Monday, 21 November 2011
Christmas Pudding Sunday
I use Delia Smiths Christmas pudding recipe in her christmas cookery book, which as I mentioned when I made my Christmas cake, is my bible when it comes to christmas cookery. I make a variety of sizes of Christmas puddings mostly for friends and family. I particularly like making individual puddings, which I wrap in muslin squares and tie with christmas ribbon and give as gifts to the Christmas pudding lovers amongst my friends.
I also love the tradition of getting everyone in the family to have a stir and make a wish. Whilst making the pudding mixture on Saturday we had friends over so my puddings had 9 lucky wish stirs. Lets hope all those wishes come true!
This year I am making less than usual because my parents are taking all of the family out for Christmas lunch so we don't need a pudding for the big day. It is quite a revelation only making one quantity of mixture and only one steaming . Usually I find myself steaming puddings from the minute I get up to the moment I go to bed on Christmas pudding day!
Below is Delia's recipe. The only tweaks I make are that I have never been able to get barley wine, so I always use extra stout instead and I don't like nuts in my pudding, so I omit the nuts and add extra dried fruit. If you want to make individual puddings this recipe makes 8 small ones using 8cm pudding basins.
My other tip is that you can steam christmas puds in a slow cooker, just fill the slow cooker with boiling water until the pudding is three quaters submerged. It takes 5hrs on high to slow cook the small individual puddings and 10 hours to steam a 2pt pudding.
Traditional Christmas Pudding
This recipe makes one large pudding in a 2 pint (1.2 litre) basin. If you have any left over it will re-heat beautifully, wrapped in foil, in the oven next day. If you want two smaller puddings, use two 1 pint (570 ml) basins, but give them the same steaming time. If you can't get barley wine (pubs usually have it), use extra stout instead.
4 oz (110 g) shredded suet
2 oz (50 g) self-raising flour, sifted
4 oz (110 g) white breadcrumbs
1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
good pinch ground cinnamon
8 oz (225 g) soft dark brown sugar
4 oz (110 g) sultanas
4 oz (110 g) raisins
10 oz (275 g) currants
1 oz (25 g) mixed candied peel, finely chopped (buy whole peel if possible, then chop it yourself)
1 oz (25 g) almonds, skinned and chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
grated zest ½ large orange
grated zest ½ large lemon
2 tablespoons rum
2½ fl oz (75 ml) barley wine
2½ fl oz (75 ml) stout
Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding. Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet, sifted flour and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out.
Now in a smaller basin measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together. Next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix very thoroughly. It's now 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.
Next day pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely around the lip with string (you really need to borrow someone's finger for this!). 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 manoeuvring. Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light.
As a Christmas pudding fan, I usually can't wait until christmas for my first taste of the pudding. I can confidently say that even without the maturing period these puddings taste divine!