My grandmother was a woman of tradition, and especially when it came to food. She insisted on serving the same signature dishes every Christmas. Her chervil soup with a dash of madeira wine is famous in my family. Not so much for it’s taste as for my grandmothers perseverance and effort. Because it was quite hard to find chervil this time of year in the Netherlands, she and my grandfather used to travel to Belgium to buy it so that she could make her special Christmas soup to serve to the whole family.
Now this sounds worse than it actually was, I grew up near the Belgium border, so it wasn’t that big a sacrifice. Especially when you know Belgium supermarkets are much bigger and nicer than Dutch ones, and my grandmother considered it a treat to visit one! Unfortunately my grandmother passed away a few years ago, but I have nice memories of her, as I also have of my other grandmother.
My grandmother’s other Christmas tradition was to make Christmas bundt cakes. I guess she made as much as eight of them every year. A couple to give to family and also a couple to give to ‘people who were alone at Christmas’. Which was a sweet idea.
Although I don’t know what people who are alone at Christmas should do with a giant bundt cake all for themselves, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
Now I never asked her for the recipe for this famous cake, so this is my own version of my grandmother’s Christmas cake. I’m sure she doesn’t mind.
- 200 gr of soft butter
- 200 gr of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 200 gr of all purpose flour
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 4 tbsp of creme fraîche
- ½ tsp of cardamom
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 vanilla pod (slice open and take out the seeds) OR 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar
- Zest from one orange
- 70 gr of dried raisins
- 50 gr of dried cranberries
- Pinch of salt
- Icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
- Mix the butter and sugar until creamy
- Add the eggs one by one until incorporated
- Add the flour and the baking powder and mix well
- Add the creme fraîche, the orange zest and the spices, mix well
- Grease a bundt cake tin
- Add the raisins and cranberries to the mixture and pour in the tin
- Bake for 30 minutes at 160 degrees, then increase the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.
- When the cake is golden, take it out and leave to cool
- Dust with icing sugar before serving
Bon appétit and Joyeux Noël everyone!