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Heritage Recipes

Twelfth Night Cake


Martha Washington's Twelfth Night Cake

Twelfth Night Cake
George Washington's Recipe for Egg Nog
Holiday Wassail
Christmas Pudding



Twelfth Night Cake
Recipe for "Rich Cake" for Twelfth-Night Celebration
Recipe from  "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy" by Hanna Glasse


4 pounds flour, dried and sifted
7 pounds currents, washed and rubbed
6 pounds of the best fresh butter
2 pounds Jordan almonds, blanched and beaten with orange flour water
4 pounds eggs - put half of the whites away   
3 pounds double refined sugar, beaten and sifted  
1/4 ounce mace
1/4 ounce cloves
1/4 ounce cinnamon
3 large nutmegs, grated fine
A little ginger
1/2 pint "sack" or sherry wine
1/2 pint of right French brandy
Sweetmeats to your liking (candied lemon peel, orange peel, and citron, or melon)


Work butter into cream with hands; then add sugar and mix well together, well beat and strained through a sieve. Work in almonds first, and then put in eggs. Beat together with the set-aside egg whites until they look white and thick; then put in sack, brandy, and spices. Shake in flour by degrees, and when oven is ready, put in currents and sweet meats, as you put dough into your hoops.

Four hours baking in a quick oven (350°)

You must keep beating with hands, all the while you are mixing dough

Fills two large wooden baking hoops (probably 10 normal ring - or Bundt-type - baking pans)



Eggnog was one of the most common holiday traditions of Colonial America. Before there were Christmas trees, before there was Santa Claus, and long before there was ever a national holiday called Christmas there was the annual tradition of eggnog.

Eggnog definitely has ties to old England and the time-honored tradition of wassail. Though different from wassail, which used fruits as a base, eggnog's consistent ingredient has always been eggs. But aside from the eggs and milk or cream, eggnog of the 18th century could contain any manner of wine, beer, ale or other spirits. Spices, most notably nutmeg, were also constants.

George Washington's recipe for Christmas Eggnog

  • one quart of cream,
  • one quart of milk
  • a dozen eggs,
  • one pint of brandy,
  • a half pint of rye
  • a quarter pint of rum and
  • a quarter pint of sherry.

     He was famous, especially after the Revolutionary War, for holding festive Christmas gatherings featuring his unique brand of eggnog.

Eggnog continues to this day as a holiday tradition. Available now in grocery stores as early as mid-October, eggnog is as popular as a non-alcoholic beverage as it once was in its raw form. It has over time become one of the classic flavors of Christmas and has spawned a mini-industry of eggnog-flavored creations from cheese cake to ice cream.


1 gallon apple cider
1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
3/4 cup tea can use herb tea)

Place in a cheesecloth sack:
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
2 sticks cinnamon

This is great cooked in a crock pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your classroom will smell wonderful and the students will love it! Serves 20.


1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted margarine
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup unsulfered molasses
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups stone-ground or unbleached flour, unsifted

Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the melted margarine, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the extracts. Mix well. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers. Knead the dough for a smoother texture. Add up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking. When the dough is smooth, roll it out ¼ inch thick on a floured surface and cut it into cookies. Bake on floured or greased cookie sheets in a preheated 375° F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The gingerbread cookies are done when they spring back when touched.


Christmas Pudding

The origins of the Christmas pudding go back to the 14th century
when a porridge called frumenty was made by boiling beef and mutton
with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This was similar to a soup
and was eaten as a fasting dish in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

By 1595 frumenty was beginning to evolve into plum pudding -
it was thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs and dried fruit
and was given more flavour by the addition of ale and spirits.

Over the years it became the customary Christmas dessert. However,
with the arrival of the Puritans in 1664 it was banned as a lewd
custom and its rich ingredients described as being 'unfit for God fearing people'.

In 1714 plum pudding was restored to the Christmas table
by George I who had tasted and enjoyed it,
despite some objections by the Quakers.

By Victorian times, the plum pudding had evolved into something
which looked similar to the Christmas puddings enjoyed by people today and
it is now estimated that in the UK over 40 million people
will finish their festive meal with a bit of Christmas pudding.

One of the many customs surrounding the Christmas pudding
is that they should be made by the 25th Sunday after Trinity,
prepared with 13 ingredients (to represent Jesus and his Disciples)
and that every member of the family should take turns
to stir the pudding from east to west with a wooden spoon,
in honour of the three Kings.

Another custom is for silver coins to be put into the pudding
mixture before it is baked - whoever finds it will have health,
wealth and happiness for the coming year.

Christmas Pudding Recipe

8 oz currants
8 oz sultanas
8 oz raisins
8 oz dark brown sugar
4 oz grated suet
4 oz fresh breadcrumbs
4 oz ground almonds
4 oz chopped blanched almonds
4 oz mixed candied peel
6 oz finely chopped cooking apple, peeled
8 oz plain flour
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 fl oz stout
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 oz ground mixed spice
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp brandy

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with 2 tbsp of the brandy. Pour the mixture into a greased 3 1/2 pint pudding basin and cover with a double layer of greased, greaseproof paper or aluminum foil - pleated in the middle to allow for expansion. Tie string under the rim and across the top to make a handle and lower the pudding into the saucepan. Fill with enough boiling water to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Pour in more boiling water if necessary.

When the pudding is cooked, pour the remaining brandy over the surface and re-cover. To reheat, boil gently for 3-4 hours.
Decorate with a sprig of holly and flambé at the table with warmed brandy, if desired. Serve with fresh cream or brandy butter.





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