Christmas comes but twice a year…in the Fairfax household, at any rate. In December I wrote that I spent Christmas in Cornwall with Mr Fairfax and his lovely daughter and our bonkers dog. And we had a great time! Sadly, my two daughters were missing. My oldest daughter is working in New Zealand and my youngest daughter spent Christmas with her boyfriend’s family in Abu Dhabi.
We all had a fabulous time, though, and spoke at length, which was a strange feeling, considering our three massively different locations and time zones on the planet.
So this weekend we’re having a second Christmas together, even though my oldest daughter is still in NZ :( But through the wonders of Skype, she will be with us in cyber-space, and we’ll pull a Christmas cracker for her and wave some quiche at the webcam (no turkey, since she’s vegetarian).
I absolutely LOVE the traditional English Christmas pudding and brandy butter. I do all the ritual of lighting a spoon of brandy and pouring it over the pudding so it flames blue, and then I proceed to stuff myself with it until I can eat no more.
When I was a child, my mum made her own, weeks in advance so that it would mature. She would always add silver sixpences, which she wrapped in silver foil first (this makes them more hygienic, according to the laws of Mum Science). Oh the joy of feeling that silver foil hit a filling, and knowing you’d found sixpence! And the misery when one of your annoying brothers got one, and you didn’t. Of course nowadays you wouldn’t get this tradition past Health and Safety without filling in a risk assessment form, but we loved it!
Even as a child I was never that keen on chocolate dessert. If offered a piece of chocolate cake, I could quite easily turn it down. Strange, but true! But since the rest of my family don’t love Christmas pudding as much as I do, I always make the same chocolate dessert every year. And to be honest, even for a non-chocolate fan this recipe is absolutely awesome.
It’s one of Elizabeth David’s recipes, and I think it’s French. It’s really easy to make, which is another bonus when you’realready up to your eyeballs trying to make Delia Smith’s sausagemeat stuffing and braising a cabbage. The only recipe I have is scribbled on a scratty piece of paper, now much stained. I’m not even sure what the pudding is called, so let’s name it Tarte au Chocolat de Noël. (That’s about the extent of my French.)
Here’s what you need for eight people:
8oz (225 gsm) good dark chocolate
9 fluid oz (265 ml) milk
4oz (115gsm) unsalted butter
4oz (115gsm) caster sugar
2 small egg yolks
5 oz (140gsm) Amaretti biscuits
Spoonful of brandy or Amaratto
Break the chocolate into pieces and stir into a suacepan with the milk. Leave them to melt together very slowly, stirring to make a “cream”.
Beat together the butter and caster sugar. Add the egg yolks and continue beating. Add the cooled milk and mix together.
Crumble half the Amaretti bisuits into a glass dish (a flat dish, like a pie or tart dish). Drizzle the biscuits with half the brandy/Amaratto. Pour over half the misxture. Repeat.
Leave in the fridge to chill.
There, that’s it! It’s easy.
If you do try this recipe, please come back and tell me how it works out.
Do you have a favourite pudding recipe? Or a special dish you always make at Christmas? If so, please let me know in the comments. You know I always love to hear from you!