Recipe: Kourambiethes (Greek Christmas Sweets)

Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Kourambiethes (Greek Christmas Sweets)


These delightful little sugar coated biscuits have a delicious brandy, cinnamon and almond flavour. They are the traditional Christmas sweets in Greece where it is customary to prepare them in every home although they are now to be found in most Greek cakeshops and supermarkets during the festivities


  • 16 fl. oz. (450 ml.) olive oil
  • 4 oz. (125g) sugar
  • 1 whole egg and 1 yolk
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsps brandy
  • 4 oz. (125g) almonds, roasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 lb. (450g) flour
  • icing suagar for coating
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Pour the olive oil into a large bowl and beat in the sugar
    2. Add the eggs, almonds, cinnamon, almonds and brandy and beat again
    3. Carefully add the flour until the dough is a soft consistency that will not stick to your hands
    4. Divide the dough into pieces the size of a walnut and shape kourambiethes into rounds, oblongs and ovals
    5. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F, Gas Mark 4, 180C for 15-20 minutes
    6. Allow to cool a little then sift icing sugar over them, covering them completely

    Recipe: Egg Nog

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Egg Nog Serves 1


    Golden yellow egg and milk drink laced with brandy; said to originate from the old English ‘posset’


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. brandy
  • 8 fl. oz. (225ml) milk
  • quarter teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 tbsp. castor sugar
  • pinch salt
  • nutmeg
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Beat the egg until stiff then slowly add the sugar
    2. Add the milk and brandy and mix again
    3. Pour into a tall glass and stir in the vanilla
    4. Dust the top with grated nutmeg and serve

    Recipe: Mulled Wine

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Mulled Wine Serves 8-10


    A wonderful combination of wine, sherry and cinnamon with a honey flavour traditionally served hot; an inexpensive wine will work just as well for this drink


  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 2 fl. oz. (50ml) sherry
  • 1 dessert apple
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tbsps. clear honey
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Wash the apple then stud with cloves and bake for about 10 minutes
    2. Pour the wine and sherry into a large boiling pan then stir in allspice, nutmeg and honey
    3. Add the part-baked apple then bring to the boil while stirring occasionally
    4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
    5. Serve hot, straight from the pan

    Recipe: Claret Cup

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Claret Cup


    Excellent drink to welcome your guests over the festive season


  • 1 bottle claret
  • 1 bottle soda water
  • 1 bottle lemonade
  • 2 wine glasses sherry
  • 2 oz. (50g) castor sugar
  • 1 small lemon, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of borage
  • sliced peel of cucumber
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Place all the ingredients, except sugar, into a punch bowl or large fruit bowl and mix together
    2. Add sugar to the bowl and mix again
    3. When serving add ice to individual glasses

    Recipe: Syllabub

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Syllabub Serves 4


    An enchanting creamy, lemon and sherry dessert that can be made well in advance, the perfect finale to a festive dinner party


  • one eighth of a pint (75ml) sherry
  • half a pint (300ml) double cream
  • 2 oz. (50g) caster sugar
  • juice and grated rind of half a lemon
  • a few ratafias
  • lemon slices, to decorate
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Stir together the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, sherry and sugar until the sugar has dissolved
    2. Blend in the cream and whip lightly
    3. Crush the ratafias and place in the bottom of individual dishes
    4. Arrange the syllabub on top of the ratafias , decorate with lemon slices and serve chilled

    Recipe: Royal Icing

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Royal Icing


    A lovely icing that’s the ideal topping for your Christmas cake prior to your decorations


  • 16 oz. (900g) icing sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tsps. glycerine
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Sift the sugar into a mixing bowl
    2. Stir the egg whites in a separate bowl just sufficiently to break them up
    3. Add half of the sifted sugar, mix well then stir briskly until the mixture becomes smooth, glossy and white
    4. Cover the bowl with greaseproof paper and leave for an hour so that the bubbles are allowed to rise to the surface
    5. Add sufficient of the remaining sugar to form a stiff consistency, stiff enough so the mixture rises to form peaks when pulled up with a spoon
    6. Add the glycerine and leave the icing in an airtight container overnight in a cool place before using

    Recipe: Almond Paste

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Almond Paste Enough to cover one 9 inch fruit cake


    Cover your Christmas cake with this almond paste at least acouple of days before adding the royal icing or the almond oil may discolour the icing


  • 12 oz. (375g) ground almonds
  • 12 oz. (375g) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • jucie of half a lemon
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the ground almonds
    2. Stir the egg into the almonds and sugar then add the vanilla essence and enough lemon juice to make a stiff dough
    3. Shape into a ball and knead lightly

    Recipe: Christmas Cake

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Christmas Cake Makes 1 x 9 inch Round Cake


    A super Christmas fruit cake, enriched with brandy, that is best made in early November


  • 1lb. 2oz. (500g) currants
  • 3 tablespoons of brandy
  • 8 oz. (225g) sultanas
  • 8 oz. (225g) raisins, stoned
  • 6 oz. (175g) glace cherries
  • 4 oz. (125g) candied peel, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 10oz. (275g) plain flour
  • 10 oz. (275g) butter
  • half a level teaspoon of mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • half a level teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
  • 10 oz. (275g) soft brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • almond paste
  • royal icing
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Wash the dried fruit in a sieve, under the cold tap, two days before making the cake
    2. Drain and turn on to clean tea towel, pat dry then spread on kitchen paper to dry
    3. On baking day, grease a 9 inch round cake tin, line with double greaseproof paper and re-grease
    4. Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin, to come 3 inches above the top
    5. Put the prepared fruit, peel and cherries in a bowl and mix well
    6. Grate the lemon rind
    7. Sift together the flour, spices and salt then add, together with the grated lemon rind, to the bowl of mixed fruit
    8. Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale, soft and fluffy
    9. Break the eggs into a basin and whisk lightly with a fork
    10. Add the whisked egg, 2 tablespoons at a time, to the creamed butter mixture, beating until well mixed each time before adding more egg
    11. With a tablespoon, fold in the flour and fruit mixture; add a little milk if necessary to make the mixture soft enough to drop from the spoon when it’s held above the bowl and shaken
    12. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking tin, spread it evenly around the tin and make a dip in the center
    13. Bake at the bottom of the oven at 300F, Gas Mark 2, 160C for about four and a half hours until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch
    14. To prevent the cake over-browning, cover with two or three pieces of brown paper after the first two and a half hour’s baking
    15. Test with a fine skewer, insert the skewer in the cake and when it is drawn out it should look quite clean
    16. Allow the cake to cool in the tin
    17. Before storing the cake, prick with a fine skewer and slowly pour the brandy over it
    18. When storing the cake, wrap it in several layers of greaseproof paper, then wrap in foil or store in an airtight tin
    19. Cakes made several weeks before Christmas will become darker in colour and richer in flavour
    20. Decorate the cake with almond paste and royal icing (see Hookery Cookery Christmas Recipes

    Recipe: Mince Pies with Shortcrust Pastry

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Mince Pies with Shortcrust Pastry Makes 20-22 pies


    A no-nonsense recipe for mince pies, ideal for entertaining unexpected guests at the festive season


  • 12 oz. (350g) shortcrust pastry
  • 1 lb. (450g) mincemeat
  • icing sugar
  • milk or egg for glazing
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Roll out the pastry to about one eighth of an inch in thickness
    2. Using a 3 inch and a two and a quarter inch cutter, stamp out 20-22 larger and smaller rounds
    3. Line tow and a half inch patty pans with the large rounds
    4. Fill the rounds with mincemeat
    5. Damp the edges of the smaller pastry rounds and position on top of the larger, filled rounds
    6. Make a slit in the top of each pie
    7. Brush the tops of each pie with a little milk or egg to glaze
    8. Bake in the top of a pre-heated oven at 425F, Gas mark 7, 210C for 15-20 minutes, until the mince pies are a golden brown in colour
    9. Cool on a wire rack then dust with icing sugar

    Recipe: Traditional Sherry Trifle

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Traditional Sherry Trifle Serves 8-10


    Treat your family and friends to this superb traditional boozy trifle full of sherry, raspberries and cream. Forget about counting calories until the New Year!



  • 8 trifle sponges
  • 4 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 6 tablespoons sweet sherry
  • 12 oz. (350g) frozen raspberries, partially thawed
  • 2 oz. (50g) ratafia biscuits


  • 1 pint (550ml) milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar, plus a little for sprinkling
  • one and a half tablespoons of cornflour


  • three quarter pint (425ml) whipping cream
  • 2 oz. (50g) flaked almonds, toasted
  • glace cherries to decorate
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Split the sponges in half then spread each half thinly with raspberry jam
    2. Sandwich each half back together and cut into quarters
    3. Place in the base of three and a half pint (2 litre) glass trifle bowl
    4. Sprinkle the sherry over the sponges and spoon over the partially thawed raspberries and their juice
    5. Roughly crush the ratafia biscuits and sprinkle over the raspberries
    6. Chill for 3-4 hours
    7. Place the milk and vanilla pod in a small pan and slowly bring to just below boiling point
    8. Transfer to a heatproof jug and leave to infuse for 10 minutes
    9. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk
    10. Place the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a bowl and whisk together
    11. Whisk in the milk, then strain the liquid back into the rinsed pan through a fine sieve
    12. Cook over a gentle heat , stirring constantly until the custard starts to thicken, being careful not to allow to boil
    13. Cook gently for two minutes unit the custard is a thick pouring consistency
    14. Quickly pour the custard into a cold bowl to prevent further cooking
    15. Sprinkle the surface with a thin coating of caster sugar to prevent a skin forming
    16. Set aside and leave to cool
    17. Spoon the cold custard onto the raspberries in the trifle bowl, spreading to the edges with a palette knife
    18. Gently whip the cream until it nearly holds its shape, then spoon three quarters of it on top of the custard and carefully spread to the sides of the bowl
    19. Whip the remaining cream until it holds it shape
    20. Pipe swirls of cream around the top of the bowl and decorate with flaked almonds and cherries