Saturday, 27 November 2010

Christmas Plum Pudding

I'm late! I really should have made these a month ago. I kept eating my figs though, before I could round up all the other ingredients. Also I can't say I am really looking forward to Christmas. What I would like to do for Christmas is to go sit on a tropical beach somewhere for a week. Or Spain. Spain would be nice. What I am actually doing, though, is having a 2 day house-party for 10 people. It seemed like a good idea in July. However, I have finally conceded that ignoring it won't make it go away and started making some plans.

I didn't really use the exact proportions of fruit listed below. What I ended up doing was going through the cupboards and using up any old fruit I could find. I did keep the orange peel and ginger about right though. Some of it was rather old and tough so I soaked it in some old sherry that also wanted using up. I can actually see some space in the pantry now! If your fruit is really fresh and moist you could skip soaking it.

Below you can see the pot I used to steam the puddings. I believe this is sold as a set to make pasta but I have only resorted to using it for pasta when my regular pasta pot is otherwise occupied. Mostly I use it for steaming things, which it does very well.

I also experimented with putting my puddings into wide-mouthed glass jars, from which they slide quite nicely, since they taper straight down. Don't regard this as long term canning, say all the experts, but I don't see why they wouldn't keep as long if not longer than puddings taken out of the mold and wrapped up in foil - at least 3 months. Plenty of booze of course is a major contributing factor in this keeping ability.

Christmas Puddings in the Steamer
Makes 4 puddings of 4 servings each
about 45 minutes prep time - 1 1/2 hours cook time
Should be made 1 to 2 months in advance

Christmas Puddings Waiting for Christmas
Mix the Fruit:
100 grams (1/4 pound) black mission figs
100 grams (1/4 pound) light raisins
100 grams (1/4 pound) dark raisins
100 grams (1/4 pound) dried cherries
100 grams (1/4 pound) chopped nuts
100 grams (1/4 pound) candied peel
50 grams (2 ounces) preserved ginger
1/4 cup rum or other booze of choice
1/2 cup soft unbleached flour

Trim the stems from the figs, and chop them to be of a size with the other fruits. Mix all the fruits (and nuts) in a container that can be sealed, with the rum, and let them soak overnight. When you are ready to make the puddings, toss them with the flour.

Mix the Dry Ingredients:
1 cup fine whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup soft unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix these together and set them aside.

Finish the Puddings:
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
and finally, more rum or other booze ad lib

Beat the eggs lightly with a spoon. Heat the brown rice syrup and molasses gently until they are quite fluid, but not really hot. Beat them into the eggs, then beat in the oil and buttermilk.

Butter 4 500-ml molds thoroughly.

Mix the dry ingredients into the fruits, then mix in the wet ingredients until well blended. Ladle the batter evenly amongst the molds. It will be quite runny, as you will gather. Cover the molds with buttered aluminum foil, and tie it in place with kitchen twine (or use rubber bands, if you have any of the right size).

Put the puddings into a steamer with water to the bottom of the jars. Steam for 1 1/2 hours, checking the water level regularly and topping it up with boiling water if necessary, and it will be necessary at least once I am sure.

Remove puddings from the steamer once done. You can test them with a toothpick, which should come out clean and dry. At this point I poured as much more rum over them as I could get them to absorb (several tablespoons each), put a lid and ring on them, and popped them back in the steamer for 10 minutes. They should now keep for about 3 months, I would think, in a cool dark place.

You could also make these in 2 1-litre molds, but in that case they should be steamed for at least 2 hours. These would have to be removed from the mold and well wrapped in foil once sprinkled with more rum. Again, keep in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.

To Reheat and Serve:
To reheat and serve the pudding(s), they should be steamed again for an hour. Or, what I actually do, which is to sprinkle them with a little liquid (more booze!) and microwave them until hot. The time will depend on your microwave, but almost certainly under 10 minutes to get one hot through. Much, much faster and doesn't tie up the stove when you are almost certainly wanting to use it for other things.

Serve them with Hard Sauce, which is basically boozy butter frosting.


Charlene Austin said...

Ohhhh I cannot wait to have Christmas Pudding. I just spoke with my MIL last night and that was my one request of what she brings when she spends the week here. The rum sauce is to die for!

Ferdzy said...

Ha, yes it's true. Christmas pudding is just there to hold up the sauce.