Christmas baking started. Page 1 / 2

timetable, Oct 6, 9:20pm
what about you? whats on the list this year.

biggles45, Oct 6, 9:46pm
Just put my fruit for the Christmas cake to soak in brandy, so the cake will be made tomorrow. Other baking will be done just before Christmas, eg mince pies, chocolate spheres filled with fresh fruit and mousse.

autumnwinds, Oct 6, 9:47pm
Christmas Mincemeat maturing nicely - it's double the recipe for the AWW Whisky Christmas cake, lightened up a bit with a number of grated apples, and I use brandy instead of whisky. 1/2 of it's for a cakee, to be made in next couple of weeks, then drench. sorry, fed with brandy, wrapped on clean teatowels, kept in the pantry and fed 1/4 cup brandy each week until Christmas. I love a good, moist cake.

Orange and chrystallised ginger (again, double mix) is in rolls in the freezer, ready to be taken out, thawed and baked, for gifts before Christmas - it's ovely with blue cheese, as well as coffee.

Made 2 lots of jam recently - Pumpkin, pineapple, passionfruit and Apricot for one, feijoa (from stash in freezer) for another.

So yeah, on the way, and under control.

kay141, Oct 6, 9:50pm
Nothing here. I don't bake as nobody eats it.

autumnwinds, Oct 7, 12:11pm
I find fresh home cooking is always well received as a gift.

This coming week it'll be making the special (very light and tender) Christmas mince pie pastry, making rolls for easy storage, and into the freezer, and doing the same thing for a couple of batches of biscotti mix (one with nuts/cranberries, the other with chocolate chips).

The joy of the prep now, when it's still not too hot, is having the prepped biscuit bases or pastry ready to thaw and cook, when life is getting frantic closer to Christmas. Saves time, stress, makes the actual cooking process far more enjoyable, and is easier on the budget, getting and doing a bit each week, rather than having a couple of enormous grocery bills much closer to Christmas.

strowan1, Oct 7, 7:10pm
Good on you Kay, love your honesty!

wasgonna, Oct 7, 10:41pm
Are you really that bad?

hidecote01, Oct 7, 10:45pm
Could we give Christmas a miss this year. Too near last year.

buzzy110, Oct 7, 11:23pm
Autumnwinds you are legend. I prefer my own homemade Christmas mince to the bought stuff which is tasteless and for some reason, stodgy. Like you I also make sweet short plus flaky puff pastry over the winter months. Butter melts or goes too soft for pastry making in the summer. I agree with you about pre-made pastry making the baking experience much more pleasant. I make rectangle sheets of puff and like you, logs of the sweet pastry.

I wish I had a decent fruitcake recipe. I have tried many since my mother passed away and none have even come close to her version, which I didn't inherit and my sister won't share so I don't make one anymore.

Luckily, I don't have to make as many mince pies as I used to and I no longer make steamed pudding. My mother used to make them in October and hang them in their cloths, on the clothesline for a few weeks to 'mature'. I'm crap at those (or my mother was just so damn good) so they have been consigned to history. Sigh.

We don't have a lot of desserts or sweets for Christmas anymore but I do make butterscotch with chocolate melted onto the top when it is still hot in the tin and chopped macadamia nuts on the bottom - which I put into the tin first. I'm not a sweets sort of person but it is a fight-the-family-for Christmas treat. That gets made a couple of days ahead so that it is in best condition for the big day.

Soon I will purchase a large, whole salmon, butterfly it and remove all the bones then freeze, ready for the big day. Not baking, I know but still prep.

buzzy110, Oct 7, 11:28pm
I almost forgot. I also buy about 3 small free range chickens fresh. I de-bone, but otherwise leave intact and the drumstick in and freeze those as well. If we are unable to dive for crayfish then they are my back up plan along with as many dozens of fresh oysters as required from the local oyster farm.

valentino, Oct 8, 12:00am
Looking like a smaller group at my home this year so started looking at various dishes, sweets including diabetic ones, and some celebrated items such as cake, nibbles etc. Oh Drinks too.


kay34, Oct 8, 12:19am
Fruit for xmas cakes has been soaking for 3 weeks, redy for the xmas cake marathon labour weekend. Thinking bout flagging turkey this year and doing ham on the bone and a lamb salad. Cheesecake, trifle, and ice creams for desserts

popeye333, Oct 8, 12:23am
Ive done 3 cakes and 8 dozen fruit mince pies. friends have theirs already. Ours are tucked away in the freezers.
I use Alsion holsts Cooke mincemeat recipe and her pastry recipe in her christmas cookbooks. I only use as much pastry as it takes to hold the fruit mince in. I like less pastry more fruit.
The christmas cake is from Aunt daisies cookbook. Thinks its called christmas Cake (moist) . Ive made that one for many many years.

I want to do truffles this year, so if anyone has some nice recipes please let me know.
I want to make shortbread stars and moons, but I want to find a cake shop for sliver cascious (cashews, not spelt right). Cos the ones NW has a huge. Cos I want to dunk a corner in chocolate and decorate with the silver balls.

And I will make a half of a mix of Chirtsmas snow, cos Im the only one that eats it here.
I like to get as much done before the summer heat hits.

Have the ham in the freezer too. But still undecided as to what we will have for the main meal. we eat a christmas lunch at midday and have trifle for dinnertime. I have all the indregients for the trifle too

mausymoo, Oct 8, 1:04am
Autumnwinds what is your pastry recipe? Would like to try it and how many pies does it make. Thanks.

diamondgirl06, Oct 8, 3:52am
Could you also post your recipe for candied ginger and orange peel ?
I'd love to give those a try this year.

biscuitd, Oct 8, 4:00am
Oooooooh. just gained 10 kgs reading the above posts!

Would anybody have a nice recipe for a fruit chrissy cake that does not contain alcohol (teetoller relative coming for Christmas) that I could make well ahead of time?

Eternally grateful!

valentino, Oct 8, 4:44am
For biscuit.
From Juliewn is this recipe and is very popular for those not keen on any alcohol within. can add more fruit to personal liking too.

A Very nice Christmas Cake
Best eaten when refrigerated for at least a day or overnight.

Best to divide the recipe in half noted within ( ) and do a smaller but still a good size cake.

It makes either a very large (roasting tin at least) cake, or three medium cakes - which is what I do.
No sugar or eggs are in this recipe. It freezes beautifully and can be made now and frozen for Christmas if you wish - or eat one now, one for Christmas and one for - well whenever you feel like some yummy moist fruit cake!
I lightly grease three tins - round or square; and line the bottom of each with baking paper. Line the sides with baking paper also, bringing the baking paper 2-3 inches higher than the sides of the tins.
Use a little butter to stick the edges of the paper together.

I then cut wide strips of newspaper - the same width as the height of the baking paper - and about 10-12 sheets thick, and staple those around the outside of each tin, until you have a thick band of newspaper around the outside.
Also use those cardboards from Pizzas, ideal for extra insulation top and bottom of cake directly.
Then about 6 to 10 pages of Newspaper on top of cardboard then an oven tray and same for under the cake.

The day before baking, place 1.75kg (1kg) dried fruit in a large bowl.
I make my own mix – a packet of chopped red cherries, then sultanas, raisins, and currants to make the 1.75kg (1kg). Add two cans (1 can) of crushed pineapple (juice also) and stir well.
Cover and leave to stand – the fruit will absorb the liquid.

When ready to make - heat oven to 120°C. Place the oven rack on the second level from the bottom, and place a biscuit tray on this. In a large microwave bowl, place 500gms (250 Grams) butter chopped roughly,
2 tsp (1tsp)nutmeg, 2 tsp (1 tsp) cinnamon, 2 tsp (1 Tsp) mixed spice, and 2 cups (1 cup) water.
Zap on high till the butter is melted. Stir together. Add 2 tins (1 Tin) sweetened condensed milk, 2 tsp (1 Tsp) baking soda and 1 more cup (1/2 Cup )of cold water. Stir well. Pour this into the fruit mix and stir together.
Sift and add 4 cups (2 Cups) flour, 4 tsp (2 tsp)baking powder & ½ tsp ( ¼ tsp) salt. Stir well. Divide the mix between the tins. Use a spoon to press the mix down well, and leave the mix level across the top. On the biscuit tray in the oven, place a thick whole section of a newspaper – about 10 layers thick. Fold it so it’s level.

Place the three tins on this, and place another section, about the same thickness, on the top. The thick sides of the newspaper around the tins will support the newspaper on top.
It will go light brown during cooking – won’t burn though at this temperature.
Bake for minimum of 3 hours, perhaps up to 6 or 7 hours depending on age of oven and always check with a skewer – continue cooking till the skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, and cover the tins with a tea towel, and leave overnight in the tin to cool.
Remove from tins carefully.
If wanting to freeze, wrap the cake in at least two layers of plastic wrap, then in tin foil.
Place in a container, or a plastic bag, and freeze on a flat surface till needed.
Thaw overnight for delicious moist fruit cake and ready as is or for icing.

autumnwinds, Oct 8, 5:33am
You're welcome. but "howw many does it make" is a bit like "how long is a piece of string". I usually make a double mix, roll some out after being i the fridge to line a flan dish, then weigh that, and pack it for freezer labelled :flan pastry".

IDEAL PASTRY for flans and fruit mince pies
This is easy to make, it’s soft but slightly crisp when warmed, has a delicate melt-in-the mouth texture, and stores well in the fridge or freezer. Absolutely perfect for Christmas Mince Pies, but equally great for mini or larger fruit or custard flans. Recipe can easily be doubled and made ahead of time, making life easier when you’re in a rush.

650 gm (1lb 5oz) plain flour
225 gm (7 ozs) icing sugar
400 gm (13 oz) butter
1 egg
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla, if desirec

Cream butter and icing sugar, add sifted dry ingredients, mix until like breadcrumbs, and then add beaten egg.

Knead to combine thoroughly then form roll (s) and wrap in glad wrap or baking paper. Keep your hands as cool as possible. Let rest in fridge before use.

Keeps well in fridge, and freezes well. Makes a large amount of small mince pies.

Enjoy - but remember very delicate! Don’t over roll and the cool of an evening is better than a hot day for using this pastry.

samanya, Oct 8, 5:40am
Hiya AW (waiting in suspense)? ;o) ;o)
That pastry recipe sounds great.
I (nearly) always make my own pastry, but it's usually the savoury type, but I am going to save this & give it a go for the occasions that I have guests over.

music_note, Oct 9, 10:11am
Fruit and other ingredients waiting to make the cake soon, looking forward to the work, and the fragrance in the house as it bakes. :-)

valentino, Oct 29, 10:25pm
My Christmas Main Cake is now cooked, sealed, wrapped and now placed in my Wine Fridge until Christmas. This time virtually used a whole bottle of Cream Sherry for the soaking of fruits etc, smelt gorgeous, hopefully spot on when matured.

Last weekend tried a new recipe " Fruit Loaf" with Roasted left-over pumpkin and grated raw carrot, absolutely lovely, disappeared before the weekend finished, definitely a goer, recipe follows.


Fruit loaf
( MAKES 1 loaf )

1½ cups Flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Ground cinnamon

½ tsp Mixed spice

¼ cup Sugar

1½ cups Dried fruit, chopped dates and apricots, raisins, currants

½ cup Carrot, grated

¾ cup Pumpkin, mashed and cooled

2 Eggs

½ cup Sunflower oil

¼ cup Water

1. Heat the oven to 160C. Grease and line the base of a 21cm x 10cm loaf tin.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda and spices into a large bowl. Stir through the sugar, dried fruit and grated carrot. Make a well in the centre.
3. Beat together the pumpkin, eggs, oil and water and pour into the well and stir gently until just combined. Spoon into the loaf tin.
4. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to stand to 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool. Store in an air tight container.

valentino, Oct 29, 10:28pm
Have this other recipe that I'm going to do next weekend, looks very yummy too.

Nice to know these loaves as possible extras in giving and serving to frequent visitors during this Festive occasion.


Butter, walnut, lemon syrup loaf
250 g Unsalted butter, softened, but not melted

1 cup Caster sugar

1 tsp Vanilla essence

4 Eggs, they must be at room temperature

3 Lemons, grated rind for loaf, the juice used for syrup (see below recipe)

1 cup Creme fraiche

2 cups Flour

½ tsp Baking powder

½ tsp Baking soda

1 cup Walnuts, chopped

Heat the oven to 170C and place the oven rack in or below the centre.
Grease and line the base and sides of a large (25cm x 10cm) loaf tin.
The paper should come above the sides of the loaf tin by about 2.5cm.
Beat the butter and sugar and vanilla essence until the mixture is pale cream in colour
and very light and fluffy in texture; an electric beater is best.
Beat the eggs together and add a little at a time, beating into the creamed mixture,
which should be voluminous. Stir in the lemon rind and creme fraiche.
Sift the flour, baking powder and soda together twice and fold carefully
into the creamed mixture with the walnuts.
Transfer to the prepared tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted
into the centre comes out clean.
Pierce the cake all over with a skewer and brush the syrup (see below)
over the cake allowing enough time between each brush for the syrup to soak in.
Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out on to a cake rack to cool thoroughly.
Serve sliced and spread with a little extra butter if you feel like it.

Lemon syrup
Squeeze the juice from 3 lemons and measure.
Place in a saucepan with the same quantity of sugar.
Warm over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

valentino, Oct 29, 10:48pm
Now here is something that is repeated from last Christmas, Home Brewed Crafted Beers.

Have now maturing a batch of "Double Chocolate Stout", a Batch of " Robbers Gold" - a lovely pale light beer, and soon to be bottled a batch of "Belgium Pilsner". Next is a batch of "Peach and Passion Fruit Cider" plus a more experimental batch of "Triple Chocolate Stout" - the latter should be ready for the New year.

The thing about these crafted beers and cider is there is no ill or bad after - efforts like headaches, dry horrors and so on.

Did some last year and all vamooshed too quickly.

Cheers and something different to be thought about.
Oh, all of these is done via a 23 litre Microbrewery set-up, works out huge savings say about $1.80 to $2.50 a 750 mil bottle, twice the size of a Stubbie Bottle. I do 20 litre to 21 litre sized batches for great results, equates to about 25 x 750 mil bottles plus couple of smaller ones.

Cheers, HO Ho Ho.

teddiesbearall, Nov 5, 10:27pm
My two Christmas cakes were made weeks ago and are now waiting for Christmas Day before they get cut. One is going to a dear friend.
I am also going to make Nigella Lawson Dark Chocolate Fruit Cake this year too as have always wanted to make it. I love Dark Fruit cakes. yummy. Recipe below:
350 grams prunes
250 grams raisins
125 grams currants
50 grams piece candied orange peel
175 grams soft unsalted butter
175 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
175 millilitres runny honey
125 millilitres Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
2 - 3 oranges (juice and zest)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
4 tablespoons cocoa
3 large eggs (beaten)
150 grams plain flour
75 grams ground almonds
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to gas mark 2/150°C/300°F. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm / 8-inch round, 9cm / 3½ inch deep, loose-bottomed cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. Before proceeding any further, read the following which explains how to do it if you need the encouragement. The paper should come up higher than the sides of the tin; think of a lining that’s twice as deep as the tin. Cut out two circles of paper, and two very long rectangles that will fit along the sides of the tin coming up from it like a top hat. Before you put the rectangular cut-out paper in, fold one long side in of both pieces, as if turning up a hem of about 2cm / 1 inch, and then take some scissors and snip into this hem, at intervals of about 2cm / 1 inch – as if you were making a rough frill. Grease the tin, lay one circle on the bottom and get one of your long pieces, then fit with the frilly edge along the bottom, which you press down to sit flat on the circle to hold it in place. Press the paper well into the sides, and repeat with the second piece. Now place the second circle of paper on the bottom of the tin, but on top of the two pressed-down frilly edges, which will also help to hold the pieces around the edge in place. Finally, wrap the tin with brown parcel paper, again making it higher than the sides, and tie it in place with kitchen twine.
Put the fruit, butter, sugar, runny honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zests, spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer for 10 minutes, and then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes are up, it will have cooled a little (though you could leave it for longer if you wanted). Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, however you like, to combine.
Pour the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 1¾–2 hours, by which time the top of the cake should be firm but will have a shiny and sticky look. If you insert a cake tester into the center of the cake it will still be a little gooey in the middle.
Put the cake on a cooling rack. It will hold its heat and take a while to cool, but once it has, unmould it from the tin and, if you don’t want to eat it immediately (and like any fruit cake it has a very long life), wrap it in baking parchment and then in foil and place in a tin.

gdwitch, Nov 30, 7:42am
Autumnwinds do you think you could post your recipes. I love the sound of the things you are going to make. Would love to give something homemade to some of my older friends. thank you.

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