Experiments in Taste #1: Alcohol Free Christmas Bakes!

I’m taking a break from Slovene Cuisine this week to bring you my first ever ‘Experiment in Taste.’ I know that I have several sober-heroes amongst my regular readers, so I wanted to share with you the recipes I’ve been using to make my favourite traditional British Christmas bakes minus the alcohol.

Alchohol-free Traditional Christmas Cake

Green Chai from Aldi

I love Christmas cake: traditional rich fruit cake which you can make up to 6 months in advance and mature by feeding it with brandy, rum or whatever’s your poison. If you want to cut out the alcohol for whatever reason, then rest assured it’s possible.

I made this recipe, which is very simple. All you need is the time to bake it, as it takes a few hours. Pick a day when you plan to stay home. I prepared the fruit the night before by soaking it in this Green Chai from Aldi (pictured left). This is not a sponsored post: I just picked it up to try and liked the taste, as it is bursting with Christmas flavours.

I also added the freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice with the rind to the fruit mixture, though I did not soak the glacé cherries as I thought this might make them soggy.

The proof is in the eating…

Cake mix ready for baking
The finished cake

Here’s the cake before and after baking. I tried a little of the off-cut and I honestly think it tastes better without the alcohol. Once the cake is fully cooled in the tin, turn it out, wrap in foil and store in an airtight container. After one week, ‘feed’ with more tea (brew it and let it cool before adding.) Simply prick the cake a few times with a skewer and pour over the cooled tea, then rewrap with foil and store in an airtight container. You can repeat this process weekly for up to six months, though I’ve left it a bit late for that…🎅🏻

One week before icing, add a layer of marzipan to the cake, then store in an airtight container to allow it to dry. Ice the cake just before you are ready to eat it. I’m using ready-to-roll marzipan and icing for the sake of my sanity, but you can make these from scratch as well if you have the time and inclination!

Alcohol-free Vegetarian Mincemeat

Mincemeat mixture prior to cooking

Traditional mincemeat is made with both alcohol and suet, making it unsuitable for both sober-heroes and vegetarians. I adapted this recipe to meet my needs, as follows:

  • Soak the dried fruit mixture overnight in tea (I used the same Green Chai as above).
  • Substitute 100g icing sugar for 100g of the muscovado sugar: I mixed this with the lemon juice from the recipe to make a kind of glaze which I added to the soaked fruit before cooking as per the recipe. The other 100g muscovado sugar should still be used.
  • Add 50g butter to the mixture after removing from heat as this will add sheen and flavour to the mixture and help it to thicken.
  • Leave the mixture to cool and place in sterilised jars. Now all that remains is to make the pastry. Or you can buy ready-made if you prefer.
Mince pies ready for the oven

I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more Slovene Cuisine/Experiments in Taste
Happy Holiday baking!

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