Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Christmas Pudding

I decided to start the Christmas Pudding early this year. Traditionally it's supposed to be made the Sunday before Advent (Stirring Up Sunday), but since they are meant to be aged, and Advent means nothing to me, I opted to do it earlier to let it mellow.

The first step was chopping 2 cups of mixed fruit and letting it soak overnight in alcohol. Sherry, port, rum or brandy are typically used, but I had none of those! I used a combination of whiskey, Grand Mariner, sweet vermouth and a splash of absinthe.

Greased pudding basin and fruit soaked in booze

Greased pudding basin and fruit soaked in booze

Another old tradition is to place a silver coin in the pudding before steaming. Good luck comes to the person who finds it on their plate. A thuppence (three-penny coin) or sixpence was traditionally used, but these coins disappeared with the switch to decimal currency in 1973.  As luck would have it for us, downtown Boston is chock-a-block with various collectibles shops and we bought about a half dozen assorted coins from WWII this weekend, including two sixpence pieces.

Sixpence in boiling water to sterilize it

Sixpence in boiling water to sterilize it

I've made steamed puddings a lot over the years, even a couple of Christmas puddings, so I didn't really need a recipe. That said, I took this butter-based one and used it as a jumping off point.

Dry ingredients

Dry ingredients

One spice I hadn't used before was mace. While not all my spices match the recipe (I like to add cardamom) I did stick with the mace and think I may have over-spiced it a bit, but that should be remedied by the aging.

Sixpence waiting to be covered with more batter

Sixpence waiting to be covered with more batter

Four hours covered in a pot of simmering water and it was done.
Finished pudding ready for aging
Finished pudding ready for aging

I poured an ounce of dark rum on it tonight and wrapped it tightly. It will get more rum every fortnight or so until Christmas when it will be served flaming with brandy butter on the side.

6 comments:

50sgal said...

I love Christmas puddings. We usually put a coin, a ring, and a thimble in ours. The coin, prosperity, the ring, marriage in the new year, and a thimble, creative endeavors.
The last Christmas pudding I made, I used an old Mrs. Beeton's I think, where the ingredient portions are vague, and I used suet and and such and it was the best! I even have pudding tins in shapes for boiling. I can't wait to make mine this year!

Teru said...

We have a dessert baking contest at work (VERY competitive) that I'm being pushed into bending the rules to do a pudding for.

So many people say they don't like them, but I swear it's just because they've had commercially made ones, not good, homemade. No one has ever not asked for more of mine and I don't think that's because I'm special, but because proper, homemade steamed puddings are just so much better than what people expect.

50sgal said...

Very true. I even have a 'vegetarian' friend who 'looks the other way' to have a slice, due to the suet. I think most people do think of those wretched packaged 'fruit cakes' filled with vile jellied cherries, I think I might be ill just considering it. But a good pudding, mmmmm. I suppose around your house 'pudding' also means any dessert, am I right? "what's for pudding?"

Teru said...

Spouse actually does say "dessert." Pudding at our place is used for steamed cake things like this that one generally serves with custard.

50sgal said...

So, no 'pudding' course, then?

Teru said...

I've had to adjust to the term "custard" for pudding. But "pudding" of the steamed variety is an easy, go-to dessert here. Flour, sugar, fat and liquid. If we have dried fruit, that goes in, or sometimes shredded fresh apples or pairs. When all else fails, a spoonful of jam at the bottom of the pudding basin.