Month: December 2020

Thank you Portugal

Thank you Portugal for these small and perfect pears to brighten an early December day. And also, thanks for the memories!

“I enjoy browsing grocery stores while travelling the way some feel compelled to purchase local newspapers. I remember spending several long minutes staring at adorable little jars of carrot jam and tomato jam in a grocery store in small-town Portugal, knowing I wouldn’t find these at home, wondering if I should risk breakage by packing them in my suitcase.” – Living Slim: A Canadian Woman’s Way.

Sweet things have a definite place in our lives.

“Sweet things have a definite place in our lives. They’re fun. They belong. We love them. Whether it’s the dense, sweet experience of a single, perfect banana, the complex subtlety of a well-made fruitcake, or the utter perfection of a lovely orange, Canadian women – and men for that matter – aren’t about to follow any eating regime that means no such sweetness in their lives.” – Living Slim: A Canadian Woman’s Way. #livingslimcanadian #merrychristmas #happyholidays

Christmas Cake

This recipe makes enough for two large fruitcakes.  I usually cut it in half and make just one.  I like to use a tube cake tin as the tube in the middle helps the centre of this heavy cake to bake well.  But you can also use any large, round cake tin.  Total baking time is about 2 ½ hours.  Keep a close eye on it towards the end of the baking period.  This cake is super delicious as is, but you can also heat a piece, for a few seconds, in a microwave and serve with a sauce as it is very close in texture to a plum pudding.

Fruit ingredients

1 pound raisins (dark raisins, any kind, not golden)

1 pound currants

½ pound dates

½ pound prunes

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

(¼ pound citron cut fine and ½ pound glacé cherries chopped.  Although the original recipe calls for these, I do not use them as I don’t like the dye in glacé cherries.  Sometimes, however, I add a jar of good cherry jam, 1 cup or so, and it works out fine.  And, if you love citron, go for it.)

Fruit method

Chop all the dried fruits.  Soak all together (at least 24 hours or can be longer) in 2 cups good red wine, ½ cup rum, ¼ cup brandy and 2 tsp vanilla.  (I like this ratio, but some may like a stronger percentage of rum.)

Batter ingredients

12 eggs

2 cups brown sugar

4 cups flour

2 cups butter

4 teaspoons baking powder

Batter method

Cream butter, add sugar and cream well together.  Beat eggs and fold gently into butter and sugar mixture.  Add fruit, and then flour that has been mixed with the baking powder.  Mix all together well.  Add a bit of cold water (1/4 cup or so) if the batter seems too stiff.

(I use a mixture of whole wheat flour and white flour: ¾ whole wheat; ¼ white.  But that is just a personal preference.  Do as you wish.)  Note, the recipe does not call for salt and is fine without.

Baking

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.   Turn cake into greased baking tin or tins.  Bake in the centre of the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for about 45 minutes, then turn the heat to 275.  Continue baking for another 45 minutes.  Lower the heat again to about 225 degrees and continue baking for another 45 minutes. Ovens vary, so feel free to lower the heat more if necessary. Cool thoroughly before storing.