December is such a busy time and what with my birthday, a wedding, my daughter’s numerous school performances and my son’s various exams and his trip to the Cologne Christmas markets, I’m afraid my Christmas recipe offerings have had to stay as ideas in my head until now. (Note to self, start making Christmas recipes in the summer)! So for my first offering I wanted to come up with a recipe that had all the flavours of Christmas in it. To me those flavours are marzipan, oranges, vanilla, mixed spice and dried fruits. I love Stollen and Panettone but wanted to make something which busy people and kids could make really quickly as I think we are all very short of time in the build up to Christmas! Hence my Christmas Soda Bread was born and the best thing is all the ingredients are usually things you have in your cupboards at this time of year (except perhaps the dried cherries which you could substitute for say dates or sultanas etc). I used spelt flours which are not only high in fibre but also add a lovely depth of flavour too but you could use wheat flours if you wished. This Christmas Soda Bread is actually ideal for using up all the leftover ingredients from your Christmas cake and puddings and it lasts for days. (I actually started off by making one double the size of this one but decided a smaller one was more practical).
My husband isn’t usually a fan of dried fruit but once he got a taste of my Christmas Soda Bread he became totally hooked! He said and I quote “it tastes a lot better than it looks”! Well my first attempt didn’t get in the oven quick enough as I got the proportions of flour wrong and had to add a lot more at the last minute! It’s so important with soda bread to get it straight in the oven and not hang about so hence my first attempt was totally delicious but had a completely lopsided rise to it! But it’s true it’s not the best looking loaf in the world but with a sugary crust and all the wonderful Christmas flavours in there it will make your kitchen smell so very Christmassy and spread with butter (and some strawberry jam if you like) it’s truly awesome. My teenage son loved the bread too but my daughter as ever won’t indulge in dried fruit (although she did try a sample of Panettone when we were out the other day so perhaps there’s hope on that front)!
I do hope you give my Christmas Soda Bread a go and manage to sit down and enjoy it with a nice cup of tea in amongst the hurly burly of the Christmas rushing around that we all do.
Christmas Soda Bread
- 180 mls Milk
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 175 g Plain spelt flour
- 175 g Wholegrain spelt flour
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- ¾ tsp Mixed spice
- 100 g Caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 35 g Marzipan grated
- Grated zest of 1 orange or 2 clementines wash well with detergent first
- ½ tsp Salt
- 40 g Currants
- 40 g Dried cherries chopped
- Demerara sugar for sprinkling
- Pre-heat the oven to 190⁰C.
- Prepare a baking tray a sheet or baking parchment and a scattering of flour.
- Stir the lemon juice into the milk and set aside to curdle.
- Sieve the flours, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and mixed spice into a large bowl.
- Then mix in the caster sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, marzipan, orange zest and dried fruit thoroughly.
- Add the curdled milk and mix in with a round bladed knife until a dough if formed (use your hands towards the end).
- Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and shape into a dome (speed is important as the raising agents start working as soon as you add the milk).
- Place the dome onto the baking sheet, sprinkle on a good layer of Demerara sugar (patting down) and using a sharp knife cut a deep cross down into the dough.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a hollow sound is heard when you knock on the underside of the loaf.
- Place on a wire rack to cook.
- Serve warm or cold with butter (and jam if liked) with a nice cuppa!
Recipe NotesUnless you have unwaxed oranges or clementines you must wash the wax off your citrus fruit as this is not meant for human consumption. I use a drop of washing up liquid, rub in well with a drop of warm water and then give it a scrub with my potato brush. I think I got this tip from Michael van Stratton on a radio show (LBC) many years ago!
If you’d like some more festive bread ideas why don’t you take a look at:
Festive Bread Wreath from Utterly Scrummy
Chocolate and Chestnut Spiced Loaf from Blue Kitchen Bakes
Chocolate and Pistachio Wreath from me.
As my loaf is festive, frugal and used up ingredients in my cupboard I am entering it into the following events: Credit Crunch Munch which I run with Fuss Free Flavours, No Waste Food Challenge over at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, Festive Food Friday over at Taming Twins and Treat Petite over at Baking Explorer which is co-hosted by Cakeyboi.