Being here at McMaster on exchange from the UK, I thought I’d write a recipe for a traditional festive dessert in England, the Christmas pudding. This plum pudding only formed connections with Christmas when it was introduced to the Victorians by Prince Albert. An important English tradition is to bury a silver coin in the mixture and whoever finds it in their portion is said to have good fortune for the rest of the year. The pudding should be made on the Sunday before advent, also known as “Stir Up Sunday” as the flavours develop over a few weeks (though two-three weeks before is also fine!)
Ingredients you will need:
– 50g plain flour
– 2 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon of ground mixed spice
– ½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
– ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
– 50g of shredded beef suet
– 50g fresh breadcrumbs
– 50g of soft light brown sugar
– 175g of raisins
– 175g of sultanas
– 1 apple, grated
– 1 carrot, peeled and grated
– 25g of blanched almonds, chopped
– 25g of mixed candied peel, finely chopped
– The grated rind and juice of ½ a lemon
– The grated rind of ½ an orange
– 2 teaspoons of treacle
– 65ml of barley wine
– 2 tablespoon of rum
1. You should ideally start the day before you want to steam the pudding. Mix together the suet, sifted flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar very well. You should then gradually mix in all of the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts, followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests.
2. Next, in a smaller bowl you should measure out the rum and barley wine, adding the eggs and beating these thoroughly together. You should then pour this mixture over all of the other ingredients and mix well. This is when you would add the silver coin and make a wish! The mixture should fall instantly from the spoon when tapped against the bowl for the right consistency. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
3. On the next day, spoon the mixture into a lightly greased pudding basin, cover it with pleated greaseproof paper and foil, and then secure it with string. Place the basin in a large saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours.
4. When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold before removing the steam papers and foil, and then replace them with fresh ones. The pudding is now made and should be kept in a cool place until Christmas day.
5. To cook, re-steam the pudding on a gentle simmer for 2 hours.
6. To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Turn it out on to a plate and to further enhance the taste, you should heat a ladle of brandy, set it alight and then gently pour over the Christmas pudding. Watch it flame and once this had died down, dust with icing sugar and a holly berry. Serve with brandy butter, fresh cream or custard.