Whipped brandy butter on toasted Irrewarra Christmas Fruit Loaf Christmas morning…

For many years now at Irrewarra we have baked a very special version of our Fruit and Nut loaf in the week leading up to Christmas. It's our Four Spice Christmas Fruit loaf. Filled with vine fruits, walnuts, almonds and four Christmas spices, it is absolutely unique.  We are thrilled to have created a wonderful tradition for our devoted customers - fruit toast on Christmas morning.  

Each year we have recommended enjoying it with cultured or brandy butter (also known as “hard sauce”) and this year our co-founder, Bronwynne Calvert shares her Brandy Butter recipe for you to whip up Christmas Eve (it doesn't take long!) or earlier if you are well organised!  Enjoying Irrewarra doesn't stop at Christmas breakfast though, don't forget our Almond and Fig Chocolate Panforté finely sliced on the Christmas table or sideboard and of course our amazing Fruit Mince Tarts

Irrewarra Four Spice Christmas Fruit Loaf served with Brandy Butter

Our much-anticipated annual treat, Christmas Fruit Loaf is available for a very limited time in selected Victorian retailers the week before Christmas. This year loaves are available from Tuesday 19 December and everyday up until Christmas Eve.  It’s a rich artisan sourdough loaf, bursting with plump and juicy raisins, sultanas, currants and candied citrus peel, walnuts and whole almonds, as well as the four fragrant festive spices - allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It's a dense, fruity, fragrant loaf that epitomises everything that is special about Christmas!  And it's even better spread with Brandy Butter!  

Brandy butter, or Hard Sauce as it's sometimes called, is very easy to make. Traditionally, it's used to accompany plum pudding. It's “hard” because it's made from mostly butter and sugar and so when kept in the refrigerator, it sets hard. When spooned onto hot pudding it melts over the pud to create a runny dessert sauce. It does the same when spread on hot toasted fruit loaf. Don't confuse it with brandy sauce, which is something entirely different – a runny thick caramel sauce. Brandy butter is also delicious with a warmed fruit mince tart or spread on Christmas fruit cake. 

Bronwynne’s Brandy Butter 

Serves 8-10

Brandy butter can be made the night before or weeks ahead, and can be stored in a covered bowl or a jar in the fridge for weeks after. Spread generously from the bowl or jar on our toasted Christmas Fruit Loaf;  it can also be used on steamed plum pudding, warmed mince tarts and spread cold on Christmas fruit cake. This recipe has been adapted from David Herbert’s recipe in the Perfect Cookbook (which I love!)


250g unsalted butter, softened (I recommend Girgar cultured butter, Western Star Chef’s Choice cultured butter or Lurpak unsalted)

1 ½ cups of icing (confectioners) sugar mixture, sifted

1/3 cup of good French brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla paste


Leave the butter out of the fridge until slightly softened but not very soft.  Cut the butter into chunks and place the butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (whisk attachment) until it's white and fluffy. Keep scraping down the sides of the bowl so it's  well combined. Add the French brandy and vanilla, beating thoroughly to incorporate.

Spoon out into the serving bowl or a jar and refrigerate. I have used it for months after making, if stored in the fridge.

Finish Christmas dinner with a slice of Almond and Fig Chocolate Panforté

Our Chocolate Panforté is perfect as a ready-wrapped gift and as a centerpiece dessert over the festive season, whether it be the Christmas dinner table or into January throughout the holiday season.  Our Australian-made version of this Italian treat, is filled with roasted almonds, dried figs, raisins, candied peel and honey.  These ingredients are mixed with melted rich dark chocolate and Victorian honey, then hand-pressed into a round tin for baking.

The Panforté is baked every week from November to Christmas Eve and is available online and through our Victorian stockists.

Simply sublime Irrewarra Fruit Mince Tarts : melt-in-the-mouth pastry and made-from-scratch brandied fruit mince!

We are truly proud of every single Fruit Mince Tarts that is made at Irrewarra. They are handmade to our own unique but traditional recipe. To make mince tarts is a painstaking job - grating apples, zesting oranges, blending the fruit and brandy, cracking the eggs and rolling and cutting the pastry - but the end result is absolutely worth it! The butter pastry is made from local Moorpark free-range eggs, local Australian butter and flour. These ingredients are “just combined” to limit any gluten development. 

Each case is filled with our own fruit mince - grated Granny Smith apples together with currants, raisins, sultanas, all macerated in French Brandy, our own blood plum jam (from our organic orchard) prunes, dates, a touch of spice and the finest grating of orange zest. 

Mince tarts are a special indulgence over the Christmas and holiday season. They're so good with tea, coffee or after dinner with a sweet muscat wine on Christmas Eve. We’ve been known to eat them lightly warmed for breakfast on Christmas day with a dollop of cream or brandy butter. 

Our Fruit Mince Tarts are beautifully boxed for gifting and baked daily from early November and shipped to stores fresh from our bakery. We recommend calling ahead to your nearest stockist to check availability to ensure you don’t miss out, otherwise, you can order them online

Wishing all our customers a wonderful and restful festive season. 

Find the range at a stockist near you.