Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Pudding


60gm plain flour
120gm shredded or finely chopped suet
120gm white breadcrumbs
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp mixed spice
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
230gm molasses sugar
100gm raisins
100gm sultanas
250gm currants
50gm roasted and chopped whole skinless almonds
50gm chopped mixed peel
1 small apple, cored, peeled and chopped
Zest of one orange
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
3tbsp dark rum
100ml stout
100ml brandy
3 eggs
1/2tsp salt
softened butter for greasing your bowl


1)   Begin the day before you wish to steam the pudding and at least a couple months before         Christmas.  Make this now and it will keep till next Christmas, improving with age if fed a little alcohol once in awhile.
2)   Using a large mixing bowl, mix together the suet, flour, sugar, breadcrumbs, spices and salt.  Rub these ingredients together well.
3)   Add the nuts, apple, mixed peel, dried fruit and citrus.
4)   Mix the alcohols and eggs together in a smaller bowl. 
5)   Add to the larger mixture and incorporate well.  The mix should be quite sloppy.
6)   Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
7)   Grease a large bowl and spoon in your pudding.
8)   Cover it with parchment paper and foil.  Tie tightly.
9)   Steam over a large pan of water for 7-8 hours.  Or 1/4 time in a pressure cooker.
10) Cool, remove the parchment and foil, replenish with new and tie again.
11) Store in a cool place until Christmas Day.

Santa deserves something special after such a hard night's work.
Seriously though, 'It's A Wonderful Life, 'A Christmas Story' and 'Bad Santa'...the best Christmas films.

To serve:
     Steam again for 2-3 hours.  Turn out onto the centre of a large plate.  Light a ladle of brandy to flame and pour carefully over the pudding at the table.  Sprinkle with a snowy dusting of caster or icing sugar and top with rum sauce, brandy sauce, stiff white icing or homemade custard.  A sprig of holly will complete the festive vibe.

Heston's ingenious and now infamous orange stuffed pud that sold like hotcakes at Waitrose and even started a run on ebay.  Ah, the power of the chef.
     Love it or hate it, Christmas pudding is here to stay.  The populace seems firmly divided over all things cakey that contain bits of fruit.  The slant on this side of the pond savours it far more favourably than my homeland.  I'll make it and rejoice in the pagentry and smiling faces...but it is not my cup of tea.  One thing is certain...if you have been sitting on the fence, an aged home made Christmas pud may just win you over, the supermarkets just don't do this traditional flavour justice.  In any case, whether you use this or dust off that old recipe your gran used to make...have a go and keep the tradition alive.  The shops are a cop out, bah humbug!
     Quintessentially English, it was known as plum pudding until Eliza Acton coined it Christmas Pudding sometime in the early 1800's.  It first reared its head in the early 1400's when mutton, veal and sandalwood were prominent ingredients.  The current incarnation of the pud came about in the Victorian era and many traditions surround its making and consumption such as; studding the inside with silver coins and 'the wish', a time for the family to gather round all giving the mix a good stir whilst making a wish.

Scrooge was not a Christmas pud fan.
Parting Shot:

'Oh!  All that steam!  The pudding had just been taken out of the cauldron.  Oh!  That smell!  The same as the one which prevailed on washing day!  It is that of the cloth that wraps the pudding.  Now, one would imagine oneself in a restaurant and in a confectioner's at the same time, with a laundry next door.  Thirty seconds later, Mrs. Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a canon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre.  Oh!  The marvellous pudding!'
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Mr. Yuk says- 'I think I'll stick to Vanilla Ice Cream with Chambord this Christmas.'

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