Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat……..
‘Tis the season to be jolly….
Christmas -I think it’s the only universal festive season, or rather its the right tonic for all our souls – where families get together, traditions are shared, the joy of just being together and above all -most importantly- where the planning begins for the following Christmas. Children make plans to fly down to be with their parents, tickets are booked well in advance and its the time of the year where we all try and be at home – it maybe only for a couple of days but still…. the same goes for my big family too- other than my brother in Abudhabi and my sister in Delhi -in spite of all the planning – cannot make it home Xmas after Xmas – the others do get together – children included. It’s one big party……. we really miss having them around.
When I think of Christmas cake – a very special person too is thought of very dearly – none other than my aunty -Rosalie – my moms younger sister and only sibling. Aunty is just one of a kind – the stories she has shared with us – aunty used to soak her fruits in September and not in grams – in kilograms – all cleaned and weighed – then she used to bring the batter together and then start baking – wrapping it up and it used to remain as fresh as ever even in February-March – in fact it used to taste better. I can go on about aunty – in her younger days, she used to throw these dinners for 40-50 people and turn out the most amazing appams single handedly, bakes, Goan Prawn curry, Punjabi chicken- to name a few of her favourites – the list is endless. In spite of a few health issues and limited movement, today too, when aunty hears her son is coming down from US – it could be only for a couple of days but she is planning -what go cook ahead, what to freeze and of course appam is on the list. Absolute will power ……to say the least. May God bless you Aunty. You are very dear to us.
This is one of the simpler recipes for a Christmas cake , a recipe I’d like all of you to try out – it’s not too late. Will share a few tricks in Chefs tips:
- Butter- 300 gram
- Sugar – 300 grams
- Flour – 300 grams
- Baking powder – 2 tsp
- Soaked fruits – 500grams- (Plums, raisins, currants, orange peel, ginger peel, cashew nuts – all minced and soaked in brandy for a week to a month)
- Almond, lemon and vanilla essence -1 tsp each
- Caramelised sugar syrup – 3/4 cup
( caramelise 3/4 c of sugar with 2 tbsp of water till dark brown )
- Cream butter and powdered sugar till light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- Add all the essences and mix well.
- Fold the fruits with half a cup of flour and keep aside.
- Add flour sifted with baking powder alternating with caramelised sugar syrup and minced and soaked fruit.
- Preheat oven to 180 def.c
- Take a cake tin and line with butter paper- base and sides
- Fill the cake tin with cake batter leaving 2 inches for the cake to rise.
- Bake for an hour or so till the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and keep to cool covered by a paper.
- In case you have not soaked the fruits beforehand, clean and mince the fruits and soak in orange juice. Microwave for 4-5 minutes till soft. Your fruit is ready to be added.
- Rum/ brandy can be added directly to the batter.
- Do not remove the butter paper once the cake is ready.
- When the cake has cooled down, wrap the cakes and seal edges with cellophane tape. Store in an air- tight container and open at Christmas.
- Do not open the oven while baking, the fruits could sink to the bottom.
- Fold in the soaked fruits in some flour before adding to the batter.
- If the sugar syrup crystallises, add hot water to melt it down again – half a cup at a time.
- Do not expect the texture to be light and airy.
I love everything about Christmas. The Christmas spirit- you can feel it, you can see it, you can hear it.
Till my next post,