“The best Christ­mas Cake in the world”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The “In” cook at the mo­ment – and for some time, too – is Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi who first of­fered Arab and Is­rael’s best food on the won­der­ful book “Jerusalem”. He’s on his fifth or sixth now, and it’s called “Plenty More”.

The recipes all use vegetables and they are just amaz­ing. If you in­tend to go meat­less in 2015, this is the book for you.

Or if you sim­ply want to be a non-car­ni­vore for a meal or a day there’s a feast here. A must-have for all food lovers. Around 40 Euros lo­cally and worth ev­ery cent. Hav­ing en­joyed Per­sia (Iran) and its food, another book en­gag­ing my at­ten­tion be­fore gift wrap­ping it is “Per­siana” – an ex­cel­lent ar­ray of recipes and back­ground of this unique cui­sine.

Last year, I made seven of them, for fam­ily and friends. This year, I am keep­ing my head down, mak­ing one, and sim­ply pass­ing on the recipe. If you haven’t made your Christ­mas cake yet, this is it! In 1970 I adapted the recipe from a Time-Life cook book pub­lished in that year and I have made it ev­ery year since then. It’s a BIG cake, weigh­ing more than two ki­los so it works out cheaper than ready-made, and a lot tastier. It’s juicily scrump­tious, feeds a crowd and, if they don’t eat it all it keeps for months. Its rich­ness is such that it doesn’t need marzi­pan or ic­ing.

In­gre­di­ents for one 20cm cake

300g but­ter, soft­ened 200g soft brown sugar 4 eggs 300g finely chopped mixed can­died fruit peel 225g plain flour 300g sul­tanas 225g cur­rants 150g seed­less raisins 125g glace cher­ries, cut in half 125 chopped dried apri­cots 175g ground al­monds 3 tb­sps brandy Half tsp bak­ing pow­der Half tsp salt

Pre­heat the oven to 155ºC. 1. Grease the bot­tom and sides of a round 20 cms x 8 cms loose-based or hinged cake tin with a lit­tle of the soft­ened but­ter, us­ing a pas­try brush. 2. Cut a cir­cle of grease­proof pa­per the size of the base of the tin and grease on both sides, then put it into the tin. 3. Grease both sides of a 32 cms x 8 cms strip of grease­proof pa­per with a lit­tle more but­ter, and fit it around the side of the tin. 4. In a large bowl put the fruit peel, sul­tanas, cur­rants, raisins, cher­ries and chopped apri­cots. Sprin­kle the fruit with a ta­ble­spoon­ful of the flour, toss­ing it about to coat the pieces evenly. Into another bowl sift the rest of the flour with the bak­ing pow­der and salt. 5. In your food pro­ces­sor, or by hand if you wish, cream the re­main­ing but­ter with the brown sugar un­til you have a light and fluffy mix­ture. 6. Add the ground al­monds, then the eggs one at a time and whizz well. 7. Put in the flour and bak­ing pow­der mix a few ta­ble­spoons at a time, then turn this mix­ture into the big bowl of dried fruit. Last of all, pour in the brandy, stir well again and make your Christ­mas wish. 8. Then, the mo­ment has ar­rived – spoon the lovely fruit mix into the cake tin. 9. Bake in the cen­tre of the oven for about an hour and 45 min­utes, then lower the heat to 150°C. and bake for 1 1/2 hours more, un­til a thin knife in­serted in the cen­tre of the cake comes out clean. 10. Let the cake cool for 30 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing it from the tin. Put it on to a cake rack to cool com­pletely. Then care­fully take the pa­per off. Wrap in foil and put in a good cake tin to store.

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