ANGLO-INDIAN CHRISTMAS DELICACIES - CHRISTMAS CAKE, CHRISTMAS PUDDING, MARZIPAN SWEETS, KALKALS, ROSE COOKIES, DODOL, MATRIMONY SWEET, PLUM CAKE, ETC
Christmas cakes are the best place to start to get in the Christmas spirit nice and early. Christmas cakes are delicious if made in advance and fed with your chosen liquor gradually over the weeks leading up to Christmas. Most Anglo-Indian families have their own recipe for the Christmas Cake, which is usually handed down through generations. Candied fruit, plums, currants, raisins, orange peel etc are dexterously cut and soaked in Rum or Brandy a few weeks in advance. Here is a recipe for Christmas Cake that I’ve been using for many years. It may not look very dark but its rich and tasty.
500 grams refined flour or plain flour
300 grams sugar
500 grams unsalted butter
100 grams black currants
100 grams raisins
100 grams sultanas
100 grams cherries
50 grams prunes
50 grams sliced almonds
50 grams chopped cashew nuts
100 grams chopped orange / lemon peel
1 tablespoon zest of lemon or orange
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
4 eggs beaten well
4 tablespoons milk (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence / extract
2 tablespoons Black Currant Jam or Orange Marmalade
2 tablespoons Black Treacle Syrup or Caramel Syrup (optional)
Chop all the fruit and nuts into very small pieces and soak in 2 or3 cups of rum
Heat the oven to 150°C
Heat the oven to 150°C
Remove the chopped fruit from the rum, drain and keep aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and salt together.
Dust the orange / lemon peel and the chopped soaked fruit with a little flour.
Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the beaten eggs, treacle / Caramel syrup, vanilla essence, orange / lemon zest and mix well. Now add the Black Currant Jam / Marmalade, orange / lemon peel and chopped fruit. Slowly add the flour and mix gently till all the ingredients are combined well. If the mixture is too thick add a little milk.
Pour into a greased and papered baking tin or dish and bake in a slow oven (150°C ) for about one hour or more. (Check if cooked by inserting a tooth pick. If the tooth pick comes out clean, your cake is ready. Bake for some more time if still raw inside)
Remove from the oven when done and set aside to cool.
When the cake is completely cool, poke all over with tooth pick and drizzle brandy or rum all over the cake, (repeat once in every week or ten days). Wrap in foil paper, and store in an air tight container. This cake will last for months if stored in an air tight container.
2. MARZIPAN CANDY SWEETS
Marzipan Candy is one of the sweets made at Christmas time. It is made from ground almonds and is easy to make at home. The basic Marzipan candy can be eaten on its own or it could be flavored with dried fruits, dipped in chocolate, or formed into intricate decorations for cakes and pastries.
Makes 30 pieces Preparation time 1 hour
250 grams almonds
250 grams cashew nuts
250 grams sugar
300 grams icing sugar
2 egg whites
A little rose water for grinding
¼ teaspoon almond essence
Grind the almonds and cashew nuts with the egg whites and rose water to a smooth paste. Transfer the paste into a heavy bottomed pan and add the sugar. Cook on low heat stirring all the time till the mixture forms a soft ball. Remove from heat and add the icing sugar. Divide the mixture into 3 parts and add a few drops of different food colour of your choice. Knead till it forms a dry ball. Divide the mixture into even sized balls and mould into different shapes.
3.KALKALS (Fried sweetened balls of dough)
KALKALS or KULKULS are prepared all over India at Christmas time. It is a variant of ‘Filhoses Enroladas’ a Portuguese Christmas Sweet, Kalkals, (always referred to in the plural) are crunchy inch-long curled or shell shaped sweetened fried dough Sweets. Sugar and flour are combined with eggs, milk and butter to a soft dough and then small marble sized balls of this dough are rolled on the tines of a fork or a comb to form a shell or a scroll, then deep fried in hot oil. The dough can also be rolled out and cut into different shapes such as hearts, spades, diamonds etc with cutters or a knife and then deep fried in hot oil. The Kalkals / Kulkuls are later frosted or coated in hot melted sugar syrup.
I kg refined flour or maida
6 eggs beaten well
2 cups thick coconut milk or 2 packs of coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
300 grams sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for deep frying
Mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Add the coconut milk and eggs and knead to a soft dough. Keep aside for an hour. Form kalkals by taking small lumps of the dough and roll on the back of a fork or a wooden kalkal mould, to form a scroll. Alternately, roll out the dough and cut into fancy shapes with kalkal or cookie cutters. Heat oil in a deep pan and fry as many kalkals as possible at a time.
The Kalkals could be rolled in powdered sugar when still hot or frosted in sugar syrup when cold.
To frost the kalkals, melt 1 cup of sugar with ½ cup of water and when the sugar syrup crystallizes pour over the kalkals and mix well. Store the Kalkals in airtight boxes when cold.
4. SPECIAL CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING
The Christmas Pudding IS invariably made on Stir-up Sunday or the Sunday before the start of the Christian season of Advent which is the 4 weeks before the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. It is usually made in advance so as to give it time to mature. The Pudding is served after dinner on Christmas Day. In the olden days making the Christmas Pudding was a family event where every member of the family would give the Christmas Pudding a stir and make a wish. A coin, a ring or a thimble were sometimes added to the pudding mixture and the person who got it in his / her piece of the pudding on Christmas day was supposed to be lucky. The finger ring would foretell a wedding to the person who got it.
CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING
Serves 6 Preparation time 1 hour
200 grams fresh bread crumbs
200 grams butter
2 teaspoons instant coffee (Nescafe or Bru)
2 teaspoons golden syrup or date syrup
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs beaten well
¼ cup rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
100 grams chopped raisins
100 grams chopped black currants
100 grams mixed peel
½ teaspoon salt
100 grams sugar
Cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs and mix well. Gradually add all the other ingredients and mix well. Grease a Pudding Mould or any suitable bowl with butter. Pour the pudding mixture into it. Steam the pudding for about 1 hour on low heat either in a pressure cooker or a suitable pan or steamer till it is firm to touch.
Note: This pudding can be made weeks in advance and refrigerated till required. Steam for 10 minute or microwave for 3 minutes before serving. For a more exotic taste, when still warm make a few small holes all over the pudding and pour about 6 tablespoons of rum over it
HOW TO FLAME YOUR CHRISTMAS PUDDING
The flaming of the pudding needs a steady hand and for safety reasons, should not be done by someone who has enjoyed too much wine.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of rum or brandy into a metal ladle or a deep spoon and carefully heat over a gas flame or lit candle till the liquor bursts into flame. Quickly pour the flaming rum or brandy over the pudding and take it to the dinner table. Make sure the lights are out when taking it to the table for a grand entrance. Once the flames have subsided, serve with, cream or custard.