Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Eve

Cheese Burek (Cheese Filled Puff Pastry)

Cheese burek from neighbor S and her mother L!  L's neighbor had made them and given to L; L brought them to S who brought some over to me (while L stood outside their door and waved at me from across the street!)  This time, it was my turn to take a bite out of one before I remembered to take a photo!  LOL.  I love cheese burek and these were very delicious.  S also brought me more mulberry preserves because I really liked it.  Such generous-hearted neighbors!  

It rained all last night and this morning.  However, the rain ceased in the afternoon and we even had some bright sunshine for a few hours.  Fortunately, the rain had ceased when M stopped by to tend to the garden.  He didn't need to put water, of course, so concentrated on tidying up and clearing some areas.  He will be taking next week off; I'll see him again on the first Wednesday in January.  He hasn't opened his gift from us, yet, he said; he was waiting until Christmas Day!

Today was baking day at my house!  I started with a tray of my "world famous" as one or two of you call it, dump cake!  I am now getting a bit adventurous with my dump cakes!  This time, I dumped a can of apple pie filling, two cans of peaches (I drained off most of the light syrup) and some fresh cranberries:

Dump Cake Filling: Apples, Peaches, Cranberries

I stirred it all together and sprinkled some ground cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then, I dumped a box of yellow cake mix (the dry mix) over the fruit and topped it with a stick (1/4 lb.) of butter, cut up.  The first time I made a dump cake, the recipe I followed called for a stick and a half of butter, but, I've been able to reduce the amount without any problems.  Some recipes say to melt the butter and pour it over the cake mix, other recipes say to mix the melted butter and cake mix together first and then spread it over the fruit.  But, I do it this way:

Topped with Yellow Cake Mix and Butter

I baked it in a pre-heated oven at 350F for 30 minutes:

Fresh Out of the Oven

The dump cake will be taken to my cousin's place, tomorrow, for the family Christmas gathering.

Afterwards, I helped daughter make a cashew and semolina cake that is known as Love Cake.  I've described the process in several previous posts as we've been making this cake almost every year around Christmas or New Year's.  Basically, you dry roast a pound of semolina, add half a pound of butter to it.  In the meantime, you beat together 10 whole eggs and two additional egg yolks with 2 1/4 lb. sugar, until light and fluffy.  My original recipe calls for 10 whole eggs and 8 additional egg yolks.  But, daughter said that was too much cholesterol!  So, we reduced the number of eggs.  Today, she accidentally added 11 whole eggs and the yolk of only one additional egg, but, that didn't make much of a difference.  A pound of cashews are also ground up and spices and essences, etc. are added to the ground cashews.  My mother used to keep the cashew mixture overnight to allow the flavors to develop.  My daughter would only agree to keeping it for one hour!  LOL.  After that, the semolina and butter mixture was added to the egg and sugar mixture and the cashew mixture was stirred in.  Then, we baked it in a 10" by 15" baking pan, at 275F (I lowered the oven temperature from what I had baked it at on previous occasions; 300F works well, too, but, the edges of my cake got a bit burned the last time I baked it at that temperature) for 1 hour.  (We checked it at 45 minutes and decided it could do with another 15 minutes). The cake is done when a bamboo skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  But, this is a very dense and moist cake - it doesn't have a texture like a regular cake made with flour would have.  However, one should be able to cut it into pieces.

After the love cake was made, I rested a bit.  Wrapped a few more gifts and took neighbor T's gift over to her (left it on her doorstep after calling and telling her that I was going to do so).  Had a cup of tea and watched the evening news.

Later, I made a double batch of my cornbread muffins.  Two dozen muffins have been packaged to be taken to the Christmas gathering, tomorrow.  I am currently watching Midnight Mass from the Vatican.  I am not a Christian, but, watching the Midnight Mass from the Vatican has been part of my Christmas Eve traditions for many, many years.

Today's decluttering was a wire whisk which broke (came off the handle!)

On this Christmas Eve, I am grateful for:
- My daughter being home with me for Christmas
- Baking love cake with my daughter 
- S and her mother L sharing some delicious treats with us
- M tending to the garden
- Holiday traditions

Today's joyful activity was baking.

Wish all my readers a peaceful and joyous Christmas.


  1. Your Christmas Eve baking session brought back memories from childhood, helping Mum with all the foodie preparations for the holiday and trying to stop our brothers eating everything straight away!

    I hope you and your daughter have a lovely time tomorrow with your cousins xx

    1. Glad it brought back some hopefully fond memories, Eileen. :)

      Wish you a very happy Christmas; may you have a blessed day.

  2. All of your baking looks very good. Your Love Cake sounds delicious. And your dump cake is extra glamorous for the holidays :)
    The cheese burek is new to me. I googled it briefly and see that's is a savory item with feta? Not a sweet pastry. Is that correct?

    I hope you and your daughter have a very nice holiday.
    Merry Christmas.

    1. Merry Christmas, Debra.

      The house certainly smelled wonderful, last night, with all the aromas of cake and cornbread!
      That's correct; the cheese burek is savory. It's basically a turnover with a cheese filling. I had one for brunch, today. :)

  3. Blessings to you this day! That recipe for dump cake will be a Christmas masterpiece and may just become another tradition, along with the Love Cake, of course. What a lot of baking you did!
    I meant to tell you I was doing a "Bless" last week as I took a plate of home-baked goodies to each of the two friends I visited.
    Breakfast today was banana pancakes and bacon, then we opened our presents. There are plenty left under the tree waiting for the hoped for visit next week from our son and family, so it still looks very festive.

    1. Happy Christmas, Bushlady.
      You are right - I think that dump cake might be a Christmas tradition! :D It was fun to bake on Christmas Eve, but, two cakes and a double batch of cornbread muffins is the most baking I've done in one day in a long time!
      Ha, ha, I'm sure you would have taken those plates of home-baked goodies to your friends, anyway, but, thanks for calling it "doing a Bless"! :D
      Oh, I do hope your son and family will be able to visit, next week. It will still be a very merry Christmas when they visit, too. :)

  4. I know covid has been horrible for everyone but it has avowed you some time with your daughter, which is wonderful!

    1. That has been the silver lining in this whole Covid situation for me, Anne; being able to spend some extended time with my daughter. :)

  5. You certainly did do a lot of baking, it all sounds delicious. Happy Christmas to you and daughter.

    1. Thank you, Eileen; I enjoyed all the baking! Hope you had a lovely Christmas. :)

  6. The dump cake sounds delicious. The cinnamon and nutmeg will give it a lovely festive flavour, I'm definitely going to try it. X

    1. The dump cake turned out really well, with the cranberries adding a nice color to the filling. The cinnamon and nutmeg enhanced the flavor of the fruits and, next year, I might try adding some ginger, too, I think. :)


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