Saturday, 17 December 2011

Some brandy does it

There is one pastry I love to see on my Christmas coffee table. The dough itself is so tasty that I always hope no one is near when I’m making it so I can scrape the remains from the bowl straight to my own mouth.

This favourite of mine is, unsurprisingly, a fruit cake but not the dark and heavy loaf-shaped one traditional in many parts of the world. It is a light-coloured fruity and nutty ring cake with traces of brandy that may be more than just a suggestion if your taste buds are sensitive.

Fruit cake with brandy

250 g  (8 fl oz)  butter or margarine
200 ml                (cane) sugar
4                           eggs
100 ml                dried apricots (chopped)
100 ml                candied cherries
100 ml                hazelnuts
100 ml                currants
500 ml                plain flour
2 teaspoons      baking powder
50 ml                  brandy

Cream butter or margarine and sugar together, beat in the eggs, stir in the fruit and nuts. Stir together the baking powder and the flour and stir the mixture and the brandy in the cream. Spoon in a prepared ring tin and bake in 175°C (350°F) for 45-50 min. 

Some people are not very keen on dried fruit in a cake, which is all the better for those who are. And if the ingredients include something you don’t like you can always replace it with the same amount of something similar. (For example, I don’t like raisins in any baked or cooked food so I’m using currants instead.) 

A slice or two of this cake will be perfect with a cup of tea or coffee on a cold winter afternoon or with a class of sherry or port as a dessert after a lengthy dinner. 

The cake will keep for several weeks. In fact, the flavours will be richer and the nuts a bit softer if you bake it a couple of weeks before you are planning to serve it. You can enjoy slices of the cake all through the holiday season – or even further if you are lucky enough to keep it safe from the gourmands of your company. 

Teresa Maria

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