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Merry Christmas!

Christmas is almost upon us, so we thought we would share some recipes for “Christmas cheer” from 1945.

The Wine and Food Society published a series of books under the title, A Concise Encyclopaedia of Gastronomy. The fourth in the series, Cereals, contains some recipes for Christmas fare that must have presented a challenge to home bakers struggling to survive on war-time rations:

¾ lb. fresh butter
1 lb. flour
1 lb. sugar
1 lb. sultanas
1 lb. raisins
½ lb. ground almonds
½ mixed and chopped peel
6 eggs
a little nutmeg and mixed spice
grated rind and juice of a lemon
½ a wine glass of brandy
Rub butter into flour and sugar, add fruit and other dry ingredients. Beat the eggs a little and add to the mixture with the brandy. Line the tin well with buttered paper and bake in a slow oven for at least eight hours.
A Fruitless Christmas Cake

14 oz. flour
2 oz. ground rice
2 oz. ground almonds
1 lb. butter
1 lb. eggs
½ gill Sherry
Good housekeeping Ratafia essence
1 lb. sugar
Grease and line an 8-in. cake-tin. Sieve the flour, pinch of salt, rice, and ground almonds and mix thoroughly. Cream the butter and sugar. When pale in colour and of whipped cream consistency, beat in the eggs one at a time, adding some of the flour, etc., alternately with the eggs. When all the eggs have been added, stir in the Sherry, and a few drops of Ratafia essence. Put into the tin and bake in a moderate oven of 350 deg. F. for about 40 minutes, then at a temperature of 320 deg. F. for about 11 hours. Cool on a sieve.

½ lb. flour
6 oz. of raisins
6 oz. of currants
¼ lb. candied peel
¼ lb. chopped suet
¼ lb. brown sugar
¼ lb. mashed carrots
¼ lb. mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon of treacle

Mix flour, currants, raisins, suet and sugar well together, stir in mashed carrots and potatoes, add treacle and lemon peel, but put no liquid into the mixture, or it will be spoiled. Tie it loosely in a cloth, or put it into a basin (don’t quite fill basin as it must swell). Boil for four hours. Serve with brandy sauce. Sufficient for 8 or 10 people.

1¼ lb. suet
1 lb. Demerara sugar
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. sultanas
4 oz. citron peel
4 oz. candied peel
1 teaspoonful mixed spice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 lb. breadcrumbs
½ lb. sifted flour
1 lb. eggs (weighed in their shells)
1 wineglass brandy
½ pint milk
Prepare all ingredients, well whip the eggs, add to milk and thoroughly mix. Let stand for 12 hours in a cool place, add brandy and put into well-greased basins, and boil 8 hours or longer. Sufficient for 20 or 28 people.
As the editor maintains, “Bread, Wine and Oil, that blessed trinity of the kindly fruits of the earth, have been, ever since Biblical times, the symbol of peace – and plenty, the reward promised by angels in heaven to men of goodwill upon earth.”

Merry Christmas, everyone!