Our Favorite Christmas Recipes - Delicious Yet Easy to Prepare Foods

My favorite Christmas recipes come from my mother's kitchen in England. None of them are for the diet-conscious, but the best holiday recipes are the "forbidden fruits" we deprive ourselves of for the rest of the year.

We make a kind of fruit cake that really isn't anything like the American version - except for the fruit!

Nana's Christmas cake – makes 1lb cake or two smaller ones, and is best made about 1 month before Christmas.


  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 lb soft brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 lbs all purpose flour
  • 2 lbs currants
  • 1 lb sultanas or raisins
  • 4 oz glace cherries - quartered
  • 8 large eggs - beaten
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoon light Karo syrup (or golden syrup if you can find it)
  • A good slug of brandy

Instructions for this favorite Christmas recipe of mine:

  • Cream butter and sugar, then add the syrup.
  • Sift flour with mixed spice and salt.
  • Alternately mix in eggs and flour mixture.
  • Stir in fruit and pour into tin(s).
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, then lower heat to 275 degrees for 4 hours if using ONE cake pan.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, then lower heat to 275 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours if using TWO cake pans.
  • When cake has cooled, pour brandy over and allow to sink into the cake. This can be repeated one or more times.
  • Wrap cake in foil and store in container until Christmas.
  • This cake is traditionally covered with almond paste and Royal icing, and decorated with small Christmas figures.

Instead of the usual turkey, many households prefer to serve a large capon and a leg of pork - cooked with the skin still on the roast. The skin is scored into strips and rubbed with sea salt. Cook as you normally would and serve a little of the skin (which is called "crackling" and should be crisp) with the meat.

If the skin isn't crisp enough, gently remove it and roast in a separate pan until it's crisp enough to crack. This is served with apple sauce and sage and onion stuffing or American stuffing with the addition of chopped apples and crumbled, cooked sausage.

When it comes to favorite Christmas recipes, we all have our favorite side dishes to go with the meal. These are mostly family favorites that would be missed if they weren't included, and here are a few that we enjoy:

  • Sauteed Brussels sprouts with bacon - clean and slice the sprouts into thin slices, saute in butter, season and add crisp chopped bacon before serving.

  • Mashed turnips and carrots - for this favorite Christmas recipe of mine, peel and dice the vegetables, then cook together in a large pan until tender. Drain and mash together with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg, and drain again before serving, as the turnips contain a lot of water.

  • Scalloped Potatoes - for this favorite Christmas recipe of mine, layer thinly sliced and rinsed potatoes (and onions if you wish) in a shallow casserole. Season each layer. Pour over enough whipping cream to just cover vegetables and cover the top with grated Swiss cheese. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours - or you can cook them with the meat and adjust the time - until done.

For my favorite Christmas recipes, dessert is usually English trifle or Fruit Pavlova - there are no low-calorie options unless you want to make a fruit salad or fruit and cheese plate.

Fruit Pavlova


  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 4 cups of heavy cream, beaten
  • Seasonal fruit, sliced and drained

Instructions for this favorite Christmas recipe of mine:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Draw a 12" circle on the paper.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff and gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition. Gently fold in lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch.
  • Working from the center outwards, spread meringue onto the circle on the parchment paper, making a slight depression in the middle.
  • Bake for 1 hour and allow to cool. The Pavlova can be frozen at this point and defrosted before decorating.
  • Place meringue on a serving plate.
  • Beat the cream until stiff and pile into the center.
  • Decorate with the fruit and serve immediately - this favorite Christmas recipe of mine is decadent and delicious!

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