Don't panic if you missed Stir Up Sunday last weekend...there's still time to get into the kitchen to get the Christmas Cake and Pudding made. Here are some of Sam's top tips for homemade mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding.
I have tried countless recipes over the years, trying to get the perfect mince pie pastry, one that is light, flaky and not too sweet. Trial and error has led me to Paul Hollywood's recipe. I use my own homemade mincemeat, which I don't titivate (as he recommends) with apples or satsumas. The combination of homemade mincemeat and Paul Hollywood's pastry is an absolute winner!
No matter what recipe you use, these are three essential things that I've learnt about making a successful Christmas Pud to bring to the table at Christmas Dinner.
1. Soak your fruit in brandy overnight - just mix up the fruit and brandy (or whatever your liquid of choice is) in a bowl, cover and leave it overnight. Don't skip this part as it really enhances the flavour.
2. Always use eggs at room temperature - this avoids curdling which can be incredibly disappointing when you've added all your ingredients.
3. Don't use a food processor!! - this is a classic mistake, and one to avoid. A food processor will blitz all that delicious fruit, whereas stirring with a wooden spoon leaves it intact, the way it should be!
In my experience, when it comes to Christmas Cake everybody in the family has an opinion! Some only eat the marzipan, some only like the icing, others prefer the cake without the marzipan or the icing, some say it MUST be served with cheese.These idiosyncrasies just go on and on. The booze of choice is also a controversial point - whisky or brandy? Or something entirely different? And so, this is my absolute top tip for Christmas Cake....just make it the way YOU like it. You're the chef, and if others don't like it, then you just get to enjoy more of it!