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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, Everyone. Putting down keyboard to finish cookery. So far we've been trying out the things that needed aging.

Opened up the Brandied plums we put into brandy or vodka in September: They're a little more firm than they were last year, owing to the shortened damson season. Maybe another month will cure that, but they're good to go. Now to find an authentic plum pudding recipe. I've even got my suet rendered and ready.

Fruitcake. Alright, but didn't survive the year's aging as well as I'd like because of a slight taste on the surface from the container. For next year, I'll use a metal tin instead of a plastic one. And more airtight. But still very luscious with hard sauce.

Dandelion wine: Made with honey and dried apricots instead of sugar and raisins. Really aged well since spring. Still very strong, about 18%. More like a dry sherry with a bitter floral note. Definitely one to re-do next spring when the lawn fills with noxious bounty.

Mead: The yeast has really gotten better. The end product off of a 12% sugar must is very light, floral at 2% sugar. A good substitute for beer.

Cider: Still not dry enough. Good enough to serve, but it will be at it's best next week. The farmer who mixes it is really anal about his proportions, and it really pays off. It's fantastic.

Candied orange peel: Finally dried enough to handle yesterday. Behind on that one, and it's going to mean making next years' mince and fruitcake next week instead of before Christmas. But that's fine. I should have some time with the clients in holiday limbo.

Got some baking in:

Golden Syrup Gingerbread. Too dry from trying to be clever and doing two cakes at once in the same oven. I'll be cutting it into squares as hors d'oevres when family comes. With butter.

Seed Cake. As always, very hobbity. Good with tea.

Mince Tarts. The best yet. The mince aged really well. Much better than the fruitcake. I made this one with apples from Glenora last year with some of the exotic ingredients. It has peel, dates, figs, and so on, but more a honey/fruit-sweet instead of a sickly sweet. I did the crusts in puff pastry which I baked up with a disc of marzipan and I'm serving them with brandy butter.

Also discovered: Vodka in a mason jar with a handful of caraway is indistinguishable from good Aakavit in only three hours. So "Bloody Danes" are back (Caesars with Aakavit instead of Vodka)!

So more baking and wrapping (Including the packages from teriegarrison, thanks again a million times over, and I hope you're having a happy time yourself!)