Cooking time: 6-8 hours Preparation time: 45 mins. Main cooking utensils: 1 or 2 ovenproof bowls, foil or wax paper
For 12-16 servings: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup fresh soft bread crumbs 1 teaspoon each mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg Scant cup shredded suet ½ cup brown sugar 1 dessert apple, grated 1 small carrot, grated ¾ cup chopped candied peel 2 eggs Scant cup currants 1⅓ cups raisins ¾ cup seedless white raisins Scant ½ cup chopped prunes or dried apricots 1 cup chopped, balanced almonds Grated ring of ½ lemon Juice of ½ lemon Grated ring of ½ orange 1 tablespoon corn syrup or molasses ⅔ cup ale, beer, or milk
Mix all ingredients together and leave overnight, then stir again wishing hard for good luck.
Put into the greased bowl(s), cover with foil or wax paper. Alternatively cover the top with a flour and water paste (mix 2 cups flour to a paste with water).
Steam or boil for time given, allowing longer time for one pudding. Remove wet covers as soon as pudding is cooked, then put on dry covered and re-steam for 2-3 hours on Christmas morning.
TO SERVE: With brandy butter made by creaming ½ cup butter, 1½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons brandy.
TO STORE: In a cool dry place.
Preparing fruit for Christmas cooking: If washing the fruit allow it to dry at room temperature for 48 hours.
For a winter birthday or the hottest day in summer! Go on an around-the-house explorer’s party, ending at the North Pole with box lunches, sugar snow, funny little gnomes and Igloo Cake.
1 package of our devils food cake mix 1 package of our fluffy white frosting mix 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate ¼ teaspoon shortening
Bake cake in 2 layer pans, 8 x 1½ inches, as directed on package. Prepare frosting mix as directed on package.
Cut layers into halves to make 4 semicircles; put halves together with frosting to form igloo. Place cake upright on cut edge on serving plate or tray. Frost top and sides of igloo.
Melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Using teaspoon, drizzle melted chocolate on top and sides of igloo in parallel crisscross lines to make ice block squares. Surround igloo with sprinkling of granulated sugar for snow.
Into each box lunch, tuck a whole carrot, an apple, a small chocolate bar for quick energy and at the last minute, 2 hot crusty fish sticks. Stories about penguins, polar bears and walruses will keep the children happy during lunch.
Pastry for single-crust pie (see Divider Card No. 20) ½ cup packed brown sugar ½ cup water 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt 4 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 slightly beaten egg 1 cup canned pumpkin ½ cup granulated sugar ½ teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves 1 5⅓ ounce can (⅔ cups) evaporated milk Unsweetened whipped cream
Prepare and roll out pastry. Line a 9-inch pie plate. Flute edge high; do not prick. Bake in 450° oven for 5 minutes. Cool.
For filling, in medium saucepan combine brown sugar, water, butter or margarine, cornstarch, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture comes to boiling. Stir in sliced apples. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or till apples are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Spread the hot apple mixture evenly in the bottom of the partially baked pastry shell.
In mixing bowl combine egg, pumpkin, granulated sugar, ginger, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cloves; mix well. Stir in evaporated milk. Carefully pour pumpkin mixture over apples. To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in 375° oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or till knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Cool pie thoroughly on rack. Serve with whipped cream. Cover; chill to store.
You will need ½ oz. almonds 1½ oz. butter ½ oz. currants 1½ pints (U.S. 3¾ cups) milk 4 oz. castor sugar 4 oz. very fine semolina 1 teaspoon vanilla essence ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional) ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
Blanch the almonds and slice into thin strips. Heat the butter and fry the almonds until lightly coloured. Remove. Fry the currants gently and set aside. Bring the milk and sugar to the boil, then simmer for a minute on a very low flame. Fry the semolina very gently in the butter. Stir all the time and do not let the semolina get creamy coloured. Now add the milk gradually and keep stirring all the time so that no lumps are formed. Add the vanilla essence and turn out onto a serving dish while still of a fairly soft consistency. When cold, sprinkle with the almonds, currants and spices.
You will need 1½ pints (U.S. 3¾ cups) milk 2 oz. castor sugar 2-3 eggs, well beaten 1 tablespoon ground almonds 1 tablespoon rose water (optional) pinch nutmeg and cardamom powders
Boil the milk and sugar together over a low heat till the quantity has been reduced to half. Allow to cool, and add the well beaten eggs. Add the almonds and rose water. Put the custard into a buttered pie dish and sprinkle with nutmeg and cardamom powders. Preheat the oven to very moderate (335°F. of Gas Mark 3). Place the dish in a pan containing 1 inch of cold water. Bake for 45 minutes or 1 hour till the custard is set.
Long-time followers will remember my participation in this annual event. In past years I would subject my neighbour, affectionately known as Crazy Neighbour Dude, to being the official taste tester of the pies I’ve had to produce. Alas, this year I don’t have the luxury of him as a guinea pig. Earlier this year we moved from California to Oregon and Crazy Neighbour Dude moved to Vegas. We are now just statistics in the Grand Exodus from California, and I don’t know my new neighbours well enough to try to poison them. Maybe by next year.
Summer pie comes from the 1971 Winnie-The-Pooh-inspired cookbook The Pooh Cook Book. I love me some Winnie-The-Pooh. If you don’t you’re a broken and sad person and I have no use for you.
Serves 6 8 digestive biscuits 1 level tablespoon castor sugar 1½ oz butter or margarine For the filling: 1 small tin sweetened condensed milk ¼ pint double cream 2 lemons ¼ lb black grapes
Find a rolling pin, a mixing basin, a saucepan, a tablespoon and a dessertspoon. Find also a 7″ shallow pie plate, a lemon squeezer and a grater.
Crush biscuits with a rolling pin to make fine crumbs and place the crumbs in a mixing basin. Add the sugar. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, draw off the heat and using a fork stir in the biscuit crumb mixture. Mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the centre of the pie plate. Using the back of a tablespoon, press the mixture over the base and proud the sides of the dish to make a biscuit pie crust. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so until firm.
Place the condensed milk and cream into a mixing basin. Finely grate the rind of 1 lemon. Squeeze the juice from 2 lemons and strain it. Add to the mixture along with the lemon rind. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix and the mixture will go quite thick in the basin.
Pour the filling into the chilled biscuit pie crust and spread level. Wash, half and deseed the black grapes, arrange them in a ring around the edge of the pie to decorate.
Chill the pie for several hours for the filling to set firm. Then cut in wedges and serve.
Ingredient adjustments: Digestive Biscuits = Biscoff Cookies Double Cream = Heavy Whipping Cream Grapes = Raspberries
When you live in a small town in the Oregon countryside, fancy things like Digestive Biscuits from the UK are sparse, so I opted to do the crust using BIscoff cookies. Which come in handy little two-packs that they promote as “Airline size” – because that’s a marketing ploy that makes sense? But whatever, they taste good and do the trick for the crust.
The pie, however, was just a puddle of sugar that never actually set. I mean it pretended to. I left it in the fridge for 2 days before trying to cut it and there was no visible wiggle, but nope. Nothing doing. This could be because heavy whipping cream isn’t the same consistency as double cream. Also, I substituted raspberries for grapes because that’s just a weird pie topper as far as I’m concerned. Grapes are for wine.
My husband, the Poor Bastard, volunteered as tribute this year and wound up slurping up raspberries and cream with some crumble. While he didn’t complain about being experimented upon, he did tell me I was good to toss the whole thing out because our medical insurance won’t cover the heart surgery eating this whole pie would inevitably lead up to.
My apologies Battenburgbelle for any disappointment the execution of her pie may bring.
A. Line a baking tray with silicone paper. Whisk the egg whites very stiffly. Add sugar a teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each addition.
B. Draw an 8-inch circle on silicone paper. Use half the meringue to fill circle and smooth it with a knife. Put spoonfuls of remaining mixture on to rest of paper in seven heats. drawing them up to a peak with the handle of a teaspoon. Bake meringues in a very cool oven for 2 hours or until crisp. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire tray.
C. Put chestnut purée in a bowl. In another bowl whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold cream into purée with sherry if used. Spread filling on to meringue base. Arrange small meringues on the top. Use the marrons glacé to decorate. Serves 4-6.
QUICK TIP Cooking meringues – it is far better to cook meringues on the slow side, just gently drying them out. (Use the coolest oven in a solid fuel cooker). Too hot an oven causes the sugar to weep out as a syrup, and also makes the meringues over-coloured.
ingredients: 1 lemon 2 ounces blanched almonds 2 medium-size apples 2 ounces honey 1/2 vanilla pod
instructions: 1. Squeeze the lemon. Cut the almonds into slivers and roast them lightly. Put them aside. Peel and core the apples, and cut them into halves 2. Place the apples in a saucepan, flat side up. Cover them with water. Add the honey and vanilla. Cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn them over and continue to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes more. 3. Place the fruit dessert bowls, flat side down. Stick the almond slivers into the apples so they will look like sea urchins. 4. Reduce the sauce in the pan. Take out the vanilla pod. Add the lemon juice, and pour the sauce over the apples. Serve chilled.
Do not overcook the apples. Adjust cooking time according to the size and ripeness of the fruit.
All recipes based on a 3-oz. package fruit-flavored gelatin, which serves 4 people. Rinse molds in cold water before adding jelly.
PEAR LIME CREAM
Open a medium can halved pears, strain the syrup into a measure. Put 4 pear halves on one side to serve with the mold, chop the rest of the pears finely. Add water to the pear syrup to give 1 ½ cups. Dissolve the lime-flavored gelatin in this liquid, allow to cool and begin to stiffen. Stir in the chopped pears. Mae up a whipped topping mix with cold milk, fold the gelatin mixture into this. Spoon into a 1-quart mold. allow to set. Turn out and serve with pear halves.
JELLY A LA DUCHESSE
Dissolve a 3-oz package lemon-flavored gelatin into 1 ½ cups water, add 1 tablespoon brandy, 1 tablespoon kirsch, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Allow to cool and stiffen slightly, stir in ½ cup flaked blanched almonds and ⅔ cup shredded coconut. Put into a 1-quart mold, allow to set. Turn out, serve with ice cream.
Heat 1 cup seedless white raisins in a sauce and with ⅔ cup water for 1 minute. Add the grated rind of 2 oranges (use only the top ‘zest’). Squeeze out the juice from the 2 oranges, add water to give just under 1 1½ cups. Dissolve a 3-oz. package orange-flavored gelatin in this, add the raisins and the liquid from pan. Pour into a mold, allow to set. Turn out, serve with segments of orange.
TO VARY: Harlequin Mold: Add ½ cup chopped nuts and ¼ cup chopped candied cherries to the jellow before putting in the mold.