Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 18 December - Christmas Baking

Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:

In addition to Christmas cookies, many families prepared special, once a year treats to share with others. Popcorn balls? Fudge? Caramel corn? What do you remember about these dishes and the activity of making them? Share recipes if you have them or just share your memories of making Christmastime foods.
Tell us about your special Christmas foods and your memories of Christmases past.

Baking.  I should do it more.  Now you think I'm going to tell you that we used to make Fat Rascals every year for Christmas.  We didn't.  I've made them once in my life - for a Welsh friend because it was Wales Day or some such and I thought I'd make a gesture to her Welsh-ness.  I'm only putting a picture of them here because I needed a picture of baking.  Pretty aren't they? If you want a recipe, google it, like I did.  I can't remember what recipe I used to be honest.  Sorry about that.

What we used to bake for Christmas was mince pies and Christmas cake but I haven't got any pictures of those.  I would stand for hours chopping up fruit and reading the recipe out to my increasingly harassed mother.  There would be the obligatory stirring of the mixture by everyone.  Then the mixture (for the mince pies) would sit in a Moccona coffee jar in the pantry for a while to ferment and then I think my father would make the pies.  And dust them with icing sugar. I'm not sure where the recipe came from - I suspect the Aerophos cook book.  Which I can't find.  There is a recipe in the Commonsense Cookbook (1960 edition) though and here it is:

2 ozs sultanas
2 ozs currants
1 oz candied peel
2 ozs brown sugar
1 level tablespoon butter
2 large apples
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
A little grated lemon rind and juice
1/8 teaspoon spice
1/2 lb short crust

  1. Wash and dry fruit
  2. Cut peel finely
  3. Peel, quarter, core and cut apples into dice
  4. Mix fruits, sugar, butter and flavourings together
  5. Divide short crust into two, one piece a little larger than the other
  6. Roll the larger piece out a little larger than the tin
  7. Line the tin with it
  8. Wet round the edge and put fruit mixture in
  9. Roll out the remainder of the pastry
  10. Cover the fruit
  11. Trim pastry, firm edges together
  12. Glaze with white of egg or water and sugar
  13. Bake in a hot over for 15 minutes
  14. Lower heat, cook half an hour longer
  15. Sift icing sugar over top.

Here is a picture of my maternal grandfather and my mother.  See that plate over on the right?  I suspect that had mince pies on it but they've gone - that's how good they were!

So that's my baking story.  What's yours?

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at


Karen S. said...

Too long to list here, ha! Ha! But I certainly am a fan of the Advent Calendar and as a young child my grandparents used to send one to me every year right from Germany! I had them way before any of my friends. Still kind of the case for my children, although the stores have come up with the trees and such that have little boxes for stuff inside. But that's so not what it was about when I grew up! There was and still is something magical to me with the beautiful paper picture, of a view so colorful and sparkles of glitter here and there, and then opening each new little window every day to view some special picture waiting inside!

diane b said...

I don't bake very much but I found a really easy recipe for a boiled fruit cake. It has a tin of crushed pineapple in it and it makes it a nice moist cake. Bill cooks Swiss Christmas cookies.

Alex Daw said...

Do you know I love Advent Calendars too Karen! What is it about opening those little windows???

Alex Daw said...

Diane that sounds like a great recipe. I shall have to google it for myself!