Christmas is not too long away and it is the season to be jolly. Well, what better way to make merry than with traditional Christmas delicacies prepared at home.
So we give you recipes of the 10 most popular Christmas sweets across India from women who have been making them for years. And the best part is they've given us their easy-to-cook recipes so you don't have to be an expert chef to make these.
FESTIVE FOOD: Traditional Christmas delicacies prepared at home.
A must-have for Christmas is the rich Christmas plum cake. And once you try it, you will be making it year after year.
240 gms flour (maida)
200 gms sugar
120 gms butter
1 tsp. baking powder
360 gms raisins
100 ml rum
few drops vanilla essence
150 gms lemon peel
50 gms walnuts
30 gms crystallised cherries
Grease the cake tin and sprinkle a little flour on the surface. Place a sheet of paraffin paper on the bottom. Cut the cherries, walnuts and lemon peel into small pieces and immerse them along with the raisins in the rum. Cream the butter and sugar along with the vanilla essence. Add in the eggs gradually mixing all the while. Fold in the flour and baking powder. Mix in the rum with all the ingredients soaked in it. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake at 160° C for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Chef: Lavina Machado
Lavina's Special Tip: Prepare syrup with 100 ml water, 50 gms sugar and a large spoon of rum. Pour it over the cake to keep it rich and moist.
This is a sweet made especially in India for Christmas. It is the same as karanji that is made during other festivals like Diwali and Ganesh Chathurti.
250 gms semolina (rawa)
150 gms icing sugar
2 tbsp. ghee
50 gms raisins
50 gms cashew nuts
1/4 cup poppy seeds (khuskhus)
1/2 tsp. cardamom (elaichi) powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
salt to taste
Chop up the cashew nuts, poppy seeds and raisins and roast them in a little ghee and keep them aside. Then heat 2 tbsp. ghee in a frying pan and roast the semolina and the icing sugar in it till golden brown with a pleasant fragrance. Add in the roasted cashew nuts, poppy seeds and raisins as well as the cardamom and cinnamon powder. And your filling is ready.
500 gms flour (maida)
3 tbsp. ghee
milk (sufficient to make dough)
Knead the flour, ghee and milk together into dough. Roll out the dough into a sheet and slice into strips. Then knead each strip into a small ball and roll each one out into small circles. Flatten the small circles into special newrie moulds. Put in enough, but not too much, filling. Close the mould and seal the edges. Now deep-fry the newries on a medium flame until light golden.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Chef: Dr. Violet Noronha
Violet's Special Tip: Use a little water to seal the newries so the filling doesn't come out while deep-frying.
No Christmas sweet platter is complete without kulkuls. And the best part is they are simple to make so your kids can join in too!
2 kg flour (maida)
½ kg ghee
½ kg sugar
Grind the sugar well. Beat up the eggs.
Mix the ghee, the sugar and the eggs with the flour. Then knead it into a soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for half and hour. Take portions of the dough and roll it out into a flat sheet. Then cut into small sections.
Flatten each section on the kulkul comb and then roll neatly into thin cylindrical shapes. Make sure the kulkul is not more than an inch to one and a half inch long.
Press the ends slightly so that they do not open out while frying.
Heat oil in a kadai and deep-fry the kulkuls on slow fire one handful at a time. Remove the kulkuls onto newspaper to drain out the extra oil. Leave to cool. Then transfer the kulkuls into airtight containers.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Chef: Pam Xavier
Pam's Special Tip: After forming the kulkuls let them dry for about 2 hours. This way they won't open out when frying.
Snowballs are just the same as nankhatais. The only difference is that they are much smaller and rounder with a little cherry on the top. That's why they are perfect for Christmas.
600 gms ghee (not pure)
1 tsp. powder salt
500 gms castor sugar
800 gms flour (maida)
crystallised cherries (cut into small pieces)
Cream the ghee well and add the castor sugar little by little along with the salt and mix till foamy. Stir in the flour gradually kneading with the hand all the time. Cover with a wet napkin and keep overnight. Form small balls of dough and place a bit of cherry on the top of each snowball. Place at well spaced intervals on greased tray. Bake in a moderate oven at 300° F for 10 minutes.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Chef: Ena D'Sliva
Ena's Special Tip: Instead of the cherries, mix a little icing sugar, lime and food colour. Draw little stars, hearts or flowers on the top of each snowball.
Rose de coque
Rose de coque or rose cookies as they are popularly called are a delicious fried Christmas sweet.
1 kg flour (maida)
½ kg rice flour
750 gms sugar
Milk of 3 medium coconuts
Grate the coconuts and put the grated coconut in boiling water. Soak for a while and strain out the coconut juice. If needed, repeat this till all the juice is strained out. Keep it aside.
Mix the sugar and the eggs until the sugar dissolves. Add a little of the flour, rice flour and coconut milk. Keep stirring and adding everything slowly. Add in ½ to 1 tsp. baking powder at this time. The mixture should be a thick but pouring consistency. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a deep-frying pan. Then place the rose cookie mould in the pan holding the handle so that the mould gets really heated. Take out the mould and the excess oil and dip it into the batter. Then put it back into the hot oil. The batter will come out in the pan in the mould shape. Fry till golden brown.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Chef: Asangla Patra
Asangla's Special Tip: If the batter is too thick, add a little extra coconut water to get the right consistency. If it is too thin, a little flour would help.
A delicacy made during both Christmas and Easter, marzipan with its interesting shapes and colours is a great choice.
1 kg sugar
½ kg cashew nuts
White of 8 to 10 eggs (depending on size)
30 ml water and 2 to 4 ml rose essence or 30 ml rose water
3 to 5 ml almond essence (optional)
Grind the sugar, nuts, water and egg white into a thin paste in a blender.
Put the mixture into a thick bottomed pan on slow flame. Stir continuously. Increase to a medium flame very slowly if you can manage.
Bring to a bubbling boil to melt the sugar. Then reduce the flame but don't stop stirring. Cook till it starts leaving the sides of the vessel. Run a spatula through the mixture.
If the mixture takes a second or two to follow your spatula, you know it's done. Pour into a flat thali. Spread out the mass to cool otherwise it will keep cooking with the heat inside. Then add a little almond essence. Divide the marzipan into portions and colour each portion as you please. Then mould the marzipan into attractive shapes with a mould.
Cooking time: 1 hour
Chef: Regina Sheikh
Regina's Special Tip: Make sure that the sugar you buy is crystal white and the nuts look bleached. If not, your marzipan will look slightly brownish.
Date rolls an easy-to-make Christmas sweet and they taste absolutely delicious too.
200 gms flour (maida)
100 gms butter
60 gms ground sugar
200 gms dates (de-seed and cut into strips)
200 gms walnuts (cut into strips)
Beat the butter till fluffy. Add the sugar and beat till fluffy again. Add one well beaten egg and beat again. Fold in flour and mix till well blended. Knead lightly till it forms a smooth dough and roll out into ¼ inch thick chapatti. Cut into 2 inch squares. Put two strips of walnut and date in and roll. Apply water to seal the edges. Place on a well greased baking tray leaving sufficient space between each.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 160° C.
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes
Chef: Amitoj Noronha
Amitoj's Special Tip: Brush the top of each date roll with egg yolk before baking for that lovely glazed look.
Chocolate walnut fudge
Chocolate walnut fudge, though not a very traditional Christmas sweet, is very popular and must-have on your sweet platter.
1 tin condensed milk
1 tin water (same measure as the condensed milk)
1 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa
¾ tin sugar
½ cup crushed walnut
50 gms butter
Empty the condensed milk, water, sugar and cocoa in the vessel. Stir continuously over slow fire.
Please be sure to stir continuously otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the vessel. Once it bubbles put the butter and stir. When the paste is half thickened add walnuts. Stir continuously.
When the mixture starts leaving the sides of the vessel grease a plate with butter and pour mixture. Allow it to cool and then cut.
Cooking time: 30 to 45 minutes
Chef: Sybil Samson
Sybil's Special Tip: Don't put extra butter as the fudge might break when cutting. Sprinkle crushed walnut on the fudge for that added flavour.
Like kulkuls, is another essential sweet for your Christmas sweet platter. And don't worry it doesn't take too long.
1 litre fresh milk
600 grams sugar
100 gms cashewnuts - grated or ground coarsely in the mixer
2 tbsp butter
¼ bottle of vanilla essence
Boil milk and sugar till the milk thickens. Add the cashewnuts. Stir till it further thickens. Add the vanilla essence and butter. Stir till it leaves the sides (another half hour). Pour onto a greased thali.
Cut as desired or put into moulds while still warm.
Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes
Chef: Amy Heredia
Amy's Special Tip: Grease the mould with a little butter so that the milk cream does not stick or break when taking it off the mould.
Jujups are not a very traditional Christmas sweet but nonetheless they are made in most Catholic homes during the festival. Your kids will love them!
50 gms gelatine
200 gms sugar
Food colouring of your choice
Soak the gelatine. Boil sugar and 3 cups of water until it becomes a sticky syrup and about 2/3 the liquid you started with. Add in the soaked gelatine without the water and boil.
Put in the colouring. Boil for 15 minutes or so and pour into a dish. Put it in the refrigerator and let it set. Cut into cubes. Then roll the sticky cubes in crystal white sugar.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Chef: Rosette Gonsalves
Rosette's Special Tip: If you are in a hurry, put the dish in the freezer so it forms faster. But don't leave for too long as it will freeze and get ruined.