Monday, July 2, 2007

Christmas in July

Do you celebrate Christmas in July? In some parts of Australia and New Zealand where Christmas falls in the summer, and July is one of the coldest months, ‘ Christmas in July’ parties are held to mimic the traditional northern Christmas. Some traditional Christmas activities are difficult to have in the December summertime (such as heavy meals with roasted meats and heavy sweets like Sticky Date pudding) so these may be held in July instead.

In the Unites States, ‘Christmas in July’ is known as ‘Holiday in July’ and is an unofficial holiday exploited as a marketing opportunity. Stores have ‘Christmas in July’ sales. Still, some individuals do choose to celebrate the time themselves typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. Whether you celebrate Christmas in July or in December is not the important issue, what is important is if you actually know the true meaning of Christmas and it’s significance. See here for answers to these questions.

I personally celebrate Christmas in December, but if you were like me, you wouldn’t wait for Christmas to enjoy ‘Christmassy’ desserts! Warm saucy puddings are the way to go especially when you’re experiencing the height (or what feels like..) of winter. My favourite pudding of all time happens to be Stephanie Alexander’s ‘Sticky Date Pudding’ adapted from this book.

I found that baking the pudding in paper muffin cases were less fiddly when it came to serving and it also used less baking time, 15 minutes to be exact. To be on the safe side, though, do the skewer test as oven temperatures vary. For first timers on this blog, I always use Salted Butter in Baking, if this idea seems too strange to comprehend, go ahead and use the unsalted kind, it WILL matter to me, just make sure I don’t find out about it! HA!HA! (I can almost hear my daughters say, “not funny, mom’” as they look at each other, shifting their eyes from side to side) I reduced the sugar content from 170g to 150g for the pudding, as the toffee sauce will make up for it and more. One very important tip is this: leave the chopped dates to soak in the bicarbonate soda and boiling water for at least twenty minutes, this will guarantee a moist pudding. Good Luck!


170g pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
300 ml boiling water
60g salted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
170g Self- Raising Flour
½ tsp pure vanilla extract


400g brown sugar
1 cup thickened cream
250g salted butter
1 vanilla bean, split

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line an 18cm square cake tin. Mix the dates and bicarbonate soda; pour the boiling water over and leave to stand. Cream the butter and sugar till light and pale, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold the flour in gently, and then stir in the date mixture and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked.

To make the Toffee sauce, bring all the ingredients to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour a little sauce over the warm pudding and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes for the sauce to soak in. Serve warm with extra sauce and double cream or vanilla ice cream.


MeltingWok said...

I celebrate Xmas in December too :) But when it comes to food, I eat whatever/whenever I feel like it. ie. curry in summertime, no problem, or a nice pudding like yours during cold winter:) As long as you're happy, that's all that matters :)

Nora B. said...

Carol, I will definitely try this recipe. My partner's mom loves it so I have been looking around for a good recipe. And as for Christmas in July, we are planning to have one very soon. I am still finalising the menu.

Big Boys Oven said...

Love your sticky pudding, looks inviting and yet looks classic.

Kelly Mahoney said...

I don't normally celebrate in July, but I could for food that looks like that :)

The Cooking Ninja said...

No but if I can xmas presents twice in a year, why not ;)

Sylvia said...

Oh ,what a wonderful idea,here is the coldest mounth too,and is snowing in the south,but Xmas is only in the summertime, December.You puding looks amazing !!! and i copy the recipe

Sylvia said...

By the way..the music in your blog is great,I love....

Mary.K said...

Carole , cake is beautiful. very nice.

SteamyKitchen said...

Oh is that how Christmas in July started? I guess celebrating Christmas when its hot out is quite different. But I agree with Ninja...twice as many presents!

Belinda said...

Eating all that Christmas fare in the middle of summer is pretty hard - always feel like sleeping straight after lunch. It's a tough job opening pressies and eating all day :oP

But I don't celebrate Christmas in July, even though I'd love a roast turkey and a slice of your pudding Carol, especially on these cold, rainy days!

And catching up for a cuppa sounds fab to me :o)

Ming_the_Merciless said...

Hmmm! I don't believe I've ever had sticky date pudding before. But I've heard of it and read about it in British magazines.

Strangely enough, pudding in US means something like a yogurt textured dessert, like cream custard or chocolate cream.

The photos are amazing as usual. And I like the detail you added in your recipes.

P/S> Thanks for noticing the typo in NYCDP. Dogwater!?!?! Oy!

Tartelette said...

That's one dessert I have always enjoyed eating but never made...time to change that thanks to your recipe!

Oh for the love of food! said...

I'm the same, I eat what I want when I want and it's not dictated by rhyme or reason!

Great! keep me informed on how the pudding fares. Happy Christmas!

Thanks guys!

Thank you!

Now, why didn't I think of that??

Thanks for the compliment. I didn't think it was summer now in Buenos Aires!

Mary k,
Thanks for visiting. Hope to see you at this site again!

I've always wondered how it would feel to have a white Christmas.

Yes, it's tough isn't it, opening presents AS WELL as having to eat all day, tsk! tsk! HA!HA!
We'll organize a day for that cuppa , next week maybe, huh?

You must try some sticky date pudding when you get the chance! I'll make you some If I ever visit, just make sure your gas is still connected!

Please tell me how it turns out if you have a go!

WokandSpoon said...

Hello there. Where would I celebrate Xmas in July? In Melbourne brrrrr. Or in Frankfurt right now - it's cold enough to be winter! I'll definitely have to make your sticky date puddings - perfect for cold weather!

steph said...

I'm from the US and have always thought that the car dealers doing cheesy Xmas in July commercials with someone dressed like Santa is ridiculous! Now I've moved to Sydney and I'm thinking of making a Christmas dinner later in the month!
I recently took a baking course with the owner of Manna from Heaven, a large wholesale bakeshop outside Sydney, and she also said to use salted butter when baking.

Jackson said...

Ho ho ho!!.. thx for the info about christmas in July.... all the while i tot its only celebrate in December! Yr Sticky Date Pudding look fabulous!!! Definitely a great idea for Christmas celebration!!

Ali-K said...

Carol, I'm so keen to have a Christmas in July Celebration one year, just for the excuse to make all the yummy food!

Cutie said...

Ooooh, Xmas!! Love it. Last year I cook roast chicken and make some lovely dessert. I think this year I want to try making your pudding. hehe... If I ever have the chance, I will like to try your Xmas cooking. hehe...

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi there! thanks for visiting my blog. I've just gone and 'checked' you out, you have a lovely blog. We are quite alike in some ways, I love spicy M'sian food, but I can't go without rice for more than a day. I would feel literally ill! Hope to see you here again!

Hi and welcome to Australia! Thanks for visiting my blog. I've heard of Manna from Heaven and would love to take a Baking course with them, given the opportunity. I'm glad to hear that they use salted butter in their baking. It really does taste better!

Thanks for the compliment! You made me really hungry looking at your blog this morning!

Christmas fare IS too heavy for our HOT summer, isn't it?

I'm usually away on holidays during Christmas, escaping our hot Australian summer. Often I'm in KL around that time, maybe one day I'll have Christmas Dinner at your place! HA!HA!

palmtreefanatic said...

these look lovely,
thanks for sharing...

redeemed diva said...

I love your photos and celebrating Christmas in July is a great idea...actually, celebrating anything with food is a good idea. Great blog!

stay-at-home mum said...

When I used to live in Perth, we celebrated Christmas both in July and Dec!! What a joy to receive pressies twice a year!

palmtreefanatic said...

I enjoyed your blog very much I came over from another food blog I was looking at (foodelicious)
I will be back;)
thanks for stopping by mine...

tigerfish said...

There is almost no mention of xmas over here at this time of the year. But if we could have it twice in a year, why not? We can have stuffed turkey twice, honey baked ham twice, holidays twice, celebrations twice...

I like to use muffin pans too, for things other than muffins eg pies etc
Makes it easier for servings. And they can be mini food!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have never had sticky date pudding but I can tell this tastes delicious!

Eggy said...

Presents and another excuse to feast - what's not to love about christmas? Thanks for the soaking for longer tip. I'll try that next time. 'Love sticky date pudding too, btw :-)

Oh for the love of food! said...

Thanks for visiting! Hope to see you here again!

Redeemed Diva,
I agree, celebrating anything with food is great, Food is a celebration in itself too, I think!

Stay at home mum,
Thanks for coming by!

My thoughts exactly!

You should try it, you'll be hooked!

Thanks, A, glad you dropped by!

Nora B. said...

Carol, I forgot to ask you. How many mini cakes did you get with this recipe. And was it easy to peal off the cup cake paper when you wanted to serve it? Thanks!

Dwiana P said...

I wish I could celebrate Christmas every month, oh no that is not a good idea huh as how much weigh I am gaining after eat alot of food LOL. anyway enjoy looking at those pictures and I think I like the muffin paper. also I add you on my link, ok:)