I recently had the joy to spend a little over two weeks in England with a dear friend. Feeling a bit "home away from home." as England has adopted my heart. Putting my hands to the baking plow often is a therapeutic exercise. What better way to share with your own family the depth of relationship you felt than to celebrate a festive treasure from England. Brandy and a match made a brilliant showing with a Flaming pudding on Christmas Eve. The investment is well worth it. This merrie-ful treasure is worth the time contribution like our Champagne Cake. Try them both.
We found many of the dried fruits at our local organic trader store which saved a penny or two. A bit of brandy around the house serves this "couples" baking project making for a fun holiday date. I used the steaming time to wrap presents and enjoy all the twinkle lights in the house. Credit for the "original" recipe goes to Mary Berry from the BBC food channel. Don't you just love the Great British Bake-off! I'm enjoying honing a new skill with the best of them. Never let your pallet get bored. Families are the best guinea pigs.
Enjoy, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year.
Preparation time 1-2 hours
Cooking/Steaming time 8 hours
Re-heat to serve steaming 2 hours
Serves 8-10 small portions
I used from this side of the pond:
Oven roaster for steaming:
fill with water and 1/2 cup vinegar to keep hard water mark building up.
Pudding basin 2 1/2 pint. My small Pyrex oven bowl worked well next to my Mason Cash pudding basin I brought home in my carry-on luggage.
String, Parchment paper,Foil, kitchen scale
Ingredients for pudding:
450g/1 lb. dried mixed fruit chopped/snippet
(I use sultanas, raisins, apricots, sour cherries.)
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 orange, finely grate rind and juice
3 Tablespoons brandy, sherry or rum, plus extra for flaming, But who's measuring...
75 grams/3 oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
100 g./3 1@ oz light muscovado sugar (soft light brown sugar)
120 g/1/12 cup self-rising flour. I used all purpose
(I altered the recipe here)
1/2 cup Guinness beer, pour into measuring cup, add good pinch of baking soda, pinch of salt, stir
1 teaspoon mixed spice ( 1 tsp. Cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. Fresh ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground clove
40 g./1 1/2 oz fresh white breadcrumbs. (about 4 slices)
40 g/1 1/2 oz whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
For the brandy butter
100 g/3 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
225 g/8 oz icing sugar, sieved (powder sugar)
3 Tablespoon brandy, rum or cognac (I used brandy)
To Serve 4 Tablespoons brandy for flaming
Measure the dried snippet fruit and apple into a bowl with the orange juice. Add 3 Tablespoon. Brandy, stir and leave to marinate for about one hour.
Cream butter, sugar, and grated orange rind into a large bowl until light and fluffy (I used my kitchen aid mixer)
Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the measured flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
Sift together the flour and mixed spices, then fold into the creamed mixture with the breadcrumbs and the nuts. Alternating portions, add soaked dried fruits with juice,
Guinness, and stir well.
Generously butter a 2 1/2 pint pudding basin or small pyrex oven proof bowl. Cut a small disc of foil or baking parchment and press into the greased base of the basin. Grease again.
Spoon into the prepared pudding basin and press the mixture down with the back of a spoon to dislodge air pockets. Cover the pudding with a layer of baking parchment paper and foil, both pleated across the middle to allow for expansions of pudding. Tie securely with string and trim off excess paper and foil with scissors.
To steam, put the pudding in the top of a steamer (oven roaster set to 400 degrees) filled with simmering water, cover with lid and steam for seven hours, topping up the water as necessary. (Turn down oven roaster to 300 degrees after the pudding reaches a boil.) Lower pudding into steaming water with care. (I had a kettle hot on the stove to top off my water) Make sure the water covers 3/4 of the basin at all times. Cover with lid and check frequently. Bring the water back to a boil. Turn down to simmer for about seven hours. Until pudding is wonderfully deep brown color.
Back to Steaming
When cooked thoroughly, remove pudding carefully from water and allow to cool completely. Discard the paper and foil. Poke with fork and dribble 2 Tbs brandy. More than once if you desire. Store in cool, dry place.
To serve on Christmas Day steam pudding for about two hours to re-heat. Turn the pudding onto a serving glass serving plate.
To flame, warm the brandy (I missed this key) in a small pan, pour over the hot pudding and set light to it. Serve with Brandy Butter. Happy Holidays
The History of Christmas Pudding
by Nate Barksdale History Channel
In America, Christmas Pudding (also known as plum pudding or figgy pudding) is a dish as famous as it is misunderstood. It’s the flaming center of the climactic meal of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and pops up in carols themselves: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” has two whole verses about demanding figgy pudding. But for the uninitiated, Christmas puddings are eyed with skepticism befitting a dish that can be accurately described as a cross between a fruitcake and a haggis, set on fire.
Christmas pudding has its roots in medieval English sausages, when fat, spices and fruits (the best preservatives of their day) were mixed with meats, grains and vegetables and packed into animal stomachs and intestines so they would keep as long as possible. The first records of plum puddings date to the early 15th century, when “plum pottage,” a savory concoction heavy on the meat and root vegetables, was served at the start of a meal. Then as now, the “plum” in plum pudding was a generic term for any dried fruit—most commonly raisins and currants, with prunes and other dried, preserved or candied fruit added when available. By the end of the 16th century, dried fruit was more plentiful in England and plum pudding made the shift from savory to sweet. The development of the pudding cloth—a floured piece of fabric that could hold and preserve a pudding of any size—further freed the pudding from dependence on animal products (but not entirely: suet, the fat found around beef and mutton kidneys, has always been a key ingredient). Read more
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