Christmas Pudding

posted by Polar Bear 12-05-101 11:02 AM

The trickiest part is the pudding basin. If you don't have one, a heat resistant bowl may be substituted, but only if it has a good lip, as you have to be able tie it 'round with kitchen twine.

Christmas Pudding
Adapted from a recipe by Delia Smith, the current reigning doyenne of British cooking

2 c fresh bread crumbs (4 oz) (from about 5 slices, crusts removed)
1 c beef suet (finely chopped) (4 oz)
6 tbsp unbleached flour (2 oz)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each: allspice; cinnamon; mace; nutmeg; ground cloves; salt
1-1/2 c dark brown sugar (1/2 lb)
1 c each: dark and golden raisins (4 oz each)
2 c currants (10 oz)
1/4 c chopped almonds (1 oz)
1 sm tart apple (peeled, cored and chopped finely)
3 tbsp candied peel (1 oz) (or, better, home made glace fruit)
1 tsp each: lemon and orange peel
2 lg eggs (beaten)
1/3 c each: stout; barley wine
2 tbsp amber rum
1 batch dessert sauce (below)

Let bread crumbs dry overnight covered with a kitchen towel or 1 hour in 250 degree oven. Combine with suet, flour, baking powder, spices and brown sugar. Stir in raisins, currants, almonds, apple and the peels. Combine eggs, stout, barley wine and rum; add to dry mixture and mix well. (Traditionally, everyone takes a turn stirring and makes a wish.)

Pour into a 1-1/2 qt pudding basin. Cover with a double-layer of aluminum foil, then a kitchen towel. Tie securely with kitchen twine; tie towel cater-corner for a handle. Chill overnight.

Steam 8 hours on a rack over boiling water in a covered pot. (A 6 qt slow cooker on high works best, but allow another hour for heating the cooker.) Store 2 months in a cool place. (The pudding will be okay if made only a couple weeks, even mere days, ahead, but benefits from the long rest.)

To serve, reheat pudding by steaming 2 hours. (Leftovers reheat reasonably well by microwave.) Serve with dessert sauce.

Dessert Sauces:
Hard Sauce (Brandy Butter): Cream 1 c (1/2 lb) softened butter with 3/4 c dark brown sugar. Beat in 5 tbsp brandy and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Chill covered overnight to several weeks.
Whipped Cream: Whip 1 c heavy cream with 3 tbsp sugar until stiff. If desired, whip in 2 tbsp brandy, rum or other spirits.

Fluffy Sauce: Cream 1/2 c (1/4 lb) softened butter with 2 c powdered sugar, 1 lg egg yolk and 1 tsp vanilla extract. If desired, whip in 2 tbsp brandy, rum, etc. Beat egg white with 1/8 tsp cream of tartar until stiff; fold gently but thoroughly into butter mixture. Chill well.

Rum Cream Sauce: Beat 2 lg eggs with 2 tbsp rum and 2 tsp lemon juice; cook until thickened slightly. Beat in 8 tbsp softened butter, 1 tbsp at a time; whip until fluffy. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with crushed ice and water; stir egg mixture occasionally until well chilled. Whip 1/2 c heavy cream with 1 tbsp sugar; fold into egg mixture. Chill several hours; stir gently just before serving.

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