Traditional holiday foods served in a gracious setting await guests who visit historic Fredericksburg, Va., Sunday, Dec. 5 for the 12th annual Christmas Candlelight Tour.
The tour, sponsored by the Junior Board of Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc., goes to nine homes and buildings dating from the late 1700s. Costumed hostesses guide visitors through candlelit rooms decorated for the holidays; travel between homes is by horse-drawn carriage.
Refreshments served this year will be favorite recipes of board members. Cheese Pennies, Fifteen Hundred Dollar Fudge and other popular tour recipes were taken from the group's cookbook, "Christmas by Candlelight."
The cookbook was published after visitors requested the recipes for their own collections. The book also has illustrations and tips on making some of the decorations used on past tours.
Susan Bateman and Victoria Hine, cochairwomen of the food committee, have been working with board members to bake refreshments. "We have to choose things that are relatively simple and foods that can be made in advance," says Hine.
"We prepare enough food for almost 3,000 people," Bateman says. "Guests usually sample each of the food items at least once, so that's 3,000 pieces of fudge or 3,000 cookies to bake."
The 56 members of the Junior Board and about 20 prospective members will have the food ready by Saturday. It will be served at a local bank, which will serve as the refreshment stop on the tour.
Recipes featured on the tour and in the cookbook are easy to prepare, require commonly available ingredients and may be made in advance to ease the rush of holiday baking.
Cookbooks are available by mail from Historic Fredericksburg, P.O. Box 162, Fredericksburg, Va. 22404 (send check for $5 per book; postage will be billed). For tour information contact the Bicentennial Visitor Center, 706 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401 (703) 373-1776). DEVILED HAM IN MUSHROOM CAPS (10 to 12 servings) 1 pound mushrooms 2 tablespoons butter plus melted butter for topping Juice of 1 lemon Salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon brandy plus additional for topping 1/2 pound cooked ham 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Clean mushrooms. Remove stems and saute caps in 2 tablespoons of butter for 1 to 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tablespoon brandy (or to taste). Cool and set aside. Chop remaining mushroom stems. Grind ham and saute' with mushroom stems. Add enough mayonnaise to hold mixture together. Season mixture with dry mustard. Stuff each cap with the filling, using a large pastry bag or spoon. Top each with parmesan cheese, a little melted butter and a drop of brandy, if desired. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown. Serve hot. DELICIOUS ORANGE WINE CAKE 1/2 cup softened butter 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons grated orange rind 1 cup raisins 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 1 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons cream sherry Sherry buttercream frosting (recipe follows)
Cream butter until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue creaming until very light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat 5 minutes longer. Add vanilla, orange rind, raisins and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Sift flour, soda and salt together; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating and ending with flour. Beat for 1 minute after final flour addition.
Line 13-by-9-inch pan with brown paper; grease paper well. (A little butter under the paper helps it stick). Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool cake. Brush with sherry and frost with sherry buttercream frosting. SHERRY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING 1/2 cup soft butter 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 4 teaspoons cream sherry
Cream butter until fluffy; add sugar and continue beating. Add sherry and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled orange wine cake. CHEESECAKE COOKIES (Makes 16 squares)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts Filling:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8-ounce package cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cream butter with brown sugar in small bowl. Add flour and nuts. Mix until crumbly. Reserve about 1 cup of this mixture for the top. Press remainder into bottom of 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
To make filling, blend granulated sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla and beat well. Spread over baked crust and top with reserved crumbs, forming a sandwich with the filling in between. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into 2-inch squares.