I’m not British, however I’m focused on a few of their Christmas traditions. Essentially the most fascinating one for me is the Christmas pudding. Making needs when you stir a cake fabricated from bread crumbs, liquor, eggs, and dried fruit, steaming it, after which setting it on fireplace 5 weeks later—now that is an occasion. Someplace Jesus might be concerned, however I can not be bothered with that. This 12 months, I’m making a Christmas pudding, and I’d love so that you can be a part of me. Welcome to the primary installment of my six-part Christmas Pudding Chronicles.
I do know, Thanksgiving hasn’t even occurred but, so why write a couple of Christmas pudding now? Nicely, a part of the fantastic weirdness of this mahogany-hued dessert is that it’s historically made on the final Sunday earlier than introduction. In heathen phrases, that’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving (or 5 Sundays earlier than Christmas, if that helps). It’s not made prematurely for social gathering prepping, and it’s not frozen. It’s simply saved at room temperature for a really very long time, and optionally will get anointed with brandy as soon as every week. I’ve determined to name this course of “curing the cake,” however we’ll cross that pond later. Usually the pudding is made on Sunday, which implies weekly care occurs on Sundays, however so as to procure the elements, take a look at the weekly steps, and let you know my observations, I believe now could be the perfect time to start out. On Saturdays, I’ll let you know about what I did, and the instruments or elements I wanted, and you’ll care for your pudding on Sundays.
Why make a Christmas Pudding?
I’ve a penchant for pursuing desserts which can be uncommon to me. It’s half culinary curiosity, and half thrill with out a lot threat. The worst factor that may occur is I waste time on one thing that tastes horrible. The very best factor is that I fall in love with the meals and the method, possibly discovering a brand new vacation custom for me and my family. I’m not repulsed by dried fruit, so the chances are in my favor.
How do you do it?
Christmas pudding (additionally known as plum pudding, or figgy pudding) is a course of, and that’s a part of the enjoyable. You combine it up and steam it on “Stir-up Sunday,” which shall be subsequent Sunday (after Thanksgiving). You then retailer it. That is fairly inactive in fact, however I plan on doing the optionally available “feeding.” As soon as every week, I’ll feed my pudding just a few tablespoons of brandy. Apart from the minor pleasure of taking good care of a pet pudding, this could add taste and moisture to the cake, and permit me to test in on the way it’s curing. When Christmas lastly reveals up, the pudding is steamed once more to warmth it via. Then it is handled with a momentous brandy flambé for serving.
Week 1: Soak the fruit
Since I don’t have a household recipe to go by, I’m utilizing Nigella Lawson’s Final Christmas Pudding as my North Star. She’s a British particular person, for one factor. I respect her consuming type in addition to her strategy to cooking, and I belief her to feed me. She looks as if the kind of one who would crush a complete cheesecake with me, after which we’d “want one thing salty.”
In her recipe, she suggests soaking the dried fruit in a single day, or for as much as every week. We’ll be soaking a mix of currants, sultanas, and prunes in sherry. Her recipe is listed in grams, however I’ve additionally included cup measurements when you don’t have a scale (however it is best to actually get one). I discovered all of my dried fruit within the native ShopRite. Sultanas are normally labeled as golden raisins in america, or generally “sultana raisins.”
I did have some hassle finding Pedro Ximenez sherry, which particularly makes use of the eponymous grape. The liquor retailer in my a part of Brooklyn carries a single sherry, in order that’s the one I used. Since I’ll be feeding my pudding brandy later, I determine I’ll splurge on a top quality brandy for subsequent week. For those who do not partake in alcohol, you possibly can nonetheless have a nice pudding. Substitute the booze for an equal quantity of any fruit juice you want.
150 grams (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) currants
150 grams (1 cup) golden raisins
150 grams (1 cup) roughly chopped prunes
175 mL (¾ cup) Pedro Ximenez sherry (for a non-alcoholic substitute, use juice)
Chop the prunes into quarters, and blend them with the opposite elements in a container, or a zip-top bag. Cowl the container and set it apart in a single day or as much as every week.
I’ve been stirring my fruit as soon as a day, and I’ll proceed doing that till I’m prepared for “Stir-up Sunday.” Technically, that’ll be Wednesday or Thursday for me, however when you’re taking good care of enterprise the standard method, soak your fruit a bit earlier than subsequent Sunday.
Subsequent week’s version of Christmas Pudding Chronicles is steaming day. I do know I’ll want an enormous vast pot with a lid, some foil, and a bowl that may maintain about six cups of batter. I’ll clue you in on what works and what’s awkward. Till then, get soaking.