It’s time to get that fruit cake started — for many families

It’s time to get that fruit cake started — for many families

Kitchen Wit and Wisdom: Make it ahead to avoid Christmas chaos

Cathi Litzenberger offers some tasty dishes for Christmas — make breakfast the night before and enjoy a relaxing Christmas morning

Here we are, 34 days ‘til Christmas and because of this column, I’m forced to give it a thought.

I know there are folks out there who are finished their shopping already and some are even putting the Christmas tree up, but that’s not me! At the rate I’m going this year, we may get our dock in and the summer stuff put away by December; that’s my goal after all. Whatever happened to fall?

For many of you, myself included, who might like to lessen the stress of food preparation during the holidays, I suggest doing as much as possible ahead of time. There are countless recipes out there that can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen until you need them.

Today I’m offering four you might like to try. The first is a lovely Christmas cake that only makes one; yes you read correctly: one cake. The second is a good make-ahead mashed potato dish. Following that is a great recipe where crispy tater-tots, bacon and eggs come together in one amazing and easy breakfast bake! And finally a deliciously moist alternative to the traditional pudding, and the kids won’t be complaining about the lumps of fruit or nuts. Caramel sauce and whipped cream make it a great dessert during the holidays.

Best Christmas Fruitcake

1/8 cup chopped maraschino cherries

1/8 cup chopped dried or candied mango

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup dried currants

2 tablespoons chopped candied lemon

1/4 cup dark rum

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup dark rum, divided

Start by soaking the cherries, mango, cranberries, currants and lemon by covering them in a bowl with 1/4 cup of rum. Cover tightly and let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours in room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Butter a 6×3 inch round pan (or a small loaf pan if you don’t have a round one) and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg until nicely mixed together.

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and add to the butter and sugar mixture in three batches, alternately adding molasses and milk. Stir in soaked fruit and chopped nuts. Transfer batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons rum.

Cut out one piece parchment paper and one piece cheesecloth, each large enough to wrap around the cake. Moisten cheesecloth with 1 tablespoon rum. Arrange cheesecloth on top of parchment paper, and unmold cake onto it. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with remaining rum. Wrap the cheesecloth closely to the surface of the cake, then wrap with paper. Place in an airtight tin.

This cake is great if you age it for a while — you could make it as far ahead as 10-12 weeks — but it will be just as good in a week!

Creamy Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and cubed

6 bacon strips, chopped

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup 2% milk

1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

3 green onions, chopped

Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain.  Drain potatoes; return to pan.

Mash potatoes, gradually adding cream cheese, sour cream and butter. Stir in milk and seasonings.

Transfer to a greased 13×9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon. Refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day  (or freeze for up to three weeks). Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove potatoes from refrigerator and let stand while oven heats (if frozen, let stand til almost thawed). Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings.

Impossibly Easy Bacon, Egg & Tot Bake

(with make-ahead directions)

1 cup Original Bisquick™ mix

2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 eggs

1 lb. bacon, crisply cooked and chopped

6 cups frozen crispy golden tater-tots

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.)

1 tablespoon sliced green onion (1 medium)

Ketchup, if desired

Heat oven to 400 F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended; pour into baking dish, and top with half of the bacon.

Place frozen potato nuggets in single layer on ungreased large cookie sheet with sides. Place both the baking dish and cookie sheet in oven. Bake 20 minutes.

Place potato nuggets evenly on top of Bisquick bake; top with cheese and remaining bacon. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Top with green onion. Serve with ketchup.

Make-ahead directions: Make Bisquick bake as directed. Cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours. Keep potato nuggets frozen until ready to bake. Uncover, and bake as directed in steps 3 and 4.

Sticky Toffee Christmas Pudding

3/4 cups packed pitted dates (about 10 oz.)

2 cups water

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

Caramel sauce

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F and butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (2 inches deep), knocking out excess flour.

Coarsely chop dates and in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan simmer dates in water, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda. (Mixture will foam.) Let mixture stand 20 minutes.

While mixture is standing, into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating after each addition until just combined.

Add date mixture and with a wooden spoon stir batter until just combined.

Pour batter into baking pan and set pan in a larger baking pan. Add enough hot water to larger pan to reach halfway up sides of smaller pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove smaller pan from water bath and cool pudding to warm on a rack.

Caramel sauce: stir the sugar, cream, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until smooth. Cut pudding into wedges and pour over the caramel sauce. Serve with cream or ice-cream. Pudding freezes well.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Karen Hudema, 71, admitted she felt left out due to her hearing loss, but now, after being awarded free hearing devices through the National Campain for Better Hearing Program from HearingLife Canada, she says her self-esteem has been restored. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
‘I have my self-esteem back’: Vernon senior awarded hearing aids

Free testing leads to life-changing improvement for local lady

The City of Vernon is sending a letter to the provincial government to request that church be deemed an essential service amid the pandemic. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon mayor scolded for revealing stance on making church essential

Coun. Scott Anderson calls Cummings’ actions ‘arrogant’

Heather Barker. (File)
Manslaughter charge laid in Vernon woman’s 2018 death

Shaun Ross Wiebe, 43, faces manslaughter and assault charges related to the death of Heather Barker

Protesting farmers and their families gather around a bonfire to mark the harvest festival, which is called Lohri, on a blocked highway in protest against new farm laws on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Changes in India’s farm laws could potentially open up one of the world’s most populous markets and are being closely watched by Canada’s agricultural and economic sectors, say experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Altaf Qadri
UBCO students asking for support in raising funds for Indian farmers

UBCO’s Bhangra Club and Punjabi Student Association are raising funds for Khalsa Aid

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

The scene of a serious crash on Highway 33 in Kelowna that killed one and severely injured two others on June 20, 2018. (File)
Driver found guilty of causing death, injury in 2018 Kelowna crash

Travis Ryan Hennessy will face sentencing at a later date

(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News staff)
Downtown stairwell fire suspicious, Kelowna RCMP say

Crews were called to Gotham Nightclub for a report of a stairwell fire

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Head Brewer Kody Rosentreter, owner Wes Greve and taproom manager Lisa Deleo celebrated North Basin Brewing’s grand opening Jan. 22 and 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Osoyoos’ first microbrewery celebrates grand opening

The brewery hopes to show that the Okanagan is more than just wine country

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna, West Kelowna still looking to opt-out of speculation tax

Mayors say spec tax has missed the mark, revenue largely coming out of Canadians’ pockets

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Most Read