Saturday, 8 October 2011

Christmas is coming, the fruit is getting drunk

*ducks and hides*

I know Christmas isn't everyone's cup of tea, truth be told for the last few years it's not been mine. But this year I've decided to put on my big girl pants, and get involved. Clearly the hottest weekend of the year was the ideal time to start my prep (sense the tone).

Having my broadband back has meant I'm doing a lot more blog reading, and as always being late to the party means I've recently started following Ruth at The Pink Whisk and a couple of weeks back she posted here about putting her fruit into soak for her Christmas cake. This prompted me to get my posterior into gear and my friend Louise and I got organised.

I'm making three cakes - one for me, one for Mum and one for the Division Christmas do, Louise is making one. Clearly this called for one thing. Spreadsheet! Duly organised off we pottered. Lou was substituting figs for brazil nuts and almonds and we both added extra glace cherries in.

We're roughly following Ruth's quantities, although I did the brandy by eye and added in the juice of the oranges and extra spices, nutmeg, cloves and sweet mixed spice.

200g raisins
200g sultanas
175g dried figs, chopped
100g dates, chopped
55g glace cherries

55g caster sugar
55ml water
170ml brandy
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
Half a nutmeg, grated
1 tsp sweet mixed spice
5 cloves

I have to say a year ago I wouldn't have attempted this, owing to the need to make a sugar syrup - and I'm really proud of the fact that this didn't phase me at all on Saturday, I just got on with it, making a sugar syrup and then cooling it slightly before adding it to the brandy, orange juice and spices.

It's living in the cupboard with my kilners of sloe gin that's nearly ready to strain into pretty bottles. I've stirred it every day this week and will soon start forgetting but it smells amazing already - really Christmassy and I get a little smile every time I haul it (it's heavy) out to stir.

We're planning on doing baked bean tin Christmas cakes with the Guides, so the week before half term will be doing this en masse and without alcohol! Wish us luck, I'll be sure to put some pictures up, and document our progress as we bake, marzipan and decorate.


Millsee85 said...

we did get to listen to Christmas in New York too :o) mine smells amazing btw! xx

Pen said...

It does doesn't it. And I love Christmas in NY, even on the hottest day of the year it makes me feel festive!


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