Lovely Debra, The Savvy Shopper in New York, asked about the recipe for our Christmas Pudding.
Our family recipe is for an English-style boiled plum pudding, the kind depicted in the above tree ornament...
We call it Meca's Plum Pudding, and it has been handed down from Mr Cardinal's Grandmother, made by his mother, by me, and by our daughter.
This week we did it again, with the help of two little Canadian boys..
375g mixed dried fruit (or make up your own mix)
2 tablespoons rum (or brandy)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 green cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 teaspoon lemon essence
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmet
plain flour for flouring the cloth
60cm square of unbleached calico (muslin)
large cooking pot with handles on either side
stand to place inside the pot, eg a wire cake rack
clean rubber gloves
Put the mixed dried fruit in bowl, and pour the rum over. Let soak overnight.
Boil water in the cooking pot, then boil the cloth in the pot for about an hour. Put on rubber gloves, remove cloth from pot, wring out excess water. Set cloth aside while making pudding, but don't let it dry out.
In medium saucepan, combine soaked fruit, brown sugar and butter. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves, and it begins to boil. Transfer mix to large bowl, cool to room temperature.
Whisk 3 eggs with a fork and stir into fruit mix. Add breadcrumbs, SR flour, bi-carb soda, grated apple, lemon essence and spices and mix well.
Top up water in pot, bring to boil.
Spread pudding cloth on bench, sprinkle enough plain flour on cloth to cover an area 40cm in diameter, leaving flour a little thicker in the centre.
Place pudding mix in centre of cloth, on flour. Gather cloth evenly around it, avoiding any deep pleats, then pat into round shape. Tie cloth tightly with string, as close to mixture as possible. Pull ends of cloth tightly to ensure pudding is as round and firm as possible. Do not worry if it looks a little small, it will get bigger. Knot two pairs of corners together to make the pudding easier to remove.
Place stand in pot so pudding does not stick and burn. Lower pudding into boiling water, tying free ends of string to the pot handles to suspend the pudding. Cover the boiler with tight-fitting lid and boil for 3 hours, replenishing water as needed to maintain water level.
To remove, untie pudding from handles, place a wooden spoon through the knotted calico loops to lift pudding from water. Place pudding in a large colander, cut the string and carefully peel back the cloth. Turn pudding onto a plate, carefully peel cloth completely and allow to cool. The flour which was sprinkled on the cloth has become a 'skin' covering the pudding, retaining its moisture. It is important to remove the cloth while the pudding is hot, to prevent the skin sticking to the cloth. It should also be removed before storage as mould can form.
After pudding comes to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap and store in fridge for up to 2 months.
On Christmas Day, boil the calico cloth again, tie the pudding into the cloth as before and boil for 1 hour.
Or you can warm it in the micro-wave. I do.
Serve while hot with cream, custard, brandy cream, ice cream.....etc.etc.
This is my pudding as it stands at the moment, covered in plastic wrap and living in the fridge until Christmas Day.
While there appear to be a lot of instructions, in fact it is a quick, easy and economical pudding to put together, and it is fun to make something old-fashioned, using a long-ago method.
When I was a child, my father made a whole series of these red pointsettia flowers, cutting them with a jig-saw and carefully painting them.
They were called place-mats, but I don't remember ever seeing them used for that purpose. But they are so pretty, they have always been around.
For our first Christmas without my Dad, I like seeing them around the house...
More festive cooking today:
Cherry Ripe squares, and Mars Bar slice.
Stocking the freezer in advance...
Still keeping a watch on everything...
Enjoy the weekend, and the shopping...I do!