On Christmas Eve it is customary serving chicken soup and various meat dishes at family gatherings. In addition, home-made tangerine, orange or aniseed liquors or a good glass of Madeira wine are also drunk.
On Christmas Day generally people eat pork in wine and garlic or stuffed turkey. Furthermore the most common sweets for this season are "Bolo de Família" (Family Cake), "Bolo de Mel" (Honey Cake), and popular sweets like "rosquilhas de manteiga" (butter biscuits) "broas de mel" e "broas de manteiga" (honey and butter biscuits) and "palitos de cerveja" (beer finger biscuits).
Meat in Wine and Garlic
1 kg porkloin (with some fat) 2 cups of wine vinegar Rock salt, to taste 10 garlic cloves Bread slices, as needed Bay leaves Pepper, marjoram, savory
Cut the meat in cubes and season with salt. On the following day, make a marinade with the vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, pepper and herbs. Place the meat in the marinade for at least three days, in a clay pot. Fry with the marinade and serve with the bread, fried in the grease, baked sweet potatoes, fried cornmeal and orange slices.
Family or Black Cake
500 g flour 500 g sugar 250 g butter 125 g lard 6 teaspoons of sugar cane molasses Ground cinnamon, to taste Nutmeg, to taste Lemon zest 2 teaspoons of baking soda 1/2 L milk 1 wine glass of Sweet Madeira wine 6 eggs Dried fruit (raisins, nuts, etc.)
Mix well all the ingredients. Pour in a greased pan and bake in a very hot oven.
Secret: the drier the fruit, the longer the cake lasts, up to 5 days. This cake is initially beaten vigorously by hand.
Madeira Honey Cake
Ingredients for the leavening:
500 g unleavened flour 30 g leavening (baker's yeast) about 3 dl water
Knead the flour with the yeast, make a ball, cover with plastic and let rise for 2 to 3 hours.
1000 g unleavened flour
350 g sugar 300 g butter 150 g lard clove (about 1.5 g) fennel (about 1.5g) 15 g cinnamon 50 g nuts 50 g chopped almonds lemon zest 400 g mixed crystallised fruit 150 g sultanas 15 g baking soda juice of 1 orange 8 dl Madeira molasses 2 dl Madeira wine
Mix the butter with the sugar until creamy, add spices and juice of an orange and a little lemon zest. Melt the molasses and lard together and add to mixture. Add the flour and baking soda and mix for about five minutes. Add to this dough the leaven previously kneaded and continue to mix for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Lastly, add the crystallised
fruit and mix for an additional five minutes. Let rise for 24 hours. Place the dough in greased and wax paper-lined pans (only the bottom of the pan) and decorate the cakes with almonds and nuts on top. Bake them in a 190o degree oven, for 25 minutes. Honey cake is broken by hand.
NOTE: Use pans with removable bottoms, with a diameter of 15 cm and a height of 4 cm and placedough 3 cm high.
1 l sugar cane rum 1 l water 1kg sugar Rinds of 6/7 tangerines (large and ripe)
Finely cut the tangerine rind, with no white so as to not be bitter. Steep the rinds in thesugar cane rum for 15 days. Once the steeping time has passed, add water and sugar and
heat to make simple syrup. Add simple syrup to the sugar cane rum, removing rinds andfiltering the liqueur. It is now ready to serve.