Christmas family recipes

Last year I attached some family recipes to our company Christmas card. A number of people have asked for these to be re-issued so here they are.

Black Bun is very traditional and is only eaten at New Year-this version is the one my mother’s mother made every year and with which she won many competitions:

Wash 2lb raisins and 2lb currents. Dry for 20 minutes spread out on a baking tray in a warm oven. Place them in a large bowl with 4oz almonds, 1/2 oz each of cinnamon and ginger, 4 oz candied peel and quarter oz black pepper, add a measure of good quality whisky, cover with a cloth and leave overnight.

The next day line the base and sides of a deep 9 inch baking tin with a thin layer of pastry made from 4 oz butter rubbed into 1 1/2 breakfast cups of plain flour and half teaspoon baking powder. Leave enough pastry to make a lid.

Mix the fruit mixture by hand with 8 oz soft brown sugar and 1lb plain flour into which has been sifted 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. Add a little water to moisten the mix but no more than 3/4 of a breakfast cup. Pack this mixture into the lined tin and carefully seal it with a pastry lead. Prick the top all over really thoroughly and brush it with a little beaten egg. Cook in a moderate oven for three hours.

Pieces of black ban are often taken to friends when first visited in the New Year. The whisky may be omitted as it is not in the traditional recipe.

This is my other granny’s trifle recipe-this is not strictly the traditional version of the Scots Trifle but it is the version that has been enjoyed at all our family celebrations for it least the last 50 years:

Spread thin slices of stale Madeira or other plain cake with raspberry jam and cover the base of a glass serving bowl with them-jammy side up. Drain a large tin of peaches and layer the peaches over the cake, add another layer of jammed cake-jammy side down-over the peaches and sprinkle a little of the fruit juice from the tin over the top. Make up a raspberry jelly (jello) using at least some of the juice from the peaches and pour this over the top of the sponge. Once it has set add a layer of custard (thick creme anglaise) and then a layer of whipped cream. Decorate with sugar sprinkles and serve very cool.

If you have made a peach punch for an earlier party the peaches can be deliciously recycled into the trifle!

Strawberries and a lime jelly make a nice alternative.

This is the shortbread recipe I make myself-vary the proportions of flour and ground rice to achieve the level of crumbliness you like:

Knead together 4 oz slightly salted butter and 2 oz caster sugar. Gradually work in 4 oz plain flour and 2 oz ground rice that you have previously sifted together. Roll out the dough and use a glass to cut into rounds. Bake on a well greased tray at 150 C until light golden brown. Take out of the oven and dredge with caster sugar. Allow to cool. If storing put sheets of greaseproof paper between the layers and keep in an airtight tin. Because of all the butter these do not keep for more than a week or so before the flavour starts to be lost.

I hope you will enjoy these recipes.

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