Nagpur: A liberal dash of spice, a tub of soaked-in-wine sweetness nuts mixed in with some rum and you get that luscious dark brown slice of cake – the plum cake is as synonymous with Christmas as the Santa Claus or the Christmas tree.
What’s Christmas without a plum cake?
Christmas is around the corner and the ubiquitous plum cake has started making an appearance. Christmas cakes, in what has become a hospitality industry ritual, are mixed ceremoniously. Hotel staff and guests smile happily as their gloved hands squish and squash the ingredients and a couple of months later…voila plum cake for Christmas.
Thus Christmas cakes have almost become synonymous with rum and wine. Nuts are cooked and soaked in these liquids for months before being baked in a cake.
Plum cake without rum – Haldiram style
Haldiram, Nagpur have turned this notion on its head by introducing cakes that are going to be not just pure veg ( sans eggs as per Haldiram tradition) but also completely alcohol free. Actually Haldiram have been making such cakes for years now, but for the first time they had the ritual of mixing and drowsing the nuts publicly – not in rum but in fruit juice!
The ‘mix’ of dry fruits – cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios and 3 kinds of raisins, figs and dates were laid out with trays of candied orange and ginger peel and spice such as nutmeg, cinnamon , star anise , black pepper, cloves and cardamom ( in powder form -” every masala except ‘jeera and dhania’ ” commented executive chef Manish Sharna jovially ) waiting to be mixed at the Haldiram Planet food newly renovated banquet hall on Abhyankar Road in Sitabaldi.
Divisional Manager Naresh Duggal, Sr. Executive Chef Manish Sharna, Chef Meherwan Singh and Manager of this food outlet Giridhar Bawne first gave a brief introduction of their concept of nut mixing in virgin juices – apple juice, orange juice, apple cider, ginger ale and non alcoholic wine so that “conservative Indians can buy the cake and feed it to their children too” and then the actual mixing began.
Invitees, mostly press people, were asked to pour the juices over the neatly arranged dry fruits – after donning gloves of course! And then put your hands in and mix, mix, mix! Pour the ground spice too and again mix. Men, who must have never taken a turn at mixing anything in their kitchens were seen doing this with much relish.
As Manish informed the gathering, this mixture will be stored for 10 days i.e. till 22 December and the baked cakes will be ready for sale from 23rd December.
A new concept of custard with cake
This year for the first time plum cakes will be sold with a custard sauce – egg free, goes without saying. This combination will be available at all their establishments selling Mithai and their Planets Food.
The cake will be priced at Rs. 1000/ a Kg and will be sold in 250 gms and 500 gms packaging.