Macerate Your Christmas Cake Fruit

 

 

A bowl full of Christmas Cake fruit soaking in juice and brandy

Nothing tastes more festive than an authentic Christmas cake, crafted with love over several weeks (or even months, depending on your dedication). For the ultimate Christmas flavour, start soaking your fruit 4-6 weeks ahead of Santa’s arrival. For this quintessential Xmas recipe, you’ll need to stock up on the best quality dried and fresh fruits ahead of time, plus oranges, lemons, brandy and Pedro Ximenez for soaking.

Ingredients (per cake): 

  • 1kg of mixed fruits (raisins, currants, mixed peel, dried cranberries, figs, sour cherries, prunes and apricots – larger fruit roughly chopped) 
  • 100ml brandy 
  • 75ml Pedro Ximenez 
  • Zest & juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon 

METHOD 

  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well 
  2. Transfer to a large glass or ceramic vessel with a lid (or seal with layers of plastic wrap and foil, secured with twine or elastic band) 
  3. Store in a cool, dark week for 4-6 weeks, stirring once a week and topping up with alcohol or orange juice if necessary. 

COOK'S NOTES

  • Don’t use a metal container as it will react with the mixture and affect the taste. 
  • Nuts and spices are best added when you make the cake 
  • You can change up the dried fruit to taste – dried pineapple, ginger, pears, mango - whatever you prefer!
  • We've used dried sour cherries - but that's just personal preference. If you love glace cherries, add instead.
  • Using Pedro Ximenez adds a dark sweetness to brandy’s heady fumes (eternal thanks to the great Nigella Lawson for this tip).
  • If you forget to macerate your fruit there is a good cheat! Put the above in a saucepan with 250gm butter and 200gm of soft brown sugar (light or dark). Bring to just below a boil, simmer for 5-10 minutes. Allow the mix to cool and then it’s ready to add to your batter.