Christmas baking

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)November 15, 2008

I thought it might be nice to have a thread on Christmas baking. It's a bit early but the baking started here yesterday with the making of plum pudding. I use a low (actually no) fat recipe that we've been making for a few years. It tastes great and you can't really tell it's missing the fat. The house smells wonderful when the pudding is steaming away in the crockpot for 6 hours!

The pudding is cooked in a small mixing bowl that fits in the crockpot. Here's the bown and pot:

And here's the pudding when it's done:

It gets wrapped in wax paper and foil, put into a plastic bag and stored in the crisper of the fridge until Christmas day. We don't soak it in rum or brandy before storing it but it does get flamb when it's served. Before serving it is put on a plate in a covered casserole dish which has some hot water in the bottom to make a nice steamy environment. Then it is briefly microwaved to heat it up. It is served with MIL's Killer Plum Pudding Sauce (which is definitely not low fat! But it's delicious and a MUST for plum pudding for this family.)

Here are the recipes if you're interested:


¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. mace

5 Tbs. grated carrot or unsweetened applesauce (preferredÂ)

¾ cup fine bread crumbs

1 ½ c. combination of chopped dates, figs, dried pineapple, dried apricots or golden raisins- donÂt chop the raisins (I use dates and golden raisins)

½ cup currants

½ cup raisins

½ cup coarsely ground walnuts (optional)

grated zest of 1 lemon

grated zest of 1 orange

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. molasses

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup brandy or water or orange juice (I use orange juice)

1 Tbs. Omega 3 eggs beaten with a fork to combine white and yolk; add 4 Tbs. water and beat with and egg beater until frothy

Sift flour, baking soda and spices together into a large bowl. Stir in carrots/applesauce, bread crumbs and fruit and zests, making sure fruit gets well coated with flour and bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine the honey, molasses, vanilla and brandy/juice/water and add the egg mixture to it. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix - will be a thick batter. Spray a 1 qt./l. glass container with non-stick oil (e.g. PAMÂ). Make sure the container will fit in a slow cooker. Add the batter and cover the container with cheesecloth and tie it down tightly. Put 2 cups of water in the bottom of a slow cooker and add the container, sitting on a rack. Cook on high for 5-6 hours. Remove from the slow cooker and cool for 10 minutes then unmold. Pudding can be served immediately or stored in the fridge (wrap in wax paper and foil and place in a plastic bag) for a few weeks. Reheat in the microwave briefly and serve with Killer Plum Pudding Sauce.


This is RandyÂs momÂs recipe and itÂs fabulous. At Christmas time I make lots of it. Originally it was for traditional plum pudding, but it has other uses. Randy makes little mince tarts by making 6" pastry circles, putting a tablespoon of mincemeat filling on each, folding them in half and baking. I put this sauce on top of those tarts and warm in the microwave. Delicious!

½ cup sugar

¼ cup light cream

¼ cup soft butter

½ tsp. vanilla

Heat sugar and cream over direct heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, but do not boil. Remove from heat. Place butter in small bowl over hot water. Add cream mixture and vanilla. Beat with rotary beater for 2-3 minutes.

I usually double or triple this recipe to make larger quantities, given my very sweet tooth!

When does Christmas baking start at your place...? Favorite recipes...?

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Woody -- I for one am going to try your plum pudding as long as my crock pot is still functional. It looks delicious and doesn't everyone NEED a smell like that in the house???

Thinking about Christmas baking has started, here, but nothing tangible yet. Will post some recipes once I get past Thanksgiving.

Thanks for this!!


    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:00AM
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I'm saving your recipe as well. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:28AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do....! I found the recipe on the Internet somewhere a few years ago (can't remember where...) when we were looking for a low fat alternative to the traditional recipes.

A handy tip for you - It can be difficult to get the bowl out of the crockpot. What I do is cut the cheesecloth in a large enough square that, after tying it tightly over the bowl, there's enough cloth hanging over to take two diagonal ends and tie them together to make a 'handle' that you can use to lift the bowl in and out of the crockpot. Also, the bowl should be just the right size to both fit in the crockpot with at least 1/2" clearance all around and just big enough for the batter to fit in it. I think the purpose of the cheesecloth is to prevent the batter from rising, thereby making the pudding nice and dense. The bowl I use is just big enough so the batter fills it level with the top.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:54AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Oh Boy! I am so going to make this pudding!!! Christmas baking will start here on Nov. 28th as that is a PA day for Adrian (no school) and that is how I intend to keep him busy. If DS is available that day they are going to do the annual gingerbread house. I will look out my recipes tomorrow and post a couple of favourites! Thanks, Woody, this is a great way to kick off Christmas!!


p.s. tomorrow's JJob: oven cleaning. I can't use it now unless I trip the breaker for the smoke alarm!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Woody, I hope to make this, but just writing down all the recipe and instructions about did my arm/hand in!!! I am wondering if I will be up to putting the ingredients together! I have most of them, so will not need to get much more. I go to town tomorrow, so will pick up what I need, and (hopefuly) get it made before I start our Thanksgiving dinner.
I have a crock pot similar to yours, and have only used it once, even though I have had it several years! Since I have bowls of all sizes, that should not be a problem. :-)

Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 11:32AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I need to get my Nut Ball cookie recipe out. Those are a favorite around here. I'll be back later.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 2:46PM
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Woody - I love your Low Fat Pudding recipe and am intrigued by the idea of cooking it in a crockpot. DH is sure that all the traditional steaming was a form of central heating. I'll post my high octane version later. Do you also make your own mincemeat and fruitcake?
Thanks for sharing


    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:50AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I do make mincemeat - but didn't this year because I forgot to find green tomatoes! I still have enough left from last year I think but I'd better not forget to make some next year! We love mincemeat tarts and we prefer our mincemeat to stuff we can buy. Fruitcake is less popular and we don't make any.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:56PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody...I love the idea of your pudding, but my kids are really looking forward to the Chocolate Trifle this year. So I will have to try your recipe next year. :-)

It's been a long time since we've made Chocolate Trifle. This is what we are making for Thanksgiving but possibly will make it again at Christmas. It is a great recipe for a Christmas dessert.

It's not really a 'written down' recipe. The ingredients are all just layered in the Trifle Bowl in whatever amounts fit. It is simply chocolate cake, unfrosted, chocolate pudding [not instant], whipped cream, crushed Heath Bars.

That's it! It is really delicious and very rich. We like to make our own pudding and cake and whipped cream, but if you were in a hurry, you could always buy the cake and whipped cream.

It also is a very pretty dessert if you have it in a large straight sided glass bowl. Great to bring to a gathering too.

Not sure what other baking we will do this year for Christmas. Sometimes we make cookies for gifts. I'll have to come back as Christmas starts to get closer to see what we are doing.

Looking forward to lots of recipes here. :-)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 10:04AM
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