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Jamie’s Christmas Pudding Strudel

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This is another fabulous recipe from Jamie Oliver.  It’s his Christmas Pudding Strudel, a lovely way to reinvent Christmas pudding leftovers and make something really yummy and quite special. I blogged this in January 2015, having made it for a Twelfth Night supper. It’s basically layers of filo pastry, filled with grated apple, pear or quince, crumbled Christmas pudding and a surprise chocolate centre.

I am reblogging the recipe to inspire everyone to get in the Christmas baking mood. But first make your Christmas pudding in order to have left overs to make strudel…

Ingredients

12 sheets filo pastry – if frozen, thaw.  I mention in my original post that perhaps you could use less filo, as 12 layers is a little too much

125 g butter, melted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

100 g demerara sugar + more for dusting when serving

4 ginger nut biscuits

400 g leftover Christmas pudding

3 apples or pears or 2 quinces or a mixture of the three

50 g good-quality chocolate, roughly chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced.  Lay out 6 sheets of filo pastry on a clean tea towel, overlapping each by an inch or so, so they cover the tea towel.
The filo should cover the tea towel completely, with just a little overhang at one of the shorter ends.

Work quickly so your pastry doesn’t dry out and brush some melted butter all over it. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and 50 g of the sugar, then crumble over your ginger nut biscuits to add crunch. Carefully layer the rest of the pastry sheets on top and brush again with butter.

Use your hands to crumble the Christmas pudding into a bowl then grate in the fruit, everything except the cores. (Jamie says to use the cores  – I don’t think you need them.) You want to have about the same amount of grated fruit as you’ve got pudding. Add about 2 tablespoons of sugar, and mix it all together to break up the pudding a bit more. Sprinkle this all over the pastry so it’s roughly covered, leaving the overhang clear. Place the chocolate in a row on top of the Christmas pudding, down the short side nearest the overhang.

Fold the overhang over the chocolate and pinch it up, then lift up your tea towel, and use it to help you carefully roll up your strudel. Tuck the ends under to seal it and transfer to a large nonstick baking tray. Brush it all over with butter then sprinkle over a little more sugar. If it looks a bit rough, you could wrap an extra layer of filo round it before cooking to make it neater. Bake in the hot oven for about 40 minutes until crisp and golden. You may get a split once cooked – I agree with Jamie that that would add to the rustic effect!

Leave to cool, then use a serrated knife to cut the strudel into 5 cm slices.

Note: This recipe makes quite a large strudel –the photos here are of half the strudel.

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Christmas Spruce Cake for the Festive Season

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I first made this unusual cake in 2013. I had just hunted down the all important cake tin on eBay and I was super keen to try out the new acquisition! It’s a Nordic Ware mold called Holiday Tree Bundt Pan, that is shaped like a Christmas spruce tree.

I am re-blogging the recipe as the festive season approaches, and we begin to think about what to cook for all those up-coming celebrations.

The cake is fabulous because of the tin, but really, you can make it in an ordinary cake tin, or in any other fancy tin you have on hand. It’s a Nigella recipe for a rich butter cake, which can be spiced up with anything you like, but Christmas flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are a wonderful way to go.

The recipe is from Nigella Christmas, a cook book full of exciting Christmas treats. It’s also on Nigella’s website: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/spruced-up-vanilla-cake

But beware – if you do happen to be using this gorgeous spruce mold, you must grease the mold really carefully as the cake is very tricky to remove from the tin. I have experienced the cake sticking and coming out in bits. But when the cake comes out intact, it’s delightful, and can be zhushed with icing, chocolate or glace fruit.

Ingredients
225 gms soft butter (plus more for greasing)
300 gms caster sugar
6 large eggs
350 gms plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 gms plain fat-free yoghurt
4 tsps vanilla extract and/or
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
2 tbls icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees C non fan forced and put a baking sheet in at the same time.
Butter or oil the Nordic ware spruce tree mould very thoroughly. Alternatively, you could use a large 2.5 litre capacity tin.
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar into a food processor and blitz together. Pour and spoon the mixture into the greased tin and spread evenly.
Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden.
After 45 minutes, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Rest the cake out of the oven for 15 minutes.
Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake.
Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve, or decorate in whatever way inspires you.

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White Chocolate, Cranberry and Sour Cherry Cookies: Christmas Baking

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This is the first proper day of Christmas baking for me for 2015.

Technically it was the second, as I had baked for work colleagues last week. I made mini muffin Christmas cakes, but I am not counting them as I blogged them last year. See the post for Little Christmas Cakes.

I made these Christmassy cookies – White Chocolate, Cranberry and Sour Cherry –  for the the foreperson of the building renovations next door to me.

We have survived 7 months of extensive renovations to the house next door. During this time – winter, spring and summer  – I got to know the foreperson on the site, a very capable young woman who impressed me with her expertise, communication skills and physical strength!

Yesterday was the last day of renovations, and so I baked for Jess as a thank you for all her help and because it’s Christmas!

The recipe, minus the sour cherries, is Jamie Oliver‘s of course. I thought the cherries added flavour and festiveness. Strangely, while the recipe follows other conventional cookie recipes, there is no egg in it. The cookies were quite crumbly, and I wondered if the lack of egg was responsible for this.  Just be a little careful storing or transporting them.

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Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

85g icing sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla paste

100g self-raising flour

30g cornflour

4 tablespoons rolled oats

50g white chocolate roughly chopped

50g  cranberries (fresh, defrosted or rehydrated)

30g sour cherries

Method

Beat the butter and icing sugar till pale with an electric mixer. Or just do it in the food processor as I did. Add vanilla extract to the butter/sugar mixture.

Combine the flour, cornflour and oats, then add carefully to the mixture. Try not to over mix whether you are using an electric mixer or food processor, as the oats will break up too much. You need them still to be crunchy. Mix in the chocolate and cranberries and cherries by hand, then shape the dough into a roll. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Slice the dough into 1cm rounds, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown, but soft to the touch.

Carefully transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack and allow to cool and crisp a little before eating or storing.

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