Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stir in Sunday

It's that time of year again. The day people traditionally make their Christmas pudding. I no longer make my own since 1994 when I  discovered a guy from Devon who at the tender age of 18 spotted a gap in the market and started to make Christmas Puddings for sale at food fairs. Georgie Porgie'sPuddings  (  are a dream. No longer restricted to Christmas puddings his company produces a variety of excellent puddings all year round. This is why, on stir up Sunday, there is no pudding making in our house.

That does not, of course, mean that there is no stirring. Today, I made my Christmas cake ready for eating with a good bit of Stilton cheese on the big day. I decided on a traditional fruit cake recipe:

225g currents
225g sultanas
225g seedles raisins
150g cut peel
100g glace cherries
150g blanched almonds
225g slightly salted butter
225g dark brown soft sugar
300g plain flour
1 nutmeg freshly grated
1 tsp ground cinnamon
zest of one lemon
4 eggs
1 tbsp milk
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp golden syrup
200 ml brandy

The cake takes 5 hours to bake so to avoid over cooking the outside I wrapped an 8", round, deep cake tin in two layers of brown paper and lined the tin with baking parchment.

Firstly, mix all of the fruit and peel in a bowl and add the brandy. Leave this for at least an hour to soak. After soaking, pour off any remaining brandy and keep to one side.

Warm the oven to 150C.

Cream the softened butter and sugar together well. Lightly beat the eggs, syrup and lemon zest together. Slowly add the beaten mixture into the butter and sugar until it is all incorporated into a smooth consistency.

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the cinnamon and the grated nutmeg and mix together. Add 4 tablespoons of this flour mix to the fruit and stir that.

Now it is time to bring the ingredients together. Add around a quarter of the flour to the egg and butter mixture and stir well. Next add around a quarter of the fruit mixture and stir that in. A final quarter of the remaining brandy and stir. Repeat this three more times until all of the ingredients with the exception of the milk and bicarbonate of soda are combined.

Take the milk and dissolve the bicarbonate of soda into it before adding this to the mixture. Stir well and then spoon into the baking tin. Form a hollow at the centre of the tin to allow for the cake to rise. They always rise more in the middle so the hollow helps to level the cake off.

Place in the warm oven on a newspaper to help prevent the bottom of the cake over cooking. After 90 minutes reduce the temperature to 140C for the remainder of the cooking time.

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