Not hair of the dog but an ingredient in the mincemeat I made this morning in preparation for mince pies.
Another Sunday, another 4am start and another few hours spent in the kitchen. The idea for gin and the base recipe I used came from a friend who kindly gave me a taste of her batch earlier in the week. I am a little scared of mince pies as pastry is my baking nemesis. Last year, full of good intentions, with family coming to visit, my Christmas Eve baking session ended up in the bin. Luckily I had some shop bought ones in the cupboard and when people arrived the house at least smelled of fresh, home-baked mince pies (and no, I didn't try and pass them off as my own!).
There was something very therapeutic about chopping the apples whilst listening to yet more torrential rain. The high point of the morning was adding a little of the cooling (pre-gin) mixture to my porridge. The finished product is sat, in jars, maturing and waiting for me to be brave enough to attempt the pastry.
This weekend I also put my Christmas decorations up, fed the Christmas cakes again and had a little slice of the test cake - delicious. I love this time of year.
As the mincemeat didn't call for me to use the kitchenAid I of course had to bake something else too. I went with Dorie Greenspan's 'All-in-One Holiday Bundt' crammed full of cranberries, pumpkin, apple, nuts and spices, it's just delicious.
Makes about 1 1/2 large kilner jars
200g muscavado sugar
Juice and Zest of 3 oranges (approx 200ml)
Zest of 1 lemon
Heaped tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
750g Bramley Apples finely diced (approx 4)
200g dried cranberries
Put butter, sugar, orange juice and spices in a pan, heat slowly until smooth, add apple, zests, dried fruits and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 - 15 mins or until the apples are soft. Allow to cool then add the gin .... and a bit more ... and go on just a bit more. I added a lot of gin ... I will let you know how it turns out in a few days!
All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake
from Dorie Greespan's 'Baking, From my Home to Yours'
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tps freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
135g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar (I reduced to 3/4's)
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar (I used reduced this too, to about 1/3 cup, not packed)
2 large eggs at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved
1 cup pecans roughly chopped (I used walnuts).
Butter and flour your bundt tin and preheat the oven to 175C
Mix flour, spices and raisin agents in bowl
Mix butter and sugars until light and fluffy (approx 5 mins) at medium speed
Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 min after each addition
Reduce speed and add pumpkin and apple - Dorie points out at this point not to worry if your mixture looks curdled - mine did!
On low speed add the dry ingredients but do not over mix
using a spatula stir in cranberries and nuts - spoon into pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 60 - 70 mins, leave to cool in tin for 5 mins before turning out onto a wire rack.