Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Traditional Christmas Pudding
First Sunday of Advent---Stir-Up Sunday also has an earthier meaning: it is the time to stir up the signature Christmas dessert, the pudding (which takes weeks to mature before reaching its peak). The process of making a traditional Christmas pudding has come to abound in allegory and harmless superstition. It should be stirred from East to West, it is said, to commemorate the journey of the Magi; it should have thirteen ingredients in honor of Christ and His Apostles; and every member of the family and guest should stir the pudding while secretly making a wish. Finally, the stirring represents the arousal of our hearts for the Lord’s coming, while the richness of the pudding represents the good things that He brings with Him from Heaven. There is even a little poem to accompany the task:
Stir up, we beseech thee,
The pudding in the pot;
And when we get home
We’ll eat the lot.

Christmas pudding may also include any number of good luck tokens, such as a coin for prosperity, a thimble for luck (or spinsterhood!), and a ring for marriage, with each of these blessings going to the person who finds the relevant object in their share (just make certain to tell everyone to look for it so that no one will choke on their new destiny). The pudding is usually presented to the family at the end of Christmas dinner with great fanfare, such as dousing it with warm brandy and setting it ablaze, where it is then consumed with zest.
1½ lbs. raisins (regular)
1¾ lbs. currants
1 lb. sultanas (golden Raisins)
2 lbs. sugar
2 lbs. bread crumbs
1 oz. cinnamon
6 oz. finely cut citron
grated rind of 2 lemons
1 oz. ground nutmeg
½ oz. ground bitter almonds
2 lbs. finely chopped suet (go to a good Butcher and get some good and fresh Suet please)
16 eggs
¼ pt. brandy, 2 tablespoons dark rum, and 2.5 oz of Stout

1 cup brandy (for the flambé)

Day 1 Chop the raisins but do not grind them. Wash and dry the currants. To the fruits add all the dry ingredients and the suet together, and moisten with the well-beaten eggs and the brandy. Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out. This is where it is traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish. The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Day 2 Pack the mixture into the lightly greased pudding mold, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string. It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours. Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time.
When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier maneuvering. Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. Under the bed in an unheated bedroom is an ideal place.

To re-heat, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2 hours. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.

To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top. Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it. Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don't pour it over until you reach the table. When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheers of the assembled company! When both flames and cheers have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce, or rum or brandy butter.

Brandy Butter
6 tablespoons of brandy
6 oz of unsalted butter at room temperature
6 oz of dark brown sugar, softened
Use mixer and add the brandy slowly. When the right taste and consistency put in tight container and it will last two weeks in the fridge. Always serve cold.

Warm Rum Sauce
Place 2½ oz of the butter in a saucepan with 2½ oz flour, pour in the milk, then, using a whisk, beat everything vigorously together over a medium heat. As soon as it comes to simmering point and has thickened, turn the heat to its lowest setting, stir in the sugar and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes. Add the rum, the remaining ½ oz butter and 1 tablespoon cream. Pour the hot sauce into a serving picture, cover the surface with plastic wrap and keep warm until served.
3 (or more) tablespoons dark rum
3 oz butter
2½ oz plain flour
1 pint whole milk
2 oz superfine sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream

This is great fun for the whole family. Let me know if you try it, and how it works out!

Daniel Vinzant
Coppell--old family recipe
Feast of St. Nicholas


Anonymous said...

If you ωould lіkе to take a gooԁ deal from this
ρarаgrаph then you hаve tο aρрly such methods
to youг won web sіtе.

My web ρage :: www.bucket--truck.com
Also visit my web blog - bucket truck safety

Anonymous said...

It's really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

my page; Bucket Trucks
my web page: used bucket truck

Anonymous said...

Hi, I ԁо think this is a great ѕіte.
I stumbledupοn it ;) Ι am goіng to сome back yet аgain since i havе bοοk-marκed it.

Mοney and fгeedom is the bеst wаy to сhаnge, mаy yοu be rich аnd contіnue to helρ other ρeople.

Alsο visit my web pagе ... www.locateabuckettruck.com