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Baking Your Own Christmas Cake, Mince Pies Etc

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Do many people still bake and make their own Christmas cakes, puddings, mince pies etc, or is it more usual to buy this sort of stuff in these days?  My old mum, now in her 80's and too frail and disabled to do home-baking, always used to practically kill herself, baking stuff for weeks on end before each Christmas. As well as making the usual Christmas cake, mince pies and pudding, she'd also always make a date and walnut cake, a moist coconut cake, a seed cake, a slab of sticky parkin and loads of almond frangipane tarts.

I tend to buy most things in these days, although I have been known to bake the occasional cake or batch of mince pies. The home made stuff is definitely nicer, but it involves far too much shopping and slaving over a hot stove....and I'm not a martyr, like my mum was in her younger days. 

  

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I make mince pies, they're a million times better than the shop bought ones. Home made mince meat is so much more flavoursome and not as sickly, well worth the effort!

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Mum in law always bakes us a Christmas cake. If she didn't we would bake it ourselves.  We buy Christmas puddings though, we don't make them. I used to do the cooking and baking but my husband has taken over that role the last decade. He gets carried away so I have to rein him in. He does amazing layered meat pies like pork pies, mine pies etc, etc. I'm, not a pastry fan but they are useful to put in the freezer for when visitors arrive. We usually give some bits to our parents although they will be spending Christmas day with us anyway. We are in our early fifties but both sides of our families cook and bake. My young nephew and niece are in their early twenties and they don't do any cooking but they haven't got homes of their own yet.  

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I totally agree with vwkittie and Chez2 that the home made mince pies,  cakes, puddings etc, tend to be much nicer than the shop-bought stuff...but it's all such a time-consuming faff doing it - and although most of the shop-bought stuff is not quite as nice, a lot of it is perfectly passable. For example, there's a stall in the precinct down Hillsborough that does a really delicious date and walnut cake - very dense, sticky and tasty... and, to be honest, I think it's even nicer than my home-made efforts!

 

The one cake that I do still home-bake is the "seed cake". It's a very simple cake recipe  - a sort of cross between a Victoria sponge and a Madeira cake....but with a few teaspoons full of caraway seeds thrown into the cake mixture before baking.  I can't stand it myself - I think it tastes absolutely  vile.... like medicine...or disinfectant...but my old mum is her 80's now and Christmas wouldn't be Christmas for her without the traditional "seed cake"...so I am happy to carry on making it for as long as she's around to enjoy it.

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I think the more you bake and cook the quicker it seems. If I do anything I make the pastry then put it in the fridge. That can seem quite a quick task. I later roll it out and make tarts or pies. It is more messing if you have to bake something blind then add the filling and put it back in the oven again. I usually do it while I'm doing something else in the kitchen so its fills in time while something is cooking on the stove top. 

 

Seed cake; yummy! My nan used to make it every Christmas. As a child I can remember my parents finding it odd I loved caraway seeds. I used to make shortbread type biscuits and put caraway seeds on them. My nans seed cake was a bit like maderia. 

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Thanks Chez2, you are the only person I've heard from so far, who even knows what seed cake is! My own version is basically just a madeira cake... with a couple of teaspoons full  of toasted caraway seeds chucked in. I really don't like it at all...but my old mum loves it..so I'm deffo  gonna make her a seed cake for Christmas.     

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We bought some filo pastry yesterday. We are going to make some filo parcel min pies.

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2 hours ago, Chez2 said:

We bought some filo pastry yesterday. We are going to make some filo parcel min pies.

Wish you lot would pack it in...….

I've put on half a stone just reading this thread .

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I always make the Family Christmas pudding, it is a days job and takes hours of steaming but so worth it, so much nicer than shop puddings, also make some mince pies and lemon tarts usually, they never last for long.

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