peeled and grated bramley apples
2 oz chopped glace cherries
large glug of rum
Bowl 3 Christmas cake
As I'm trying out a slightly different recipe this year I will report back after it's done, and let you know if it's ok or whether you might be better off going to someone else's house for Christmas Tea.