In this series of seasonal dishes, we ask chefs from some of the UAE's top restaurants to share their favourite festive recipes.
Christmas fruitcake from Social Bee, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Praveen Kumar, executive chef at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah and winner of several pastry chef accolades, whips up a Christmas fruitcake for you to try at home. “Eating a Christmas cake is a long-standing tradition that started back in the 16th century, with modern-day variations including frosting, powdered sugar, orange zest and more,” says Kumar, who is from India and has worked in the US and Saudi Arabia before moving to the UAE. His version, for example, is replete with dried fruit, nuts and winter spices.
Ingredients and method for fruit soaking
- 250g golden raisins
- 100g sultanas
- 100g blackcurrants
- 100g dried prunes, diced
- 100g dried mini cranberry
- 100g Corsiglia orange candied cubes
- 100g Corsiglia lemon candied cubes
- 100g Corsiglia candied cube mix orange/lemon/amar
- 50g Amarena dark cherries in syrup, diced
- 300ml dark rum (can be replaced with honey or syrup)
- 300ml brandy (can be replaced with honey or syrup)
- De-stem and wash the raisins and sultanas. Leave to dry on a clean cloth, ideally for a day.
- Combine all the fruits and soak with alcohol, honey or syrup. Cover tightly and rest in an ambient-temperature room for as long as possible, ideally 10 days or longer.
- If you have to soak last minute, cook the mixture for 30 minutes on a low heat, cool completely then chill it in the refrigerator.
Ingredients and method for the Christmas fruit cake
- 200g T45 pastry flour
- 42g almond powder
- 10g baking powder
- 5g cocoa powder
- 5g cinnamon powder
- 5g ginger powder
- 5g spice mix powder
- 5g orange zest
- 5g lemon zest
- 250g unsalted butter
- 236g dark brown sugar
- 5ml vanilla extract
- 4 whole eggs
- 1kg soaked fruits
- 50g roasted almonds, sliced
- 50g roasted walnuts, chopped
- 50g roasted pecan nuts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
- Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
- Sift and combine the dry ingredients and nuts, and keep aside.
- Cream the soft butter and dark brown sugar in a mixing bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Once soft and creamy, add the vanilla extract.
- Keep mixing at a slow speed and add the room-temperature eggs gradually. Ensure the sugar dissolves and keep scraping down the sides in between.
- Add the dry ingredients in two batches, fold carefully and do not overmix.
- Add the squeezed-soaked fruits to the batter and fold carefully.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake rings and bake for 50 to 70 minutes.
- Insert a knife in the middle and check if cooked through. The knife should come out clean without batter. Remove from the oven and cool down the cake on a cooling rack to avoid over-baking, then reserve in the chiller.
- Feed the cake with the liquid from the soaked fruits three to four times on alternate days, to keep its moisture enhanced. The process can be repeated for as many as you like, to your taste.
- The cake can be served warm with dusted powdered sugar or covered with royal icing or liquid fondant, and garnished with your choice of edible Christmas decorations.