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Recipes - Christmas Pudding

Premi John
12/18/2002

IRRESISTABLE CHRISTMAS CAKE

2 1/2 Cups - All purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon, Powdered
1 tsp. Mixed Spice
1 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
3 Cups Mixed Dried Fruit
2 1/4 Cups Sultanas
1 1/2 Cups Currants
1 1/2 Cups Glace Cherries, halved
1 Cup Almonds, peeled and chopped
2 Sticks (1/2 lb.) Butter, at room temperature
1-Cup Soft Dark Brown Sugar
4 medium Eggs
Grated rind and juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbsp. dark treacle or molasses (optional)
3 Tbsp. brandy, rum or milk.

Line a 9-inch round or square cake tin with a double thickness of waxed paper. Fold a large sheet of newspaper to the height of the tin and tie it around the tin using thick cotton twine. This will protect the edges of the cake from burning during the long baking time. Spray oil or coat the inside of the pan lightly with butter.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the cinnamon, spice, and cocoa. Add the dried fruits and nuts.
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it turns pale in Color. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients. Do not worry if the mixture seems too dry.
Stir in the rind, juice, treacle/molasses, and brandy. Add a little extra milk to make the batter soft enough so that if you take a spoon full and hold it upside down, the batter will drop after a few seconds. Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake at the center of the oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Cover with foil for the last hour to prevent the top from burning. Remove from oven and let it cool before icing or storing.
NOTE: I bake this cake for Christmas in September; poke holes in it using a skewer and pour 1/2-cup brandy into the cake. Wrap it tightly in wax paper and store in a cool place. I repeat the brandy dousing once more, a month later. Ice top and sides of the cake using Royal icing. If you can find one, decorate by placing a small plastic Christmas tree on top. This cake will keep, if there are leftovers, until Easter, in the spring!

ROYAL ICING

5 Egg Whites
Approximately 2 1/2 lbs Confectioners sugar, sifted
3 to 4 Teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon glycerin (optional)
To apply: First apply half the icing to the cake. Use a long, flat sided, palette knife to cover first the top then the sides. Allow setting for 10 minutes. Apply the remaining icing over the first coat, using a flat-sided knife and flicking each application upward to form soft peaks all over the cake as if it is snow.

---------- EASY CHRISTMAS PUDDING

Traditionally, Christmas pudding is cooked by steaming for hours and is very heavy and filling. This version is cooked in the microwave cooker and is much lighter in taste due to the inclusion of a very untraditional ingredient, pineapple.
4 Cups fresh white bread crumbs (pulse slices of fresh bread in food Processor)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
Pinch salt
1 stick (4 oz.) butter cut into small pieces
1/4 Cup soft brown Sugar
2 1/4 Cups mixed dried fruit
1 x 16 oz. can pineapple, drained and chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp dark treacle or molasses
4 Tbsp rum or milk (or juice from the drained pineapple)
Whipping cream
Sugar to taste,br>
Mix together, first six ingredients. Add fruit. Mix in eggs, treacle and rum or milk. Beat well to incorporate.
To cook, pour into 2 lightly greased 1 1/2-pint bowls. Cover tightly with Saran wrap. Cook each one on high for 5 minutes, rest 5 minutes and cook again for 2 minutes.
Pour into one large, lightly greased glass bowl. Cover tightly with Saran wrap and cook on high for 7 minutes, rest 5 minutes and cook 3 minutes. [This applies to a 750-Watt microwave oven. Adjust time if necessary.]
To serve, turn out onto a pretty serving dish. Whip some of the cream to a soft peak stage, mix in sugar to taste, and place in a small serving bowl.
Place a piece of holly on top of the pudding, just when serving.

NOTE: Impress your guests by heating some brandy in a large deep steel spoon over a candle or fire lighter flame. Turn off the lights and pour the warm brandy over the pudding and immediately, set alight using a match. This will produce a beautiful blue flame from the alcohol burning away!



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