New Year’s Eve media noche must have a fruit salad on the dinner table. The most popular fruit salad is the Buko salad. The popularity of fruits during New Year’s Eve celebration is part of the tradition to bring in good luck, fortune and prosperity. Even before the New Year arrives, my children already wants to eat it.
5 large cans of Del Monte Fruit Cocktail (Imported)
Grated Coconut meat from 10 buko (young coconut)
2 cans lychees
1 small bottle nata de coco (green)
1 small bottle nata de coco (red)
1 small bottle kaong (green)
1/4 kilo seedless grapes
3 small china apples , cubed
2 can condensed milk
2 packs Nestle Cream
1 can Peaches for topping
Optional : walnuts, water chestnuts for extra texture
Few red or green kaong for topping
1. Drain the fruits from the can for at least 2 hours. This is to prevent a soggy fruit salad.
2. When all the juices have been drained, mix all the fruits together in a bowl.
3. Add the condensed milk and cream till well blended.
4. Transfer to serving bowls and top with peaches and cherries. I also add green kaong for additional decor.
5. Freeze or Refrigerate properly. (Buko spoils if not refrigerated or frozen. I prefer to freeze the rest of the buko salad if it isn’t eaten within the day.)
Update: Use the banyo maria or Baño Maria (or bake steaming) to prevent over-drying of your fruit cake.
It’s the time of the year when one needs to plan for the holidays. As early as September, I already know what to bake for Christmas. A childhood memory that never fails to remind me of the Christmas season is Fruitcake. I used to bake a lot of fruitcake in the past but the girls never really got around to acquiring a taste for it. They preferred the Gingerbread Man Cookies because of the story behind it , after I bake the first batch. It must have been the empty nest that inspired me to start baking Fruitcake. The memory of my mom baking this every Christmas season gave me so much comfort. The aroma of the fruit cake adds to the festive spirit of the season.
I am also surprised that more and more people are raving for fruitcake. I see it in my facebook wall. In the past, friends hated it when they were given a fruitcake. It was only last year that I started baking two batches. Two good friends received my fruitcake because I was sure they appreciated fruitcake. This year, I showed the fruitcakes that I baked in Facebook, and I was again surprised that some even wanted to buy. Maybe next year, I will bake a few for sale. At least, I will be prepared to buy the ingredients at wholesale prices.
Anyway, fruitcake flavor is best when it has been aged for a few months in a cool place (preferably the refrigerator in the Philippines). Ideally, one month of storage is a to bring out the best flavors. I know others age starting January. I should try it too.
Fruitcakes taste better with age. This is called “ripening.”
For those of you who want to bake Fruitcakes for the Holidays, here is a recipe which I call Golden Fruitcake. I’ve modified this based from my mom’s original fruitcake recipe. My Golden Fruitcake does not have a strong taste of brandy nor is it too sweet. Anyway, there’s a lot of preparation so make sure you run down the list carefully.
Here is my Golden Fruitcake recipe
Prepare 2 loaf pans (a 8.5×4.5 pan) or 5 loaf pans (6 x 3 pan) or a combination of both
I buy most of my ingredients at Chocolate Lovers in Quezon City (see Facebook Page)
1 Cup butter (I use Golden Crown)
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
4 large eggs (1 cup) or 5 medium eggs
3 cups all purpose four
1/2 cups flour (to dredge fruits and nuts)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
5 Tablespoon prune juice
3 Tablespoons Molasses
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (mix in molasses)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups nuts (Combination of walnuts, pecan, cashew, pili or almond slivers)
1 1/2 cups dates
1 1/2 cups fruit glaze (combination of local and imported fruit glaze)
1/2 cup cherry brandy
Extra Cherries, fruit glaze,nuts for decorating on top of cake
Cherry brandy to brush top of the cake (use wine or even a fruit juice of your choice)
1. Soak fruits in 1/2 cup cherry brandy overnight.
2. Drain the fruits for 1 hour. Set aside.
3. Dredge fruit and nuts with 1/2 cup flour so they won’t sink in batter. Shake off excess flour and use in the recipe.
Preparing the Baking pan
1. Don’t use waxpaper.
2. Use thick cellphane (1 piece only) and use enough to cover the cake after baking.
3. You can also use aluminum. More messy but more sure.
1. Heat oven to slow.
2. Cream Shortening and add sugar slowly until fluffy.
3. Beat in egg one at a time, beating after each addition until light.
5. Stir in alternately with milk, molasses, juices and vanilla beginning and ending with flour.
6. With 1/2 cup flour. add to fruit mixture.
7. The batter is then mixed to the fruits. Add the nuts on top of the batter.
8. Put batter in cellophane lined or aluminum lined pans (4 pans)
9. Bake for one (1 1/2) hour to 2 hours at 300 F. ( But do check the temperature based on the pan you use. Never bake beyond 325 F)
IMPORTANT: To prevent dryness in the fruit cake, use the banyo maria. Place the pans in a larger pan containing an inch of water, the result of which is bake-steaming the fruit cake batter.
10. At 45 minutes baking time, remove pans from oven and decorate top with cherries, nuts and fruits.
11. Cover pan with overlapping aluminum foil to prevent burning.
12. Bake one hour or so until done. Test for doneness by placing a metal/wooden skewer in center of cake. If it comes out clean, cake is done. Be careful not to over bake.
13. Always cool fruitcakes completely in pan and remove when cold.
Keep cellophane or aluminum intact with the cake
After baking and the cake has cooled down, brush the top of the cake with cherry brandy
Wrap the whole cake with the overlapping cellophane or aluminum , then more aluminum foil to cover the whole cake ending with colored cellophane.
1. It’s important to drain the fruit mix for 1 hour. This is because alcohol destroys the cake batter.
2. Nuts are not placed in the batter; rather it is placed ON TOP of the batter. I still mix in the buts anyway. I use a combination of nuts.
3. Never use peanuts but do use pili, cashew, walnuts, or black walnuts.
4. The batter is mixed to the fruits so that the emulsion in the batter is not destroyed.
1. Once a week, brush the cakes with more liquor/cherry brandy. (or wrap the fruit cake with cheese cloth soaked in liquor)
2. Seal the cakes in plastic wrap or in plastic storage bags.
Yield: 2 loaf pans (a 8.5×4.5″ pan)
5 loaf pans with 6 x 3 pans
In another batch I had 3 cakes 8 x 3 and 1 cake 6 x 3
I have 5 recipes for fruitcake but based on my past experience, the above recipe gave me the best results.
My Noche Buena menu is always special. I honor the day with something lovingly baked from my kitchen. I plan my groceries ahead of time so I never ran out of supplies. Butter has to be Anchor because I prefer to source my ingredients from either Australia or New Zealand. To my surprise , the grocery offered “Anchor Holiday Pack”, with Buy 2 Anchor Butter and get 1 FREE Anchor Maple butter. It’s my first time to come across Anchor maple and right away thought of a butter cake. At the back of the carton was a recipe for “Maple Rum Cake”. What a brillant idea. My kids are not too hot about Fruit Cake. Something new like “Maple Rum Cake” might be a better idea for our Noche Buena.
I turned out a more festive Rum Cake in keeping with the Holiday season. The recipe as shown below came from the back part of the Anchor Maple butter carton. The only modification I did was soak 1/4 cup of raisins in 1/4 cup Tanduay Rum.
1 bar Anchor Maple (200 g)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 pieces eggs
1/2 bar Anchor Maple (200 g), melted
1/ cup sugar
water for syrup
Rum (to taste)
Optional ( soak 1/4 cup of raisins in 1/4 cup Tanduay Rum)
Grapes, cherries to decorate the Rum Cake
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Adds eggs one at a time.
3. Add Vanilla
4. Mix together the baking powder,flour and salt.
5. Stir into the mixture.
6. Pour into a greased loaf pan (I used a round pan to make it look festive.)
7. Bake at 180 Celsius until the toothpick comes out clean.
Here is the freshly baked Rum cake. (Don’t you love my Raspberry frosted Kitchen Aid?) I decorated the cake with seedless grapes, maraschino cherries, green glazed cherries and raisins soaked soaked in rum. The decors make it look even more festive.
1. Dissolve the sugar into water.
2. Add in the melted butter and rum.
Optional: stir in the raisins soaked in rum.
3. Pour all over the Rum cake.
4. Decorate with seedless grapes, cherries and green cherries.
And the verdict. My daughter loved the texture. She wished I placed more rum though. Maybe next time?
Window shopping can be quite an amazing experience especially when browsing for Christmas gift ideas. While passing along Marks & Spencer in EDSA Shangrila mall, I spotted their window display of festive food gifts. I’m quite a huge fan of giving the gift of food and drink. With friends or relatives coming over for Noche Buena, food will always be needed on standby.
I asked for the gift brochure from the sales personnel and glanced once again at the pretty window display. I know my husband will surely buy wine as gifts for his wine lover friends. Wines are ideal gifts during Christmas and New Year as one toasts in celebration of the season.
Vintage from across the world comprise wine duo sets such as Festive Wine duo with Italian Red and White Wine (1195 pesos); the Celebration wine duo of Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon and Gold Label Chardonnay (1495 pesos), and the Luxury Wine Duo of Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo and Asti (1795 pesos).
Don’t know what to give someone on short notice? Almost everyone I know appreciates the gift of food. You can never go wrong with gift baskets or the food gift trays from Marks & Spencer. From perfectly made pasta and refreshing wines to decadent chocolates and delectable biscuits, I can tell that the selection were hand picked carefully for discerning tastes. There are three food gift trays: Classic favorites (2850 pesos), Pure Indulgence (3350 pesos) and Luxury Collection (3850 pesos).
Want to peek inside the “Luxury Collection”? There are items to prepare for a special dinner or for tea. Even the young ones get chocolate treats. Check out the South African Red Wine 2011 75 cl, Italian Farfalie Pasta 500 g, Carbonara Pasta Sauce 340 g, Dark Roast Café Noir 100 g, English Breakfast teabags 50 teabags, Chunky Winter Vegetable Soup 400 g, Smooth Peanut butter 340 g, Triple Chocolate Crunch – 500 g, Extremely Chocolatey Milk Chocolate Rounds 150 g, Mint Humbugs- 225 g, Swiss Milk Chocolate Bar – 125 g, Cranberry and Raspberry High Juice 1 L.
Want the more affordable “Classic Favorites”? The contents are almost similar to the “Luxury Collection” but has lesser chocolate treats. There is something to prepare for that surprise guests and even for the kids. Check out the House Red Wine 75cl, Italian Penne Pasta 500 g, Bolognese Pasta Sauce 340 g, Classic House Blend One Cup Filters, Organic Green Tea with Lemon Infusion 20 teabags, Traditional British Porridge Oats 500 g,, Bourbon Biscuits 400 g, Swiss Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts 200g, Sparkling Lemonade 1 L, Cream of Mushroom Soup.
I was surprised to find more treats inside that will surely please everyone in your list. Such a delight to browse and ponder which family member might want this food item.
There is a wide array of collectible tin cans for the Scottish Shortbread Biscuit Selection. Shortbread is a classic Scottish dessert consisting of three basic ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter. In the good old days, shortbread was quite expensive and reserved as a luxury food for special occasions such as Christmas. The texture of the shortbread biscuit is crisp, lightly sweet, deliciously buttery with just a tinge of saltiness. Gifting someone with this Shortbread biscuit can be a start of a new tradition.
The London Bus Shortbread tin is only 1195 pesos.
This Telephone booth Tin Can is just too cute with various perspectives in the four sides of the can.
The Scottish Shortbread Assortment Tin is 995 pesos only.
Who can’t resist Percy Pig? Marks and Spencer developed Percy Pig into a brand in its own right. With Percy Pig Biscuit Tin at 595 pesos, the tin can is s cute keepsake.
You know that I bake Gingerbread cookies. Occasionally I give Gingerbread cookies as gift items but only if I am able to bake a lot. Now you don’t have to look far to buy these festive gingerbread men.
Chocolate lovers will surely love the assortment of mouth-watering chocolate treats. You could fill everyone’s Christmas stockings with sweet chocolate cheer. Here are some ideas.
A collection of Belgian chocolates.
Mint Chocolate boxes
Even kids will get thrilled to receive chocolate candies inside their stockings. I found some ideas that I can stuff into my girls’ stockings like these giant coins.
There are a bunch of smaller coins and Percy Pig chocolates. I think chocolate Christmas gifts are festive, and fun to give away no matter the age.
I am showing only some of Marks & Spencer’s food line. While one might find the Marks & Spencer a premium brand, there is wide range of packages for every budget. It gives value for money so I can get a reasonably priced gift that is extra special and will be appreciated by the recipients.¬¬
With the Marks & Spencer food line, I found so many delicious ways to bring the warmth and joy of the Christmas spirit to my special friends and loved ones.