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jackal10

Christmas Pudding: Tips & Techniques

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Deer, deer, deer...

Now, we're all waiting, feet tapping, to see what you'll come up with to remain on topic and in the spirit of the season. Winter Solstice today (6:35 pm GMT), Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Boxing Day, The Feast of St. Stephen...

Gifted Gourmet just reminded me of the importance of oil in frying desserts for the Festival of Lights (thank you, Melissa), so maybe you could do something related to that holiday culinary theme?


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I am passing on the recipe my stepmother uses. It's from a cookery book that came with her first stove (10th edition, 1960).

CHRISTMAS PUDDING

8 oz currants

" raisins

" yellow raisins

2 oz peel or 1/3 of that of marmalade

8 oz shredded suet

3 eggs

1/2 wineglass rum or brandy

1/2 oz mixed spice (??)

8 oz flour

8 oz breadcrumbs

4 oz sugar

1 1/2 oz almonds

Juice of one lemon

1/2 t grated nutmeg

" salt

Sift dry ingredients.

Prep fruit and mix in.

Beat eggs & mix them with fruits, etc.

Stir in the rum or brandy.

Mix well until thoroughly blended.

Fill greased basin 3/4 full & cover with greased paper.

Boil 6 hours.

I will have to do this without nuts, but I'd welcome any opinions about dark beer vs. brandy, the inclusion of flour here that isn't in recipes supplied above, or anything else that experienced pudding makers might wish to share.

I like the idea of respecting the plum pudding origins, so I think I'll omit the regular raisins and include prunes, figs and maybe a few dates, apricots, dried tart cherries...

I am not fond of glace' fruits, so I would probably want to go with zest from fresh orange.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Leave out the flour for a lighter pudding

No figs (figgy pudding is something else)

Beer AND brandy (soak the fruit in the brandy)

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My stepmother's is indeed very dense, so thanks for the advice.

Both figgy and plum puddings are traditional for Christmas & made the same way, right?

Is the difference merely due to the fruit used, such as the difference between a raspberry and strawberry tart?

Or are you saying the plum pudding is the true Xmas pud?


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Figgy pudding, as I understand it is usually served cold, more liek a tea bread.

Xmas pudding is hot, with brandy butter.

Good fried next day as well

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I'm supposed to make a sauce to go with a traditional British Christmas pudding (i.e. steamed plum pudding). Somebody else is supplying the pudding (I think from the Carved Angel) - I'll have to steam it, but I have a combi-oven so that should be easy.

I need suggestions for the sauce and/or other accompniments.

I think a brandy sauce is traditional, but I don't have a recipe. I'm open to other kinds of sauce as well. Whipped cream or Mascarpone might be worthwhile accompniments.

Please make suggestions....


Nathan

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I think a brandy sauce is traditional, but I don't have a recipe. 

I rather like this sauce and use it for a recipe for pain perdu from New Orleans:

Brandy/cognac hard sauce

1/2 pound unsalted butter

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 large egg yolk

4 tablespoons heavy cream

4-5 tablespoons cognac

Beat together the butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth and creamy.

Beat in egg yolk, cream, and cognac and then serve immediately.

This is incredible .. hope you'll try it! :wink:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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The hard sauce as posted by Melissa is traditional and good. You could also try an anglaise with brandy, rum, or some other liquor.

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Egg???

Hard Sauce/ Brandy butter

Whizz together

4oz/125g unsalted butter

4oz/125g sugar

grated rind and juice of a lemon

4 tbs brandy or rum

grated nutmeg

Good on toast as well.

I also like thick cream or brandy custard.

Some serve a rather disgusting white flour based brandy sauce that is meant to look like snow.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database...auce_2534.shtml


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Lemon sauce (lower fat)

1.5 tbs cornstarch or arrowroot

1 Cup water

1/2 C sugar

2 Tbs cognac

3 Tbs lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon (about 1.5 tbs)

2 Tbs butter

nutmeg

bring starch, sugar, water to boil, stirring constantly, and cook 2-3 min

Stir in cognac, lemon juice, zest

Off heat , whisk in butter & nutmeg

Serve warm


He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau

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Firstly, one steams the pudding on the stove top. Place in a large pot and fill about halfway up with water. Cover and steam for 2-3 hours. Check occaissionally and add more water as needed.

As for sauce, creme anglaise (or soft custard) is really nice on Xmas pudding and very traditional as well. Hard sauce is awfully sweet, and the pudding is sweet.

When you flame it, you need about a cup of brandy--the pudding absorbs a lot of it. Light a single ladle full and pour over the pudding, then continue to gently ladle the remaining brandy over the pudding.


S. Cue

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As far as I know there are 2 tradtional sauces, the hard brandy sauce or the custard based brandy sauce, it is personal preference and people have very strong oponions on this I for instance love christmas pud with runny brandy sauce but hate the hard variety. If you are making this for a gathering including brits I would make both then you can please every one.

Christmas puds can be microwaved very succesfully and with a lot less fuss than the tradtional steaming.

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The currants I ordered arrived today, and since I also have suet (two rare and precious ingredients in Japan), I'm about to make Christmas pudding.

I recall that my grandmother never pre-soaked fruit for Christmas pudding, although she did for Christmas cake. She did use a grated apple with the dried fruit for the pudding, however.

Anybody care to comment on the pros or cons of soaking dried fruit for Christmas pudding in stout, brandy, grated apple/lemon juice, tea, or what have you?

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Unless I am going to be baking a fruitcake for a long time to drive out the alcohol, I can't use it to soak dried fruit because I am allergic to alcohol.

I have found that steaming the dried fruit plumps it nicely without making it so wet it sinks to the bottom in steamed puddings. Try it with a small amount and see how you like the texture. For small fruits I steam them for about 8 minutes, for something like apricot halves 15 minutes and for dried pineapple slices, mango or papaya slices, it takes about 25 minutes.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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A Christmas pudding is very much like a black cake -- I use very good port and dark rum. I've also soaked fruit in Grand Marnier to excellent effect.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I'm gearing up for making Christmas Puddings. I have one large basin and four smaller ones, which I need to steam for about 8 hours. Rather than do it in two batches, can this be done in the oven? I was considering using a baking tray 1/4 filled with water, a trivet, placing the basins on top, then baking at 120C. It's a fan oven.

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I've cooked puddings like this before but the recipe had you cover the whole tray with a large sheet of thick aluminium foil so that the steam stayed inside the 'package' as much as possible.

It worked fine but took a lot longer than when I use an electric steamer. It could have been my oven was not at the right temperature.

good luck

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My mum always steams hers in the pressure cooker, and they come out stupendously good.

I don't have her recipe to hand, but I can ask for it - the only thing I remember is that it has absolutely no sugar (and no, not a carrot in sight), the sweetness comes from all the fruit, and there's plenty of alcohol in there. No beer, but does have flour, and definitely suet.

Not sure whether any of that helps ...


One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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I am hoping someone has done Christmas Pudding for 100 people? Maybe an updated version minus the suet. I was thinking I could steam them in a 200 pan covered, and them into cut rounds for service. Any recipes, pointers,and tips would be appreciated.

Thank-you


Edited by gbbaker (log)

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I am working on Julia Child’s “A Glorious Plum Pudding For Christmas” from The Way to Cook. I think I have the steamed pudding part down pat now.

I snuck some plums into this no-plum plum pudding by substituting them for black raisins (she calls for 1 cup each of black raisins, yellow raisins and currants). Otherwise I did as told, well almost. I used Panko crumbs instead of homemade white bread crumbs. And I added some cardamom. Yum.

But I am not happy with her Zabaione sauce. It seems awfully harsh and alcoholic (it has 1/3 cup each of rum and dry Vermouth). Does anyone have an idea for a more elegant sauce for plum pudding?

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I am working on Julia Child’s “A Glorious Plum Pudding For Christmas” from The Way to Cook. I think I have the steamed pudding part down pat now. 

I snuck some plums into this no-plum plum pudding by substituting them for black raisins (she calls for 1 cup each of black raisins,  yellow raisins and currants).  Otherwise I did as told, well almost. I used Panko crumbs instead of homemade white bread crumbs. And I added some cardamom. Yum. 

But I am not happy with her Zabaione sauce.  It seems awfully harsh and alcoholic (it has 1/3 cup each of rum and dry Vermouth).  Does anyone have an idea for a more elegant sauce for plum pudding?

In England, brandy butter is often served on warm plum pudding. And tastes very, very nice.

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Isn't Zabaglione usually made with a sweet wine like Marsala? Seems like you'd need to cook down the rum in Julia's recipe quite a bit to tone it down.

mzrb's suggestion sounds good, to which I would add a classic hard sauce. Both may be too harsh, though, if you don't care for strong alcohol.

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My family always preferredd a sweet sherry custard - actually made with gently reduced eggnog which had sweet sherry to taste added when it had reached the desired thickness (like that of fairly thick milk gravy).

If you want to try this, I recommend you try to find Savory & James cream sherry.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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