Posts filed under desserts & sweets

Ultimate Christmas Pudding

Ultimate Christmas Pudding

•    1 ¼ cups currants
•    1 cup golden raisins
•    1 cup roughly chopped pitted prunes
•    ¾ cup Pedro Ximenez sherry
•    ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
•    2 ⅓ cups fresh breadcrumbs
•    14 tablespoons coarsely grated vegetable shortening (freeze overnight to make it easier to grate) 
•    ¾ cup dark brown sugar
•    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
•    1 teaspoon baking powder
•    grated zest of 1 lemon
•    3 large eggs
•    1 medium apple (peeled and grated) 
•    2 tablespoons honey
•    ½ cup vodka

You will need a 1.7 litre/3 pint/1½ quart heatproof plastic pudding basin with a lid, and also a sprig of holly to decorate.
1.    Although I stipulate a capacious 1.7 litre/3 pint/1½ quart basin, and cannot extol the utter gloriousness of this pud too much, I know that you’re unlikely to get through most of it, even half of it, at one sitting. But I like the grand, pride instilling size of this, plus it’s wonderful on following days, microwaved in portionsafter or between meals, with leftover Eggnog Cream, or fried in butter and eaten with vanilla ice cream for completely off-the-chart, midnight-munchy feasts. But it wouldn’t be out of the question – and it would certainly be in the spirit of the season – to make up the entire quantity of mixture, and share between smaller basins – a 2 pint/1 quart one for you, a 1 pint/½ quart one to give away. Three hours’ steaming both first and second time around should do it; just keep the one pudding for yourself, and give the other to a friend, after it’s had its first steaming, and is cool, with the steaming instructions for Christmas Day.
2.    Put the currants, golden raisins and scissored pitted prunes into a bowl with the Pedro Ximénez, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for up to 1 week.
3.    When the fruits have had their steeping time, put a large pan of water on to boil, or heat some water in a conventional steamer, and butter your heatproof plastic pudding basin (or basins), remembering to grease the lid, too.
4.    In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients, either in the traditional manner or just any old how; your chosen method of stirring, and who does it, probably won’t affect the outcome of your wishes or your Christmas.
5.    Add the steeped fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a rubber spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly, then fold in cola-cleaned coins or heirloom charms. If you are at all frightened about choking-induced fatalities at the table, do leave out the hardware.
6.    Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and put on the lid. Then wrap with a layer of foil (probably not necessary, but I do it as I once had a lid-popping and water-entering experience when steaming a pudding) so that the basin is watertight, then either put the basin in the pan of boiling water (to come halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded steamer (this size of basin happens to fit perfectly in the top of my all-purpose pot) and steam for 5 hours, checking every now and again that the water hasn’t bubbled away.
7.    When it’s had its 5 hours, remove gingerly (you don’t want to burn yourself) and, when manageable, unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin somewhere out of the way in the kitchen or, if you’re lucky enough, a larder, until Christmas Day.
8.    On the big day, rewrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours. Eight hours combined cooking time might seem a faff, but it’s not as if you need to do anything to it in that time.
9.    To serve, remove from the pan or steamer, take off the lid, put a plate on top, turn it upside down and give the plastic basin a little squeeze to help unmould the pudding. Then remove the basin – and voilà, the Massively Matriarchal Mono Mammary is revealed. (Did I forget to mention the Freudian lure of the pudding beyond its pagan and Christian heritage?)
10.    Put the sprig of holly on top of the dark, mutely gleaming pudding, then heat the vodka in a small pan (I use my diddy copper butter-melting pan) and the minute it’s hot, but before it boils – you don’t want the alcohol to burn off before you attempt to flambé it – turn off the heat, strike a match, stand back and light the pan of vodka, then pour the flaming vodka over the pudding and take it as fast as you safely can to your guests. If it feels less dangerous to you (I am a liability and you might well be wiser not to follow my devil-may-care instructions), pour the hot vodka over the pudding and then light the pudding. In either case, don’t worry if the holly catches alight; I have never known it to be anything but singed.
11.    Serve with the Eggnog Cream, which you can easily make - it's the work of undemanding moments - while the pudding's steaming.
Make the Christmas pudding up to 6 weeks ahead. Keep in a cool, dark place, then proceed as recipe on Christmas Day.
Make and freeze the Christmas pudding for up to 1 year ahead. Thaw overnight at room temperature and proceed as recipe on Christmas Day.

Posted on November 1, 2017 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Christmas Mincemeat Bread

From "Our Daily Bread" by Stella Standard (pub c 1970)

If you have some mincemeat left-over (how would that happen???) this is a great way to use it up. If you don't have any left-over, it's worth picking up (or making) some more!


  • 1 cup mincemeat
  • 2 or 3 Tbsp dark rum
  • 1/2 cup 100% bran crumbles cereal
  • 2 cups soft whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder


  1. If you are using homemade mincemeat, then just add the rum. If it is commercial, use a scant cup of it and add 5 or 6 sliced dates and 2 spoons of apricot jam or orange marmalade, and the rum.
  2. Mix with the dry ingredients and the beaten egg.
  3. Mix the buttermilk, sugar and baking powder and add to the flour mixture (use a large bowl as it may foam up a bit)
  4. The batter should be soft and moist but not thin.
  5. Bake bread in a greased bread pan 1 hour at 350F.
  6. Slice after it has cooled.

This is nice to have during the holidays for tea.

Posted on December 13, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Norwegian Citron Bread

From "Our Daily Bread" by Stella Standard (pub c 1970)

Tastes like Christmas...


  • 1/2 cup sweet butter (if unavailable, use salted butter but omit salt below)
  • 1  1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1 cup moist glazed citron, chopped or sliced (if quite dry, splash with a bit of something boozy)
  • 1  1/2 cups milk


  1. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth, then add the beaten eggs
  2. Soak the currants in whiskey for an hour or more, if you please.
  3. Sift the flour with the dry ingredients; toss the raisins and citron through them
  4. Add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternately, to the creamed mixture
  5. Bake in 3 little oiled loaf pans or 1 large one, 1 hour at 350F for the large one and 35 to 40 minutes for the little ones 
Posted on December 13, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Retro Popcorn Balls

From Hot Off the Griddle #46, December 1995.


  • 12 cups popped corn (about 3/4 cup popcorn)
  • 1/2 lb. candied cherries, halved
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In greased 8 quart saucepan toss popped corn with cherries until well mixed.
  2. In 2 quart saucepan over medium high heat, heat to boiling corn syrup, vinegar and salt, stirring occasionally.
  3. Set candy thermometer in place; continue cooking, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250 deg.F. or until a small amount dropped in very cold water forms a hard but pliable ball.
  4. Remove syrup mixture from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly pour syrup over popped corn mixture, tossing until kernels are coated.
  6. With greased hands, shape mixture into 3-inch balls, using as little pressure as possible so balls will not be too compact. If mixture hardens, place saucepan over very low heat until mixture is pliable.

Makes 12.

Posted on December 3, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Maple Glazed Walnuts

Borrowed directly from the pages of the magnificent cookbook “Nuts: Sweet and Savory Recipes… from Diamond of California”

These delicious crunchy nuts make a fine addition to a cheese platter or a holiday cookie assortment. You can find maple flavoring in the spice section of most supermarkets*, along with the vanilla and other extracts. For an equally tasty variation, substitute pure vanilla extract for the maple.

  • 1 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt, drained of any excess liquid
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 c walnut halves
  • 2 tsp maple flavoring

Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, coat with vegetable oil spray. In a heavy, medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, granulated sugar, sour cream, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth and comes to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring, until mixture reaches 236F to 240F on a candy thermometer. (A small spoonful of the mixture dropped into ice water will form a soft ball when rubbed between your index finger and thumb.)

Quickly stir in walnuts and maple flavoring; cook, stirring, until nuts are coated completely, 2 to 3 minutes. Working carefully, spread walnuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, separating nuts with a fork. Let cool completely.

Store airtight at room temperature up to 1 week.

Yields 4 cups.

* (or, ahem, at Foodstuffs…)

Posted on December 3, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Uncooked Fruit Caramels

Originally published in Hot Off the Griddle – December 1995.

These are easy-to-make but a sticky business – the kind of recipe the kids might like to help with… The fiddly bit is cutting and rolling them for gift-giving – but they are worth the effort! 


  • 1 cup seeded raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup figs
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 candied orange peel
  • 6 candied cherries
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • Icing sugar


  1. Wash the raisins, dried apricots and figs.
  2. Grind together the raisins, dried apricots, figs, dates, candied orange peel, cherries and walnuts.
  3. Add enough orange juice to hold the fruits and nuts together; mix well.
  4. Press into a greased 8 × 8 × 2 inch pan. Chill overnight in refrigerator.
  5. Cut in squares.
  6. Roll squares in icing sugar.

Makes 2 dozen pieces. Line your tin with waxed paper and put waxed paper between layers for better keeping… but they won’t last long!

Posted on December 2, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Retro Tutti Frutti

From Hot Off the Griddle #22, December 1993.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cornflakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup glazed cherries (mixed red and green)
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 tsp almond flavouring
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla


  1. Cream butter, sugar, egg and flavouring.
  2. Add cornflakes, nuts, dates, cherries, raisins and coconut.
  3. Form in balls and bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen.

Posted on November 30, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Marinated Christmas Fruitcake

Some of you have been asking for a dependable & delicious fruit cake recipe.

This one’s from “The Canadian Mennonite Cookbook”.

Yield: 4 loaves
(8” x 4” x 3” pans)
Preheat: 275 F


  • 1 lb seedless raisins
  • 1 lb currants
  • 1 lb sultana raisins
  • 1/2 lb figs (chop)
  • 1/2 lb dates (chop)
  • 1/2 lb red & green glazed cherries
  • 1 lb mixed glazed fruit & peel
  • 1 cup wine or sherry

Combine the fruits and wine and marinate over night (8-10 hours) covered (in glass or crockery containers)

  • 2 cups butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purp/flour
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup fancy (sweet) molasses
  • juice and finely grated rind of one orange
  • 1 cup grape juice
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup slivered almond
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • juice and finely grated rind of one lemon


  1. Cream butter, add sugars and beat well.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
  3. Sift flour & spices.
  4. Combine molasses, fruit juices, grated rinds and almond extract.
  5. Add sifted ingredients and molasses/juice/rind mix alternately to butter/sugar/egg mixture, beating well after each addition.
  6. Fold in marinated fruits and chopped nuts.
  7. Distribute evenly in pans and bake ‘til done when tested with a cake tester or toothpick


Don’t be a slave to cooking times: when it’s done, it’s done – not sooner.
Line loaf pans with baking foil – shiny side down, lightly greased.
Place a pan of water on lowest rack to prevent over-browning.
Let rest in the pans only a few minutes before turning out on racks to cool.
When cooled, completely wrap first in plastic wrap, then foil.

Posted on November 4, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Parkin Spice Cake

Presented in “Joy of Cooking” as a not-too-sweet Guy Fawkes Day cake. It needs no icing, although a warm, tangy lemon dessert sauce goes nicely. It’s a treat for breakfast with no more sweetening than the average packaged breakfast cereal.


Heat in a double boiler (or very gently in saucepan or microwave):

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup treacle (or molasses, if need be)

Mix in a bowl:

  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind


  1. Add 2/3 cup milk to the dry ingredients, alternating with the butter-mixture.
  2. Combine until dry ingredients are just moist. The batter will be thin.
  3. Bake in a greased 8 inch square pan for about 30-35 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull from the sides of the pan.
  4. Let cool.
  5. Eat and enjoy anytime—not just during November.

About Guy Fawkes: In 1605, Guy Fawkes and a group of co-conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

On the night of November 5, throughout Britain, bonfires are set alight, effigies are burned and fireworks are set off to commemorate Britain’s most notorious traitor

To find out more, read Antonia Fraser’s Faith and Treason, or check out .

Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

New England Indian Pudding

From Hot Off the Griddle #19, October 1993.


  1. Scald 2 cups milk in a double boiler.
  2. Mix separately 1/4 cup each yellow corn meal and cold milk.
  3. Add to hot milk and cook 20 minutes, stirring.
  4. Add 1/2 cup molasses, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup raisins.
  5. Pour into buttered baking dish.
  6. Pour 1 3/4 cups cold milk over top and bake 3 hours at 250 degrees F.
  7. Let stand 1/2 hour.
  8. Serve with heavy cream.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Posted on September 28, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Butterscotch Sauce - Old Style

From the Collection of Marg Dye. First appeared in Hot Off the Griddle May 1993

This is from a Pillsbury-sponsored cookbook so old that all the pages have come loose and frayed around the edges… but if you want a delicious butterscotch sauce that makes no apologies for it’s richness, this is it!


  • 2/3 c firmly packed golden sugar
  • 2/3 c light corn syrup
  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2/3 c light cream or canned milk


  1. Combine ingredients over heat and boil gently, stirring, about 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Gradually add the syrup mixture to the cream (in another pot), stirring constantly.
  3. Quickly bring again to a boil, remove from heat and let stand.

This sauce thickens as it stands, but if it separates, just give it a quick stir before serving. Best warm, not hot – wonderful over golden cake, or the classic – vanilla ice cream.


Posted on September 17, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Mom's Easy Fudge

From the Collection of Marg Dye


  • 2/3 cup undiluted Carnation milk
  • 1 & 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups diced marshmallow (or mini marshmallows)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts preferred by Mom)


  1. Combine ingredients in saucepan over medium heat. Heat to boiling, cook five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  2. Add diced marshmallow (or mini marshmallows), chocolate chips, vanilla, and nuts.
  3. Stir until melted, pour into pan, cool.


Enjoy with nostalgia.

Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

St. Patrick's Day Potatoes

From the Collection of Marg Dye

SURPRISE! They’re chocolate! Recipe is quick and easy. Delicious too.


  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup of nut meats, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup of condensed milk (sweetened)



  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar


Mix cocoa and sugar and chopped nut meats. Moisten with condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk) and vanilla. Shape into small potatoes and make eyes on the “potatoes” with a blunt point. Combine the additional cocoa and sugar. Roll potatoes in it. Done!

Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Almond Amaranth Cake

Company’s Coming by Jean Pare


  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked amaranth
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • icing sugar, to sprinkle (optional)


  1. Beat first 5 ingredients in large bowl until frothy.
  2. Add amaranth. Beat until smooth.
  3. Combine flour and almonds in medium bowl. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture.
  4. Pour batter into greased 9 inch springform pan.
  5. Bake in 350F oven for about 65 minutes until firm and wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let stand in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on wire rack to cool.
  6. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Cuts into 16 wedges.
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Apple-Nut Coffee Cake

From Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Cookbook. Printed in Hot Off the Griddle #43, September 1995.


  1. In mixing bowl cream together 1/2 cup shortening and 1 cup granulated sugar.
  2. Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla; beat well.
  3. Stir thoroughly 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp tsp salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with 1 cup dairy sour cream.
  4. Fold in 2 cups finely chopped apple.
  5. Spread batter in greased 13 × 9 × 2 inch baking pan.
  6. Combine 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; stir in 2 tbsp melted butter.
  7. Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over batter.
  8. Bake at 350 deg. for 35 to 40 minutes.
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Beautiful White Birthday Cake

Contributed by Kim Falls

It’s easy enough to be an everyday cake and special enough to be a birthday cake. Two thumbs up from Kim, who makes it regularly as her tried and true cake for decorating. Makes two 9-inch round cakes or one 9 × 13 inch cake.


  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp (pure) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or reconstituted buttermilk powder)


  1. Mix dry ingredients well.
  2. Beat butter until smooth (medium speed with mixer). Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time just until blended. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture alternately in 3 batches. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl so that all is evenly combined.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Chocolate Wishing Ring Cake

From Hot Off the Griddle #36, March 1995.


  1. Sift together 1 1/3 cups sifted flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp soda, 1 1/4 cups sugar.
  2. Add 1/3 cup shortening, 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk.
  3. Beat for 2 minutes until batter is well blended. (With electric mixer blend at low speed, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes)
  4. Add 2 eggs, unbeaten, 2 1/2 squares chocolate, melted and slightly cooled, 1 tsp vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into well greased and floured 9 inch ring pan, 3 inches deep, fillling half full.
  6. Bake in 375 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Cool, and frost with your favourite icing, or drizzle with a light glaze (like that given for “Hot Cross Buns”).
  8. Before serving, fill ring with scoops of ice cream. Or, for Easter, fill with coloured candy Easter eggs and other treats to give the cake the appearance of an Easter basket full of goodies!
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Gold Cake

From Hot Off the Griddle #12, March 1993.

Make meringues (look for a recipe in our collection) with the leftover egg whites. 


  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, 3 times.
  2. Cream together shortening and sugar.
  3. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-coloured; add to creamed mixture; beat well.
  4. Add flour mixture alternately with milk; add vanilla extract.
  5. Pour into greased tube pan 9” in diameter.
  6. Bake in moderate oven (350 deg.) 1 – 1 1/4 hours.
  7. Cool 10 minutes.
  8. Remove cake from pan; cool on wire rack.
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.

Margaret's Everyday Fruitcake

An easy fruitcake that you can eat and enjoy right away.


  • 5 oz butter (2/3 cup)
  • 5 oz sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 12 oz mixed fruit (1 3/4 cup)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Boil all together in pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool.


  • 8 oz self-raising flour (1 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Bake in loaf pan at 300 degrees farenheit for 1 1/4 hours.
  • Let cool.
  • Eat and enjoy.
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under desserts & sweets.