Recipe of Christmas sweets matching our portBethany Wines
Christmas Fruit Cake
20cm round cake tin double lined with baking paper stand mixer and two large bowls or a hand mixer and three large bowls. Metal skewer to test cake. Slow oven would be approximately 150 degrees Celsius in a fan forced oven like mine or a little higher in a gas oven or non fan forced.
-250gm seedless raisins
-250g dried peaches, apricots and/ or nectarines, chopped
-2/3 cup Bethany White port (optional if you have followed the master fruit mix detailed below) thinly slice the peel of one orange then juice it to get:
-2/3 cup orange juice
-125g almonds chopped or processed to a coarse, still chunky flour 250g plain flour 60g self raising flour
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon mixed spice
-250g brown sugar
-2 tablespoons marmalade
-Vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
Step 1: Combine all the fruit in a container with a tight fitting lid. Pour over the port and mix through the fruit. Seal the container and leave for a few days. The longer the better, occasionally mixing the fruit around. If you have made the master fruit mix detailed at the end of this recipe, omit step 1 and continue at step 2.
Step 2: Mix the fruit with the orange juice and thinly sliced peel in a large bowl.
Step 3: In a stand mixer or using a handheld mixer in another large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla, jam and mix again. Add one egg at a time and beat well after each addition.
Step 4: Sift the plain flour and self raising flour together in a clean bowl. Add the almond flour and spices and mix to combine.
Step 5: Mix the fruit and flour into the butter and sugar mixture alternately so it combines faster and with less damage to the fruit.
Step 6: place the mixture into the tin and bake into a slow oven until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. This may take up to 4 hours depending on your oven. A fan forced oven will NOT take 4 hours, more likely 2-3 hours so don’t forget it! Perhaps start making some shortbread dough and sweet shortcrust pastry for mince pies while you wait and let it rest in the fridge until the cake is nearly done.
Step 7: Once cooked through, take the cake out of the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes in the tin to firm up before removing it from the tin and allowing it to cool un-wrapped from the paper on a sturdy cooling rack. If you take it out of the tin too soon, it may be too soft and break when you place it on the cooling rack.
Store the cake in a tin lined with baking paper that has a tight fitting lid. The cake develops more flavour if left for a few days before gobbling it all up. It lasts quite well too, and unless you have a very hot house, it can remain out of the fridge. I recommend hiding it from the rest of the household so you can enjoy it all to yourself!!….
If you want to make a master fruit mix for making cake, pudding and mince pies, double, triple or quadruple all the ingredients for the fruit and place it in a large tightly sealed container, add the port (I always use Bethany Old Quarry Fronti) in whatever quantity you wish, mix thoroughly and seal. Once a week for the next few months, mix the fruit and port again and add more port if the mixture looks like it is drying out.
This master fruit mix can then be used to make all the Christmas cakes, puddings and mince pies towards the end of the year.
It is not unusual for my fruit master mix to always just be topped up with more fruit and port and never actually be finished. Over time, this gives you a very dark and very rich fruit mix that contains very soft jammy fruit and firmer plump fruit that gives an incredible texture and flavour to the cakes puddings and mince pies. Any alcohol that is in the mix is cooked out of the final product, but leaves a very lasting richness.
-1 0r 2 12 spot small mince pie tray tins
-1 packet of Careme chocolate shortcrust pastry 200g good quality chocolate, dark gives richness without being sickly sweet.
-160ml thickened cream
-Optional: ground cardamom and rose syrup approximately half to 3/4 cup unsalted roasted nuts of your choice roughly chopped or very coarsely ground. (I used macadamias and pistacios that i roasted in the oven during the last 3-4 minutes of the tarts cooking) turkish delight chopped into small pieces
Step 1: Depending on how many tarts you wish to make, use the pastry at its thickness from the packet for 14 or so tarts OR roll the pastry from the pack a little thinner for 18+ tarts. Cut small rounds from the pastry similar in size to a fruit mince pie. EG: approx 7cm. gather the excess and re roll to use as much of the pastry as possible. Some time I make tiny tarts with the excess for the kids rather than try making all bigger ones.
Step 2: bake the tart shells in an oven approx 160deg fan forced for 10 minutes or 180- degrees celsius non fan forced for 10 minutes. Be careful not to over cook the shells, it can be hard to tell if the chocolate pastry is done because it is quite dark. Use your smell to help work out if they’re done- there’s nothing quite like the awesome smell of pastry that’s just reached its perfect baked point! Take the shells out of the oven and cool in the trays.
Step 3: while the tarts are cooking, mix the nuts and turkish delight together and set aside.
Step 4: Make the chocolate ganache: place the chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it starts to steam. Take it off the heat immediately and pour over the chocolate. Allow the cream to melt the chocolate before using a spoon or small whisk to mix together thoroughly. At this point, add the cardamom and 1-2 tablespoons or so of the rose syrup if you like.
Step 5: spoon the ganache into the tart shells while still warm, it will get quite stiff once cool. Sprinkle the nut/turkish delight mixture over the tarts and leave in the trays until serving or place immediately on the dish to serve. The tarts can be stored in the fridge until required, but are best eaten at room temperature.
These tarts are not sickly sweet, they are in fact very flavoursome and rich without being very sweet at all. They are a surprising tart!
The better the chocolate, the more magnificent the result. The darker the chocolate, the richer the flavour and the less sweet the tarts will be. White chocolate is not chocolate at all and isn’t worth the time to make these tarts with. I use 70% dark chocolate always.
The Careme chocolate shortcrust pastry is not overly sweet and won’t add sweetness the tarts.
If you want a sweet tart, you may wish to use milk chocolate as this often has more sugar and milk than chocolate in it.
Kimberly, who loves cooking and works for us, shares these wonderful recipes with us.
Thank you, Kimberly.