Christmas Cake with Figs, Ginger, Walnuts & Orange
Serves 8 – 10
This wholesome Christmas cake has a fantastic moist texture and is packed with figs, ginger, walnuts and zesty orange. Wonderfully simple to prepare, this cake would make a beautiful homemade gift.
2 cups spelt flour*
1 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
1 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Figs, roughly chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cup currants
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Natural Almonds for decorating
*For a gluten-free cake substitute the spelt flour for buckwheat or all-purpose gluten-free flour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 C, and grease a 23cm cake tin with coconut oil or line with baking paper.
- Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and mix until well combined. The mixture will be quite sticky, don’t worry!
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin, and smooth out evenly. Place the almonds on top, and gently press into the batter.
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
- Leave to cool in the tin completely before carefully transferring to a plate.
The cake will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Download the PDF version here: Alison’s Pantry Christmas cake with Figs, Ginger, Walnuts & Orange
This recipe was created by Eleanor Ozrich for Alison’s Pantry.
Kiwi Style Fruit Mince (Christmas Fruit Mince)
Makes approximately 6 cups (1.2kg)
This fruit mince recipe is very versatile; feel free to replace anything, for example, replace the dried blueberries with dried cranberries; swap the almonds for pine nuts or chopped walnuts; brandy, whiskey or rum can be used in place of the lemon juice, etc. This way, the recipe gives you the building blocks to make your own great fruit mince but you can also adapt it to your own taste – simply replace an ingredient with a similar one, weight for weight, or measurement for measurement.
Some examples of variations have been given in the recipe.
This fruit mince can be made and, if stored in a cool, dark place, it will last for up to two months, and tends to just taste better and better over time. If alcohol is added, then the fruit mince can be stored for at least six months.
2 cups Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots, (or NZ Apricots bring a nice tang) finely chopped
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Jumbo Raisins, finely chopped or (raisins or sultanas)
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Dried Cranberries, chopped
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Natural Almonds, roughly chopped (or other natural nuts such as pine nuts, walnuts or pecan)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup brandy (or substitute for orange juice, if preferred)
1. Combine all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl. Cover and store in a dark place for 2-3 days to allow the flavours to develop. Stir once a day to mix ingredients evenly
2. Pack the fruit mince into sterilised jars, pressing down well to remove any air pockets, and seal with tight-fitting lids
3. Unopened, the fruit mince will last for up to two months if stored in a cool, dark place. If alcohol is added, the fruit mince will last for at least six months. Flavours will continue to develop over time.
4. Once opened, store the fruit mince in the fridge
Download the PDF version: Alison’s Pantry Kiwi Style Fruit Mince (Christmas Fruit Mince)
The Iconic Kiwi Christmas cake, first made by Alison Holst around 30 years ago!
MAKES 1 X 23CM ROUND OR SQUARE CAKE
700g Alison’s Pantry Sultanas
500g Alison’s Pantry Raisins
50g mixed peel
432g can crushed pineapple in juice
3 cups high-grade flour
1 tsp each cinnamon and mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
1 cup sugar
½ tsp each vanilla, almond and lemon essences
6 large eggs
50g Alison’s Pantry Roast Unsalted Almonds, to decorate (optional).
The day before mixing the cake, put the dried fruit and undrained pineapple in a large fry pan. Cover pan, heat until liquid boils then simmer until all juice is absorbed. Leave overnight, or until cold.
Next day, combine flour and spices and set aside. In a very large bowl, cream butter, sugar and essences until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, adding 2 tablespoons of the spiced flour with each.
Stir in prepared (cold) fruit and remaining spiced flour. If the mixture seems too soft, add extra flour until mixture will just drop from a spoon. Put in a lined tin, levelling the surface. Decorate with blanched almonds.
Bake at 150°C for 1½ hours, then 130°C for 2 hours longer, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Brush hot cake with ¼ cup brandy or sherry if you like.)
Note: We usually bake this cake without using fan bake.
Once cooled, remove from tin and wrap in greaseproof paper and tea towels. Leave in a cool place, if kept in the correct environment, the cake will keep for weeks. Perfect recipe to get a head start on Christmas prep!
For a twist on an old classic try this Toffee Fruit & Nut Topping by Julie Le Clerc
Download the PDF version: Alison Holst Pineapple Christmas Cake
Christmas Mince Pies with Almond Pastry
Makes 24 mini pies
To make gluten-free pastry, simply use wheat and gluten-free baking mix in place of ordinary flour in this recipe
125g butter, softened
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup Alison’s Pantry ground almonds
2 cups prepared Alison’s Pantry Fruit Mince – Kiwi Style (see Recipe)
Icing sugar, to dust
1. To make pastry, beat butter and sugar in a bowl, to just combine. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and almonds until mixture comes together into a ball. Turn pastry out onto a work surface and knead lightly until smooth. Form pastry into a disc, wrap well and chill for 1 hour until firm.
2. Lightly grease 2 x 12-hole mini muffin tins. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 3mm thick. Use an 8cm round cutter to stamp out 18 circles.
3. Press one circle gently into each muffin hole, prick bases with the tip of a skewer, then fill with the fruit-mince.
4. Cut 6cm circles from remaining pastry (re-roll scraps, if necessary) and use these to form lids to the pies. Cut out small star patterns before fitting lids, if desired. Press edges together to seal. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Download the PDF version here: Christmas Mince Pies with Almond Pastry
Nut & Cranberry Chocolate Brownies
1.25 litre capacity glass jar with lid
1 cup plain flour, sifted
¼ tsp baking powder
150g Alison’s Pantry Roast Unsalted Supreme Nut Mix
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup cocoa powder; sifted
1 cup caster sugar
150g dark chocolate drops
100g Alison’s Pantry Cranberries
To make gift jars, place the ingredients into a jar, in the order given. Seal jar tightly. Label with the following cooking instructions.
To create the Brownies
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 17 x 27cm slice tin with non-stick baking paper.
- Tip all the ingredients into a large bowl. Add 200g melted, cooled butter and 4 lightly beaten eggs. Stir together until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared tin.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with a few damp crumbs on it. Cool in the tin before slicing. Serve warm or cold.
This chewy, very firm, dark and compact flat cake, of Italian origin, is flavoured with chocolate, nuts and fruit. Carefully gift-wrapped it makes a dozen or so special and unusual gifts for good friends.
For about 12 – 15 servings:
½ cup dark chocolate drops
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Natural Almonds
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Pecans
1 cup dried fruit (we suggest Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots, chopped)
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Crystallised Ginger
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 150°C. Melt butter and chocolate chips together in a large bowl in the microwave oven at 50% power for 2 minutes, or over a pot of hot water. Roast nuts in a shallow baking dish as oven heats until lightly coloured, about 10 minutes. Tip hot nuts into melted chocolate mixture. Stir in your chosen dried fruit and chopped ginger.
Stir sugar and honey over low to moderate heat, until sugar dissolves. When mixture bubbles all over the surface, stir hot syrup into nut mixture.
Sift in flour, cocoa and cinnamon until blended, then pour the warm mixture into a round tin about 24cm round, or 23cm square tin with bottom and sides lined with a Teflon liner or baking paper. Pat out evenly, with a piece of plastic between the cake and your hand, if necessary.
Bake at 150°C (on fan bake if possible) for 30 – 45 minutes, or until centre looks and feels as cooked as the part 5cm from the edge. Longer cooking gives a firmer, more toffee-like cake. Mixture will feel much softer than usual for a cake, but firms on cooling. Leave at least 24 hours before cutting with a very sharp or serrated knife. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Store wrapped pieces in the refrigerator or freezer, if you are making it some weeks before it is needed.
Notes: Replace half the cocoa with same amount of extra flour for a milder chocolate flavour. Mixture contains no baking powder, soda or eggs.
Download PDF version: Alison Holst’s Christmas Panforte
Kiwi Fruit Mince Ham Glaze
Makes glaze for one large whole ham
1 cup prepared Alison’s Pantry Fruit Mince – Kiwi Style (see recipe)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 Tbsp rum or whiskey (optional)
8-9kg whole ham, cooked on the bone
1 cup orange juice (or white wine, as desired)
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. To make the ham glaze, combine the fruit mince, sugar and mustard in a bowl, adding rum or whiskey if desired
2. To prepare the ham, run a knife around the shank end of the ham. Carefully slice under the edge of the rind at the base of the ham, then ease between the rind and the fat with your fingers and pull to gently remove the rind
3. With a sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern with 3mm deep cuts. Place the ham in an oven pan large enough to catch any glaze that will drip as it cooks. Surround the ham with orange juice (or wine, as preferred)
4. Smear the glaze over the scored fat of the ham. Place the ham in oven to bake for one hour, basting at regular intervals until glaze has caramelised
5. Sliced ham can be served hot or at room temperature
Download the PDF version: Kiwi Christmas Fruit Mince Ham Glaze
Chocolate Fruit Mince Truffles
Makes approximately 36, depending on size
A fun way to present truffles is to pop them onto skewers then place in cellophane bags so they look like cake pops. Rolled in different coatings, such as chopped nuts or coconut, these truffles make great edible Christmas gifts.
1 1/3 cups blanched almonds
2 cups prepared Alison’s Pantry Fruit Mince – Kiwi Style (see recipe)
1/4 cup Alison’s Pantry crystallised ginger, chopped
150g dark chocolate, melted, to coat
1 cup walnuts toasted and chopped, or desiccated coconut, or chocolate sprinkles, to dip
1. Place almonds in a food processor and process to chop. Add fruit mince and ginger and process until mixture forms a thick textured paste
2. Roll paste into even-sized balls. Dip balls in melted chocolate, to coat and while still wet, roll in coating of choice
3. Place on a baking paper-lined tray to set.
4. Pop on sticks to serve, if desired
Download the PDF version: Chocolate Fruit Mince Truffles
250g malt biscuits, crushed
50g Alison’s Pantry ground almonds
130g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup prepared Alison’s Pantry Fruit Mince – Kiwi Style (see recipe)
To make base
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Brush a 20cm springform cake tin with melted butter.
2. In a bowl, combine the crushed biscuits, almonds and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the base and up the sides of the tin. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
To make filling
1. In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add the sour cream and beat until well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the eggs, to just combine. Don’t overbeat at this stage. Stir in the fruit mince and pour the mixture over the crumb base. Bake for 40 minutes or until just set in the centre. Cool completely in the cake tin.
3. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove cheesecake from fridge 30 minutes before serving so that filling softens a little. Slice to serve.
Download the PDF version: Festive Cheesecake Desert
Christmas Cake with a Twist
Makes 23cm cake
1.5kg Cake Mix:
250g Alison’s Pantry Select Dates, chopped
300g Alison’s Pantry Sultanas
250g Alison’s Pantry Raisins
200g dark chocolate drops
300g Alison’s Pantry Figs, chopped
1/2 cup sherry
1 lemon, finely grated zest
1 orange, finely grated zest
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
250g butter, softened
1 Tbsp treacle
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp of ground allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and nutmeg
1. One to two days before the cake is to be made, put the cake mix into a plastic bag and add the sherry. Turn the bag a couple of times a day and leave the bag in a warm place until the sherry has been absorbed by the fruit
2. Preheat oven to 150°C and line a 23cm cake tin with greaseproof paper
3. Grate/zest the rind of the lemon and orange taking care not to include the pith. Process in food processor with the sugar until well combined
4. Add the butter and process until soft and fluffy, then add treacle and mix again. Add the eggs, one at a time, with a tablespoon of the measured flour between each egg
5. Mix the rest of the flour with the spices and fruit in a large bowl
6. Tip the creamed mixture into the floured fruit and mix until the mixture is soft enough to drop from the spoon. If the mix is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup of sherry or another spirit
7. Put the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 150°C for one hour, then at 140°C for approximately three hours, until a skewer in the center of the cake comes out clean
8. Optional: Dribble 1/4 cup of alcohol (whiskey, rum or brandy) over the top of the cake whilst the cake is hot
9. Leave in the tin for an hour before turning it out
Download the PDF version: Alison’s Pantry Christmas Cake with a Twist
Fruity Pork Balls with Sticky Soy Glaze
Makes 20 small balls
500g lean pork mince
4 spring onions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp fresh coriander or parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup prepared Alison’s Pantry Fruit Mince – Kiwi Style (see recipe)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Heat oven to 200°C. Line a large, shallow baking pan with baking paper
To make meatballs
1. Place all meatball ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to combine, and then with damp hands (to stop the mixture sticking), shape mixture into 20 small balls
2. Arrange meatballs in one layer in the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, shaking the pan or turning regularly until meatballs are browned all over and cooked through
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Thai sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup water
To make soy glaze
1. While the meatballs are cooking, combine the soy glaze ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for two minutes. Once the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the pan and place on paper towels to blot up any excess fat.
2. With a slotted spoon or tongs, add the cooked meatballs to the glaze and simmer for five minutes. Skewer the glazed meatballs with toothpicks and serve as finger food nibbles.
Download the PDF version: Fruity Pork Balls with Sticky Soy Glaze
Dark Chocolate Blueberry Truffles
1/2 cup cream
200g dark chocolate drops
50g soft butter, cubed
1/2 cup Alison’s Pantry dried blueberries, plus extra to decorate
1/3 cup Alison’s Pantry pistachio nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
extra 250g dark chocolate drops
Cake pop sticks, if desired (for Reindeer Pops)
1/4 cup Alison’s Pantry dried cranberries, to decorate Reindeer
1/2 cup Alison’s Pantry pretzel bows, broken in half to make ‘antler’ shaped pieces
- Place cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, or microwave in short bursts, to melt. Whisk until smooth. Add butter and stir to combine. Stir in blueberries and nuts.
- Chill mixture for 2 hours or until firm. Roll mixture into 25 small, even-sized balls, place on a tray, cover, and chill.
- To coat in chocolate, line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Melt the extra chocolate, stir until smooth and allow to cool slightly. With a fork, pick up one truffle at a time and dip into the melted chocolate to coat. Shake off any excess chocolate and place on the prepared tray to set. Decorate with extra blueberries placed on top.
- To give as presents, place truffles in individual foil or paper cases inside small, flat boxes; tie up boxes with ribbons. Truffles will last well for up to 10 days if stored in a cool place.
To create Reindeer Pops, attach cake pop sticks to the base of each truffle before dipping in chocolate. Once dipped, press a pretzel ‘antler’ on each side of the reindeer’s head. Use a cranberry to make a nose. Press on blueberries to create eyes. Repeat with all the other Reindeer Pops.
Recipe from Julie Le Clerc for Alison’s Pantry Christmas booklet 2014
Download the PDF version here: Chocolate Blueberry Truffles and Reindeer Pops
Fig and Walnut Logs
1/2 cup (85g) Alison’s Pantry unsalted roast almonds
1 1/2 cups (250g) Alison’s Pantry dried figs, roughly chopped with hard stalks removed
1 Tbsp brandy
1 Tbsp Mother Earth Liquid Honey
1/2 cup (85g) Alison’s Pantry diced apricots
1/2 cup (50g) Alison’s Pantry walnut pieces, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp mixed spice
- Place almonds in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove to a bowl.
- Blitz the figs with the brandy and honey until they form a sticky paste. Add the fig paste to the bowl with the almonds. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Mix well to combine, then shape into 4 small log shapes. Set on a plate, uncovered, in the fridge or in a cool, dry place for a week to dry.
- Wrap and tie in baking paper if giving as a gift. If stored in a cool, dry place, these logs will keep well for up to 2 months. Store in the fridge during summertime. To serve, slice and serve alongside your favourite cheeses.
Recipe from Julie Le Clerc for the Alison’s Pantry Christmas booklet 2014
Download the PDF version here: Fig and Walnut Logs
Kiwi Style Fruit Mince Chocolate Brownie
Makes 18 pieces
225g butter, cubed
200g dark chocolate drops
1 cup brown sugar, firmly-packed
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups prepared Alison’s Pantry Fruit Mince – Kiwi Style (see Recipe)
1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Alison’s Pantry walnuts, chopped
Icing sugar to dust
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 17cm x 27cm slice tin with nonstick baking paper, ensuring there is overhang on all sides
2. Melt the butter and chocolate gently in a saucepan or microwave on a medium heat in bursts of 20 seconds in a heatproof bowl. Stir until smooth
3. Beat in the brown sugar with a wooden spoon and then stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the fruit mince then flour and cocoa. Lastly, stir in the walnuts
4. Spread mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
5. Remove from the tin and transfer the brownie to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares and serve dusted with icing sugar
Download the PDF version: Kiwi Style Fruit Mince Chocolate Brownie
2/3 cup Alison’s Pantry Walnuts
2/3 cup Alison’s Pantry Natural Almonds
2/3 cup Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts
1½ cups dark chocolate drops
2 tbsp Alison’s Pantry Chia Seeds
3 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
2/3 cup Alison’s Pantry Roast Unsalted Almonds, finely chopped
Ice cream cones
- Grind all the nuts together in a food processor. Add chocolate and pulse to grind. Add remaining ingredients, except roast almonds, until combined and the mixture clumps together.
- Using damp hands, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls. Roll nut truffle balls in chopped almonds, to coat. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- A fun way to serve these Nut truffles is to pop them into ice cream cones along with a mixture of Alison’s Pantry indulgent sweets to make individual servings.
Alison’s Pantry Milk Chocolate Almonds, Chocolate Salted Caramel Popcorn, Cranberry Nut Nougat and Chocolate Pretzels make a great combo with these Nut Truffles.
This recipe was created by Julie Le Clerc for Alison’s Pantry.
Warm French Almond Cake with Strawberry and Dried Fruit Salad
125g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g butter, softened, but not melted
250g Alison’s Pantry Ground Almonds
icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Butter and flour a 20cm diameter cake tin or a 22cm diameter ring tin.
- Beat the sugar and egg yolks until pale and thick.
- Beat in the vanilla and butter then stir in the almonds and flour until well mixed.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
- Add a little of the whites to the almond mixture and beat it in to loosen the mixture. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites making sure there are no lumps.
- Spoon into the tin and bake 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, cool to warm (or cool and later reheat gently in the microwave) and dust with icing sugar.
- Serve with some of the fruit salad (recipe to follow) in the middle of the cake if using a ring tin and with mascarpone on the side.
Strawberry and Dried Fruit Salad
¾ cup Alison’s Pantry Prunes
6 Alison’s Pantry Dried Figs, halved
½ cup sweet sherry or dessert wine
juice and zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons caster sugar
500g strawberries, hulled and halved
200g mascarpone (to serve)
- Put the prunes, figs, sherry or wine, juice, zest and sugar into a bowl.
- Mix well and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
- Add the strawberries and mix gently.
- Cover and chill.
- Serve with mascarpone and warm french almond cake.
Recipe from Ray McVinnie for Alison’s Pantry Christmas booklet 2014
Download the PDF version here: Ray’s Christmas Dessert – Warm French Almond Cake with Strawberry and Dried Fruit Salad