Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Pudding

I've made Christmas pudding once before, and really liked it, but the recipe makes an awful lot and it's usually only three of us.  Then I saw a comment on some site about making it in mason jars and realized I could do individual portions.

The last time I made it, I went strictly by the Bible's "Steamed Pudding".  This time, I went surfing for other opinions.  What I settled on was pretty close to Jamie Oliver's.  Hey, ask a British guy for a British recipe.  It's pretty much dried fruit stuck together with breadcrumbs.  I made a cake as backup in case my guests didn't like it, but they both finished theirs.  I noticed that his had some odd amounts for some ingredients and started doing the math.  It must have been converted at some point from pounds to metric, making it very easy to convert it back.  My version makes 1.5 quarts, which is slightly smaller than 1.5 liters, but it still serves 8, just slightly less in each serving.  No one is going to notice that they're having one or two fewer bites.

Since I couldn't find Golden Sauce at the last minute, I decided to make Hard Sauce and had to learn what that was.  Spiked frosting.  Really.  It does provide a wonderful creaminess if you hit a clump of ginger like I did halfway through my portion.

1 lb assorted dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, currants, apricots, blueberries, etc)
*3 Tb brandy
3/4 C chopped dates
3 Tb candied ginger, finely chopped
1/2 C butter, frozen, plus more for greasing containers
*zest of 1 orange
1 C flour
3/4 C sugar
3 C fresh breadcrumbs
*1/2 C sliced almonds or other chopped nut
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C milk

1.  If any of the fruits are larger than bite sized, like apricots, chop them smaller.  Grease one 1.5 quart domed bowl or 8 wide-mouthed pint jars with butter.  I found that the Ball brand jars greased better than the Kerr ones.  Not sure why.  Either set up steaming pots or get out a deep roasting pan for oven steaming.
2.  This step is cool.  Take the frozen stick of butter and run it through the large holes on a grater to make shredded butter.  I suppose you could use melted and cooled butter and it would work just the same.  I was just following the recipe.
3.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir until everything is evenly distributed and hydrated.  Either pour everything into the one bowl or pack into 8 jars.  This is the one time the metric came in handy, as I used the 200ml mark on the jars.  Cover the openings with parchment paper and screw down jar lids or tie around the rim with string.  The time I made this in a bowl, I used the press-and-seal type of plastic wrap.  That only works for stovetop steaming.  Don't put plastic wrap in the oven.
4.  Set bowl in a deep pot and fill with water almost to the rim.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover.  Steam for 3 hours, checking water level every so often.  Alternately, set oven to 325º.  Set roasting pan on oven shelf, then add jars.  Fill pan with boiling water and bake for the same 3 hours.  Check water level frequently.  Any part of the pudding that is above the water line will come out much darker and almost burnt.
5.  You can "decant" and serve the pudding immediately, or store it in its baking container and reheat when ready to serve.  I steamed them again while we were eating dinner, but the microwave seems to do just as well.  Serve with a dollop of hard sauce on top.

Hard Sauce

1/4 C butter
3/4 C powdered sugar
1 Tb (or a bit more) brandy

1.  Whip butter until soft.  Add powdered sugar gradually and whip until fluffy.  Add brandy and whip to incorporate.  Refrigerate when not using, but allow to come to room temperature to serve.

Serves 8

Difficulty rating  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I got tired of having to moderate all the spam comments and put back the verification. Sorry if it causes hassles.