Another Christmas has come and gone, and this year, I must say, has been really fantastic!
We started our Christmas a little early this year. Now, although in Western society it is common to exchange gifts on Christmas Day, here in Russia, the western tradition of Christmas on Dec 25th is not seen as a religious holiday, and for Russians, Dec 25th is a normal work day.
So as mama goes to her regular job at the kindergarden before the sun rises each morning, we decided to do our gift giving last night.
Without going into details of who got what, I will just say this: That last night was the best Christmas Eve I have had in some years.
Now getting onto the food, which is everyone’s favorite. Without a doubt, the Christmas celebration (or as my sister calls it “Festival Of The Feasts“), is about the one time of year when one can get together with family and friends and eat them out of house and home) 🙂
Yesterday, we started the food preparation later in the day. I started with my famous Pork Roast. Now, I will say here that finding a market that sells pork with the crackle on it (the skin) is really hard to come by, just as it in the US. (I guess this brilliant idea comes courtesy of the Heart Foundation). But in my opinion, the crackle is one of the best parts of having a roast pork to begin with. Not only is the crackle good to eat (if done right), but it also seals in the natural flavor and juices of the meat.
Okay, so my famous pork roast is a trade secret, and I wont give away any details on what I use in the preparation, but to give you all a hint, I use around a dozen secret herbs, spices and sauces in my recipe 🙂 Needless to say, the end result is nothing short of spectacular (not my words, but the words of everyone who has had the fun of trying my home cooking)
Now comes the gravy. Gravy is not a big thing here in Russia, but this year it was part of our new tradition.
To make the gravy I use the juices from the roast. Pour this into a pan and bring it to the boil over a low heat. Mix some flour and water and add this to the gravy, stirring continuously until done. Add salt to taste, but really you don’t need any extras if you have done this right.
Now comes the part which we all love. The Pumpkin Pie. This is my own recipe so try it and see if yours turns out the same.
Although some online recipes tell you to use molasses or a cream substitute, I came up with this brilliance when I discovered that here in Russia such items are pretty much non-existant.
Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees.
BASE: For the base lets start with the basics:
250 grams plain flour
4 large eggs
60 ml cold water
125 grams unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Blend ingredients until you have a thick batter. Batter is properly mixed when it has a thick texture. Spread evenly in a pie dish and put in fridge for about an hour. (or put in freezer for half an hour). (This will let the base give a firmer texture and easier for your baking).
Next, lets go onto the filling. What I use here is:
1 large pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and place in a large pot. Boil pumpkin until tender. Once tender, take off heat and allow to cool. Next, peel the pumpkin and put into a blender. Add eggs, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla sugar. Whisk until well blended and thick.
Next up, pour the puree evenly over the pie crust until you have a thick layer. Place in oven. Cook for approx 30 minutes until done. Pie will be done when you can stick a knife in the center and it comes out clean.
Serve with instant whipped cream.