9 British Christmas Cooking Questions Answered

Christmas table setting
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  • 01 of 09

    Cooking Questions Answered for a Perfect British Christmas

    Christmas Yule Log Recipe
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    As Christmas seems to creep up faster every year, there always seems to be less time and more questions. For instance, when do I make my Christmas cake, my Christmas puddings, and how long does it take to cook a turkey? These are just a few of the questions that typically come up at this busy time of year. Ten of the most frequent British Christmas cooking questions are answered.

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  • 02 of 09

    When Should I Make My Christmas Cake?

    Christmas Cake with Royal Icing
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    The longer you make this cake before the big day, the better it will taste. A traditional British Christmas cake needs to be made a few months ahead. Two months is good, but you can still get away with a pretty decent cake one month before Christmas. The reason for making it so early is that the flavors of all the dried fruits baked together with the spices, eggs, flour, and butter have time to mature. Ideally, a Christmas cake should be fed at regular intervals with a little brandy or rum which produces a deep, moist, rich-flavored cake. So, it stands to reason that the earlier you make it, the better it will be.

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  • 03 of 09

    What Is the Best Way to Ice a Christmas Cake?

    Christmas Cake
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    As if Christmas cake isn't rich enough, traditionally the cake would be covered in marzipan (almond paste) followed by a thick, sweet layer of icing (frosting). The icing can be a super-smooth fondant icing, or for a more fun cake, royal icing jazzed up to look like winter snow. Whichever method you choose, they are both easy but do need a little planning.

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  • 04 of 09

    When Should I Make My Christmas Pudding?

    Christmas Pudding
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    Christmas pudding doesn't need as long to mature as the cake, although they seem to contain many similar ingredients. This is because the pudding also contains suet, which helps keep it moist and rich. Traditionally, the pudding is made on Stir Up Sunday, which is about five weeks before Christmas, the last Sunday before the Christian season of Advent. Some say the traditional Christmas pudding is not as popular with many preferring a lighter, healthier, dessert. We believe this is not true. The Christmas pudding is as essential to a British Christmas as it ever was.

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  • 05 of 09

    What Can I Serve With a Christmas Pudding?

    Christmas pudding with sauce
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    There's always heated discussion at Christmas over which sauce to serve with Christmas pudding.  For some, it has to be brandy sauce, for others brandy butter or a custard sauce is traditional. There's even a preference for ice cream, but for most, that's simply not traditional. None of the sauces are that difficult to make, so if you don't feel it's too indulgent, you can even serve all three and let people make up their own minds. None of the sauces will be wasted, as they are also delicious with warm mince pies.

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  • 06 of 09

    How Long Does It Take to Cook the Turkey?

    Perfect Roast Turkey
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    If you are cooking a turkey for Christmas (or at any time of the year) you must make sure it is cooked properly and therefore, safe to eat. It is not difficult to get this right, you simply need to know the weight of your turkey (fresh or defrosted) and work out the safest cooking times.

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  • 07 of 09

    What Is the Difference Between Raisins, Sultanas and Currants?

    The Difference Between Raisins, Currants and Sultanas
    Elaine Lemm

    Christmas cake, puddings, mincemeat, and mince pies all contain lots of dried fruits, especially currants, raisins, and sultanas. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between them and where they come from? Wonder no more. They each have different origins, and each brings its own distinctive points to a recipe.

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  • 08 of 09

    What Is Mixed Spice in Christmas Cooking?

    Traditional Christmas Mince Pies
    Elaine Lemm

    Mixed spice is a frequent ingredient in British Christmas cooking, especially for cakes, puddings, mince pies, and mincemeat. It is a carefully blended spice mix which is bought ready made and contains ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground mace, ground cloves, ground coriander, and ground ginger. In the U.S., pumpkin pie spice mix is a great alternative.

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  • 09 of 09

    What Is Suet in a Christmas Pudding?

    Christmas Pudding Recipe
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    Suet is the fat added to a Christmas pudding to give flavor and moisture. The hard fat comes from around the kidneys of animals, but there are alternatives available, including vegetarian suet.