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Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Fruitcake

This is a dark, moist fruitcake. I usually make it at the end of October and start nibbling by the end of November. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off but, do be prepared to start preparation the night before you plan to bake it. – Marie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 2 oz. pkgs. slivered blanched almonds
  • 2 x 8 oz. pkgs. candied cherries
  • 8 oz. pkg. chopped mixed peel
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy or sherry

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  Combine the almonds, cherries, mixed peel, raisins, currents, dates and brandy. Cover and allow to stand overnight, (a minimum of 2 hours, if you’re really in a hurry).
2.  Prepare your cake pan. Traditionally, this is made in a 3 x 8 x 8” fruitcake pan. An angel food cake pan works as well. Whatever you choose, you must grease the pan and line the bottom with brown paper then grease the paper. This is to prevent the outside of the cake from overcooking and so that you can turn it out of the pan to cool.
3.  Dredge the fruit with ½ cup of flour.
4.  In a separate bowl, cream the butter. Blend in the eggs and brown sugar and beat well. (This will be your mixing bowl).
5.  In another bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and salt.
6.  In a measuring cup mix together the molasses and apple juice.
7.  To the butter and egg mixture, add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid. Make 4 dry and 3 liquid additions combining lightly after each addition. Lightly fold in the fruit mixture. Turn it into the prepared pan.
8.  Bake at 275°F for 3-3 1/2 hours or, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Turn out the pan onto a cooling rack. Carefully remove the brown paper. Allow the cake to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Optional:  After the first week poke a few holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick or skewer. Pour 2 tbsp. brandy or sherry over the cake. Repeat once a week for a month.

 NOTE: For gift giving or freezing, smaller pans can be used. Shorten the baking time. If frozen, this cake will easily keep until the next Christmas.

Traditional Tourtiere

Originally a French-Canadian specialty, this dish is now enjoyed by Canadians from many ethnic backgrounds. Marie has used this recipe for many years.

TOURTIERE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground pork 750 g
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 125 mL
  • 1/2 cup boiling water 125 mL
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 1
  • 1 tbsp. Dymond Lake Seasoning (DLS)* 15 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. sage 1 mL
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • Flaky pastry (see below) for a 2-crust 9″ (23 cm) pie

 

TOURTIERE DIRECTIONS

1.  In a large pan, combine and cook the pork, onion, water, garlic, DLS, sage and cloves over low heat, stirring constantly until the meat loses its red color and about half of the liquid has evaporated. Cover and cook for 45 minutes longer.
2.  While the meat is cooking, boil, drain and mash the potatoes.
3.  Mix the mashed potatoes into the meat mixture. Cool.
4.  Roll out half of the pastry and line a 9″ (23 cm) pie plate. Fill with meat mixture. Roll out remaining dough and cover the meat filling. Flute crust and seal the edges. Slash the top to allow the steam to escape.
5.  Bake at 450°F (230°C) for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for 30-40 minutes longer.

Serves 6.

FLAKY PASTRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 425 mL
  • 3/4 tsp. salt 3 mL
  • 1/3 lbs. lard ( 2/3 cup[150 ML]) 150g
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vinegar 7 mL
  • cold water

 

FLAKY PASTRY DIRECTIONS

1.  To make pastry, mix the flour and salt and then cut in the lard with a patry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2.  Separate an egg yolk into a measuring cup. Add the vinegar and whisk with a fork. Fill to the 1/3 cup (75 mL) measure with cold water.
3.  Add to the flour mixture and mix with a fork until it just clings together and cleans away from the side of the bowl.
4.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface; cut pastry to fit pie shells. If the dough is sticky, do not be afraid to sprinkle a little more flour on the rolling surface.

NOTE:  Tourtiere may be frozen after baking. Reheat in 350°F (180°C} oven for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

Dymond Lake Seasoning (DLS) – Substitute 1 1/2 tsp. (7 mL) salt, 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) celery salt, 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) black pepper.

Christmas Rum Balls

Christmas Rum Balls

Don't eat too many!

When Marie babysat Leaha as a little girl in Churchill, she didn’t expect to be collecting recipes from her many years later. We are truly blessed by all the people who are willing to share their favorites and here is one of Leaha’s.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups finely ground vanilla wafers 1L
  • 1 cup finely ground pecans 250 ml
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar 375 ml
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 75 ml
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup melted butter 175 ml
  • 3/4 cup white rum 175 ml
  • 1/4 cup almond paste 60 ml
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 125 ml
  • pinch salt pinch
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted* 250 ml
  • chocolate shot, optional

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Finely grind vanilla wafers and pecans in a food processor.
2. Combine the wafers and pecans with icing sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter and rum.
3. Puree the almond paste in a food processor. Add the sour cream and salt. Mix well and add the melted chocolate chips. Mix well.
4. Add the sour cream mixture to the vanilla wafer mixture in a large bowl. Stir until well mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until fairly firm
5. Form into balls and roll in chocolate shot if you wish. Place on waxed paper-lined trays to harden overnight.
6. Put rum balls in tins and allow to mature for 2 weeks. Freeze if you are going to keep them more than 4 weeks.

Makes about 50 rum balls.

VARIATION: Rum balls may be dipped in melted chocolate rather than rolled in chocolate shot.

* Use low heat on stove top or microwave for 2 minutes on medium, then stir until melted.

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies

Imagine the possibilities!

These edible ornaments are a Christmas tradition in the Woolsey family. We first found the recipe in the National Geographic magazine, and right from the beginning, it was important to invite another family to join us.

Now that the kids have all gone, we invite parish families and friends to the annual event – along with whatever grandchildren are in town – and we have games and a sing-along for an evening of entertainment. All the kids go home with a bag full of their cookie creations – to hang on the tree or just to eat!

INGREDIENTS

  •  2 cups clear, hard candies, individually wrapped, an assortment of colours* 500 mL
  • 1 cup margarine, softened 250 mL
  • 1 cup brown sugar 250 mL
  • 1/3 cup liquid honey 75 mL
  • 1/4 cup water 60 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 3 cups flour 750 mL
  • aluminum foil

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. To do ahead of time (1 to 4): Sort all your candies into groups of the same color. Unwrap them all. Have an adult grind them with a hand grinder (or smash them with a hammer) until they are almost powder. You may have to come up with your own method, but don’t ruin your Mom’s steel blades on her blender!!
  2. Combine the margarine, sugar and honey in a bowl. Stir in the water and mix until smooth.
  3. Combine the salt, baking soda and flour. Add them a little at a time to the sugar mixture. The dough will be thick and if you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook, you will have to knead it together with your hands. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour so that it is firm enough to handle.
  4. Cut or tear squares of aluminum foil, 6 x 8″ (15 x 20 em), or whatever size you can fit a cookie on. You will need at least 4-6 per person.
  5. Now you can start. Turn the oven on to 325°F (160°C).
  6. Give each person a lump of dough about the size of a kiwi. Pinch off a small ball of your dough and, on the table, roll it into long, thin strips. Use the strips to outline a shape on your aluminum foil (a tree, star, stocking, candy cane, angel, candle – be creative) Join the strips by pressing the ends together as needed. If you intend to hang your cookie ornament, you will need to put a loop at the top of your outline.
  7. As each outline is finished, place your aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet is full (about 6 cookies) place it in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.
  8. Remove the cookie sheet and place it on a protected surface where everyone can reach to fill in the spaces with crushed candy. Do not fill in the loop for hanging. Be careful as the cookie sheet is hot.
  9. Now you can make the colored windows in your cookies. Using a spoon, fill each of the outlined spaces with crushed candy. When everyone has done their cookies, place the cookie sheet in the oven again. Bake for 7 more minutes, until the candy has melted. It may even start to bubble, but that won’t hurt the cookies.
  10. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven, and this time, remove each of the pieces of foil to the counter to cool. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then remove them from the foil. (If they have to travel home in a bag or box, leave them on the foil until you get home.)
  11. Tie a string in the loops and hang them for all to admire!

One recipe is enough for 6 people. It is easily doubled for more.

* Lifesavers or lollipops are easier to crush, but don’t give as clear a color when melted.

Hot Cross Buns

Cranberries & Canada Geese CookbookIt is a tradition in our family to make Hot Cross Buns every Lenten season. They take longer than regular buns but don’t try any shortcuts or you’ll shortchange yourself. – Marie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 7 cups flour (approx.)
  • 2 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated orange peel (about two oranges)
  • 1 cup raisins

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  Heat the milk just until lukewarm
2.  Add the tbsp. sugar, 3 cups of flour and yeast. Beat well with an electric mixer. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the remaining flour. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture.
4.  Switch to a dough hook, if you have one, and gradually add the remaining 4 cups of flour. Knead it until dough isn’t too sticky to handle. If kneading by hand, add as much flour as you can in the bowl then turn out onto a floured surface and work in the rest of the flour by hand using a kneading motion. If may take a little more or a little less flour. Just knead the dough until it feels soft but not sticky and bounces back when pressed, about 8-10 minutes.
5.  Shape dough into a ball, place in a large, well-greased bowl, turning dough to grease surface. Cover it with a cloth, put it in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, an hour or longer.
6.  Punch down dough. Divide in half and let rest for 10 minutes.
7.  Shape each half into 18 buns. Place buns 1” apart on a well-greased baking sheet or pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour.
8.  Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 13 – 15 minutes.