Last weekend, I went to a Christmas baking workshop taught my friend Marianne, a pastry chef who I met on the Makelight Retreat. The workshop was held at Bakesmiths, a lovely bakery and cafe on Whiteladies Road in Bristol.
Being not exactly the biggest fan of Christmas pudding, mostly because it’s inevitably forced on you after being crammed to the rafters with goose and roast potatoes, I’ve never made one before. So, I was looking forward to giving it a bash. I opted to make the ‘boozy chocolate’ version (because anything can be improved with booze and chocolate, right?!) complete with added cocoa powder, rum and chopped chocolate.
Marianne took us expertly through the recipe, pointing out helpful tips along the way. Given that I have a stunningly short attention span, when it came to us making the Christmas pudding recipe, I conveniently ‘forgot’ the right time to add the alcohol, meaning that I had to add more in at a later stage. Oh well. So with my (very) boozy Christmas pudding made, we then moved on to mince pies. We made the mincemeat with a combination of dried fruit, homemade candied peel, suet, nuts, and (yes) even more alcohol. Marianne took us through making a very delicate sweet pastry with icing sugar and ground almonds, which we then filled with the homemade mincemeat and baked. Then there was mulled wine. A wonderful day.
For full details about Marianne’s upcoming classes, head to mariannebakes.co.uk