Every family has traditions associated with Christmas that have been upheld through the years and must be continued. After all, it just wouldn't be Christmas otherwise, right? Some are associated with family, others with friends. One tradition I have always enjoyed is the exchange of Christmas cards between friends; sadly it seems to be one that is getting lost, with the advent (pun intended) of email, Facebook and other means of staying in touch via social media. I still send cards with a letter to many friends, but it seems with the large increase in postal rates earlier this year, many have given up on this tradition. We have received less than half the usual number, at this point. Are you finding the same thing? I expected it, but still it makes me a little sad. I realize everyone is busy with all there is to be done at this time of year, but it is so nice to hear from those you don't see often, to catch up on their news. I admit, I send only half of mine now by post (doing my part to lighten the load of those overworked postal carriers) and the rest by email. Personally, I don't care how I hear from someone, by mail or electronically, as long as I do hear from them. I hope others feel the same way... It's a tradition I'll be keeping for a while. What about you?
spiced apple jelly, my grandmother's recipe. We always have the same type of salad- in fact we now refer to it as "Christmas Day Salad". The cooked veggies might vary from year to year, but the rest remains the same... the turkey, the dressing (stuffing) and gravy, the salad, the jelly and homemade pickles.... uhhh, okay I have to stop- this is making me hungry!
But first I have to tell you about dessert - it's always Christmas Pudding, again my Grandmother Kelly's recipe. It's a steamed pudding, made only for Christmas, definitely a tradition and a favourite at our house. I am the youngest with two older brothers who both love to tease. So I guess you could say it's always been tradition that my brothers teased me, even at Christmas dinner. Brother Leigh always tries to "steal" my pudding, or more accurately steal the hard sauce that accompanies the pudding. Many people serve steamed puddings with a warm sauce, but we have ours with a "hard sauce" which is just a rich butter icing that's been frozen and cut into squares. No matter how large the pieces are cut, Leigh will "complain" that his is not large enough, and that he's been shortchanged on the hard sauce.
Someone commented on my last post that they wished I had posted the recipe for the Christmas Pudding, so here it is.
Grammy Lil's Christmas Pudding
1 cup sultana raisins
1 cup currants
1 cup suet
1 cup brown sugar
maraschino cherries to taste, coarsely chopped (I use about 20 cherries)
blanched almonds to taste, coarsely chopped (I use about 1/2 cup)
2 Tblsp. each citron and mixed peel
1 cup finely shredded raw carrot
1 cup finely shredded raw potato
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
In large mixing bowl, stir together raisins, currants, cherries, nuts, citron, peel, brown sugar and suet. Peel and grate the carrot and potato, stir the baking soda into the grated potato. Add grated vegetables to fruit mixture, stir well.
Sift flour with salt, add to mixture and stir well. Line tube pan with waxed paper. Spread batter evenly in pan. Steam for 3 hours. Check it frequently and add water as needed, ie don't let it boil dry!! Cool well. Wrap in saran, then foil. Store in refrigerator.
For serving, cut in individual pieces and steam until heated through. Serve with hard sauce or your choice of sauces.
I don't have a "recipe" for the hard sauce as I don't measure... But I'm guessing I use about 1/4 cup soft butter (yes it must be butter, margarine just doesn't cut it) to about 2 cups confectioner's sugar and enough cream to make it spreading consistency. I flavor it with almond extract, but vanilla is good too. Spread into a square or rectangle about 1/4" thick, on waxed paper or foil, place on cookie sheet and place in freezer. After several hours, when solid, slide it into a ziploc bag and seal, return to freezer. Cut into squares to serve (in a size large enough to keep all your guests happy. wink)
I should add the table always holds a plate of other dessert goodies too, for the two fussy ones who don't like Pudding... Shortbreads, Cinnamon Stick Shortbreads, Almond Fingers, and several kinds of chocolate squares... And of course.. a bowl of Chicken Bones.
What Christmas traditions do you follow? What is your special Christmas dessert?
A three year old's reaction to her Christmas dinner: "I don't like the turkey, but I like the bread he ate."