GREAT BRITAIN

Merry Christmas everyone!

Today I’m going to share the last of my national Christmas desserts with you. This one’s very special, as I’ve started working on it about a month ago and haven’t quite finished it until yesterday evening, when I finally flipped it out and had my first taste. It was quite specific, but delicious all the same. So here it is, my very first Christmas Pudding.

Christmas Pudding

My main concern with this pudding was how to store it. I read about it a lot and it seems that most people nowadays still just store it in a cold place for about a month (or even more) and feed it with rum or any other liquor every once in a while. To be completely honest, I never gathered the courage to do something like that. There are eggs in it for crying out loud. And I certainly don’t want to poison my family for Christmas. So, after thinking long and hard, I decided to simply put the thing in the freezer for four weeks. I took in out the day before our Christmas dinner and then steamed it right before the dinner for about an hour.

Christmas PuddingI have to say it has surpassed my expectations. However, this is the only Christmas Pudding I have ever tasted in my life, so it is possible I’m not being quite objective enough.

This is the recipe that I used and I have to admit I haven’t really experimented with this one a lot. I got the impression that this was quite a specific dessert, so I just followed the instructions as thoroughly as I had the chance.

Even without the four week period of waiting, the preparation of this dessert spreads over more than just one day. It goes sort of like this:

  • Day 1: Soak the dry fruits in stout (rum, brandy, anything you have at hand)
  • Day 2: Mix all the ingredients together
  • Day 3: Steam the pudding for 5-6 hours

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding

Ingredients

  • 350g/12oz mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, sultanas)
  • 100g/3½oz pitted ready-to-eat prunes, chopped or left whole
  • 100g/3½oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 4 tbsp dark rum
  • 100ml/3½fl oz stout
  • 100g/3½oz chopped walnuts
  • 100g/3½oz blanched almonds
  • 100g/3½oz ground almonds
  • 100g/3½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  • 100g/3½oz frozen butter, grated, plus a little extra for greasing
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g/3½oz chopped glacé cherries (or left whole if you prefer)
  • 3 large free-range eggs, beaten

Preparation

Combine the mixed fruit, prunes, muscovado sugar, rum and stout in a mixing bowl. Stir well to mix, cover and leave for 24 hours to soak.

After 24 hours, mix the walnuts, almonds, ground almonds, breadcrumbs, flour, butter, spices, cherries and eggs along with the soaked fruit mixture in a large mixing bowl, making sure you include all the soaking liquor from the soaked fruit. Mix well until completely combined (let all the members of the family have a stir and make a wish). Cover with cling film and leave to stand in a cool place for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, grease a 1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basin with butter. Cut a circle of baking paper and place into the bottom of the pudding basin and then grease it with a little more butter. Pack the pudding mixture into the pudding basin, pressing as you add it. Fold a pleat into the middle of a large piece of baking paper and place over the pudding. Cover with a large piece of pleated foil, ensuring the pleats are on top of one another. Secure tightly with kitchen string tied under the lip of the pudding basin.

Place an upturned saucer into a large saucepan one-quarter full of water. Fold a long piece of foil into quarters lengthways to create a long strip and place the pudding basin in the middle of the strip. Bring the sides of the strip up the sides of the pudding basin and lower into the saucepan. Ensure the water in the saucepan comes one-third of the way up the side of the pudding basin, but nowhere near the top of the basin. Leave the ends of the foil strip hanging over the side to make it easy to remove the pudding later.

Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently for 5-6 hours, topping up the water level as necessary throughout cooking (do not allow the pan to dry out).

Once the pudding is cooked, remove from the pan and set aside to cool. The pudding can be stored for up to two years in a cool, dry place. To serve, reheat the pudding by steaming again (in the same way) for two hours, or until hot all the way through. Alternatively, remove the foil and reheat in the microwave.

Source: BBC Food Recipes

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