There are some parts of a Christmas celebrations in Britain which can and must not ever change, and that is the Traditional Christmas Cake. No British Christmas is ever complete without this classic treat Cake on the table.
The temperature is low as the cake needs a long slow bake. It is packed with sugars, fruits and brandy and if the temperature is any higher the outside of the cake will burn and the inside be undercooked.
Line a 23cm (9") cake tin with 2 thicknesses of parchment or greaseproof paper. This acts as an insulator and to prevent the cake from burning on the outside
In a large roomy baking bowl mix the currants, sultanas, raisins, peel and cherries with the flour, salt and spices.
In another large bowl cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
Stir in the lemon zest. Add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition
do not try to rush this process as the mixture could curdle. If it does curdle simply add a tbsp of flour and mix again, this should bring the mixture back together. If it doesn't come back together
Carefully fold in half the flour and fruit into the egg and butter mixture, once incorporated repeat with the remaining flour and fruit.
Finally add the brandy.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin making sure there are no air pockets. Once filled smooth the surface with the back of s spoon and make a slight dip in the center (this will rise back up again during cooking and create a smooth surface for icing the cake).
Finally, using a piece of paper towel clean up any smears of cake batter on the greaseproof wrapping, if left on they will burn
bake for 4½ hours.
If the cake is browning too rapidly, cover the tin with a double layer of greaseproof or parchment paper after 2½ hours.
During the cooking time avoid opening the oven door too often as this may cause the cake to collapse.
After 4½ hours check the cake is cooked. The cake should be nicely risen and a deep brown all over. Insert a skewer or fine knife into the centre of the cake. If there is sticky dough on the skewer when you pull it out it needs cooking longer, if it is clean, the cake's done and remove from the oven.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack for an hour, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.
Once cooled prick the surface of the cake with a fine metal skewer and slowly pour over 2 - 3 tbsp brandy.
This should be repeated every two weeks up until Christmas.
The cake should be stored wrapped in greaseproof or parchment paper in an airtight tin.
Rub the flour and butter together till it resembles breadcrumbs, using a fork or your fingers.
Then mix in the granulated sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the water and egg.
Quickly combine the dry and wet mixtures (I used an electric hand whisk). The consistency will be slightly sticky and wet.
Wrap the pastry in film and rest it for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 180 C Fan / Gas 6.
In a new large bowl, mix together the golden caster sugar, cinnamon and cornflour.
Peel the apples and pat with kitchen paper (Bramley apples have more moisture than needed for the pie).
Chop the apples into strips, then cut the strips into thirds (halves may be too big but up to you).
Add the apples to the sugar mixture and toss well, trying to cover all apples.
After 30 minutes has passed since resting the pastry, halve the the dough into two balls and roll each out between two pieces of cling film (using extra flour here may have the pastry too dry and too hard when baked so try not to).
Line a 23cm (9 in) pie dish (widest diameter measured) with one of the pastry rounds, then add the apple mixture.
Cover all this with the second piece of pastry. Trim and seal the edges, then cut air slits on the top lid in your own design.
To make sure a nice golden colour is acheived, brush over some milk on the top of the pie.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Please remember that food prepared for allergies must be prepared in a totally clean area and away from any food content that isn’t part of the recipe.
Only use totally clean utensils, clean mixer and clean mixing bowls.
Everything you use must be totally free from any food product that isn’t part of the menu, please be careful because cross contamination is easily done without realising it.
Ganache can be made in several ways, tub in microwave, saucepan on stove or double boiler method,
It doesn’t really matter which method you prefer the result is always the same.
I find throwing it all in a bow and bunging it in the micro wave for a couple of 1 min bursts to get it going then down to 30 sec bursts until it’s all well and truly melted and mixed together works fine just give it a good stir after every burst in the microwave.