A fruit twist to conventional Christmas cooking
It’s a new year and festivities are drawing to a close though the Christmas period doesn’t actually end until January 6th (Epiphany). Reflecting on and sharing an original home written recipe for a cake, the ingredients of which are a refreshing change from the traditional boiled fruit and currant pudding.
Christmas pudding originates from Medieval England, a boiled plum cake with raisins, spice and alcohol. The rich recipe has been adjusted and added to throughout history. Due to GM technology and global imports a wider range of fruit is readily available in abundance at our fingertips all year round, including bananas from the tropics.
Experimenting with the latter, blending it into a soft and flavoursome oat cake, I also decorated this using alternative, juicier produce . Autumnal apples, pears, a stocking filler orange, pomegranate, and not forgetting tradition completely with the addition of sultanas, walnuts and spice. Rose petal sugar decorates the top of this desert, infusing the seasons further to create an aromatic, fragrant taste. This artisan cake makes for a great table centrepiece.
See recipe below.
Main Cake: 4 Bananas, 1/2 Tsp bicarbonate soda, 225g rolled oats, 225g wholemeal flour, 2 eggs, 225g butter, 225g caster sugar.
Decoration: 1 bar of white chocolate, 3 bars of milk chocolate, sticky toffee sauce, ground cinnamon and ginger, a packet of sultanas, a packet of walnuts, brown sugar, 6 holly leaves, 1 x pomegranate, 1x apple, 1 x pear, 1 x orange, rose petal sugar.
Main Cake: Mix together the rolled oats, caster sugar, wholemeal flour and bicarb soda, blend in 2 eggs and mix to a stiff dough. Divide the mixture into two portions and place one portion into the bottom of a greased round baking tin, covering the entire bottom. Slice all bananas onto this, spreading them out on top across the whole mixture. Add the other half of mixture on top. Bake for 20 minutes on gas mark 6 until golden brown.
Decoration: Slice the pear into segments, place these in a baking tray, sprinkle with ginger and cinnamon and mix until coated. Put these in the oven for half an hour on gas mark 4 until the fruit has softened and absorbed some of the spice. Place two handfuls of shelled walnuts in a baking tray with apple slices, squeeze sticky toffee sauce over and mix with three tablespoons of brown sugar until coated and place in oven for 20 minutes on gas mark 4.
Melt the milk chocolate in a pan over the hob and pour over the cake, making sure to cover the sides. Whilst still melted sprinkle half a handful of sultanas over the cake and the roasted walnuts to set into the chocolate. Spread out the marinated pear and apple segments over the top leaving space for the orange.
Cut the orange into round slices, remove the peel and place on the cake – sprinkling rose petal sugar onto the slices. The final layer consists of pomegranate seeds (in clusters of three) sprinkled on the cake to represent berries. Next to these place white chocolate holly leaves using the instructions in the last blog post.
Baking is a fun, therapeutic and cohesive activity which ignites the Christmas spirit. Whether that means literally setting fire to your booze doused pud or getting creative with alternative recipes. A time also to reflect on the availability and mass provision of food and the importance of issues surrounding this such as waste and fair trade.