Friday, December 23, 2011

Xmas Post :: Calico Lane - The Christmas Pudding

Guest Blogger - Calico Lane


The Christmas Pudding is kind of a big deal in my family. It is carried, reverently and aflame with brandy flame into the dining room after our huge Christmas lunch, ready to be smothered in custard, complimented and devoured.

Over the past four years or so, the preparation of The Pudding has become my job. I take it very seriously and use the same recipe that my mum has used since she was married; from The Australian Women’s Weekly in 1974. I have a photocopy of the recipe that was ripped out of the magazine, well stained and dog-eared from over thirty years of Christmas cooking.

The thing is, is that it is dead easy to make. But don’t tell anyone. It’s nice to impress people with a rich, fruity, moist pudding, and let them gush over what a wonderful job you have done.

Firstly, gather up all your dry ingredients. Yep, there’s carrot in it. Just trust me. It will be ok.

Also, did you know it’s much easier to cut prunes up with kitchen scissors than a knife? Awesome kitchen tip of the day.

Sift your flour and spices together, then add those to the fruit and stuff.

Gather your wet ingredients. Melt the butter and add it to the rest of the liquids. It’s best to let the butter cool a little first so you don’t end up scrambling your eggs.

Then dump the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. You’ll need some muscles for this bit. You can be ruthless with the mixture – you can’t overmix this! It’s considered good luck for everyone in the house to have a mix of the pudding. Hubby does this under much duress.

Once mixed (by everyone) you can pour the mixture into greased pudding basins. This mixture makes either one big and one little pudding, or two medium puddings (or one super large pudding!)

Now the tricky part (i.e. where I wish I had four hands). If you’re using a regular pudding basin, you need to tightly cover the basin so that the pudding steams and cooks. Cut a circle of baking paper and a circle of foil quite a bit bigger than the top of the basin. We always fold a little pleat in ours to allow for steam, but I’m pretty sure you could get away with not doing that!

Put the two circles together, and with the baking paper on the inside (yes, I did it wrong) fold the edges over the edge of the basin. Take a long length of kitchen string and tie a loop in it like a noose. Lasoo the basin and pull the loop tight, securing the edges of the foil. Tie securely and then tie the string at the other side of the basin forming a loop with which to lift the pudding in and out of the water.

If you have a pudding steamer with a lid, easy! Pop the lid on and lock it.

Place your pudding on an upturned saucer in the bottom of a big pot and fill the pot with boiling water so that the water comes about two thirds up the side of the basin. Replace the lid of the pot and boil gently. A big pudding takes 4-5 hours and a small one about 3 hours. Keep an eye on the water and refill it if it starts to get a bit low.

These puddings will keep for a very long time! To help preserve them and make them even yummier, poke some holes in the pudding with a skewer and pour some brandy over the top every now and then. I’ve kept puddings for years – they really do improve with time.

When you are ready to serve, boil the pudding in the basin for another hour or so to warm it through. Turn it out of the basin onto a serving plate. Pour over brandy and light at your own risk! Have the custard and cream ready and fill yourself with pure Christmas joy!

And remember, not a word about how easy it was to make!

Christmas Pudding recipe {adapted from a recipe in The Australian Womens Weekly 1974}

375g seeded raisins, chopped
375g sultanas
250g currants
185g prunes, chopped
90g slivered almonds
grated rind of one lemon
one large carrot, grated
250g soft white breadcrumbs
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
4 eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup brandy
½ cup stout
250g butter, melted

1. Grease pudding basins. Mix together the raisins, sultanas, currants, prunes, lemon rind, almonds, grated carrot, breadcrumbs and sugar.

2. Sift the flour with the salt, nutmeg and mixed spice and add to the dry ingredients. Lightly beat the eggs and add the milk, brandy, stout and melted butter.

3. Fill the prepared basin(s), leaving a space of about 1cm at the top. Cut a round of baking paper and foil and place of the top of the basin. Tie securely with string, leaving a large loop with which to lift the basin in and out of the boiling water.

4. Place an upturned saucer in the bottom of a large saucepan half filled with boiling water. Carefully place the pudding basin in the pan, making sure the water comes two-thirds up the sides of the basin. Replace the lid on the pan and gently boil for 4-5 hours for a large pudding and 3 hours for a small. As the water boils away replace it with more boiling water. The day the pudding is to be served, boil it for a further 1-2 hours.

1 comment:

  1. oh thank god! I have been looking for a new recipe. This year was the inaugural year for the family pud and well the recipe lacked a lot! So next year I will give yours a try! Thanks for the tip off!! :) x


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