Friday, 16 December 2011

Perfect Pudding

Did you miss Stir Up Sunday (and no, for my children's benefit, that is NOT the day you can torment each other without getting shouted at). The last Sunday before Advent, it's the traditional day for making Christmas pudding. It's a lovely tradition where everyone gets a go at stirring the mixture and making a wish.

Don't worry if you missed it, as this recipe doesn't need to be made until 1-2 weeks before Christmas. One year I was a bit apathetic about it all and didn't make them until a few days before and they were the best I'd ever made. It may have been due to the fact that I soaked my fruit for a week, topping it up with whatever bottle was handy (port, dark rum, and brandy). My kitchen smelled lovely.

My mum passed me this recipe. It's from a 1950s Sunbeam mixer cookbook and is lovely and light compared with traditional puddings. I gave a spare pudding to a friend  who hadn't had time to make her normal pudding one year, and now she and her family are converts. The notes at the bottom are from my mum, who is a seasoned pudding professional.


N.B.  This pudding is best made 7 to 14 days before required for use

250g butter or margarine
250g brown sugar
5 eggs
250g raisins
250g sultanas
125g currants
60g preserved figs
60g almonds
60g dates
60g cherries
3 tablespoons rum or sherry
185g plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
185g soft breadcrumbs

Beat butter or margarine on low speed until soft

Add sugar and beat until creamy on medium-high speed

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat evenly through

Add prepared fruits and spirit alternatively with sifted flour, spice, soda and breadcrumbs on lowest speed

Place mixture into greased pudding basin and seal securely with foil and kitchen string (or use metal pudding basins with their own clamped lids).

Boil for four hours and for two hours on the day of reheating.

Serve with hard or brandy sauce and/or custard

This is the old Sunbeam Mixmaster recipe from the 1950s book, and I’ve converted the weights from imperial to metric.  I vary it according to whim; e.g. I don’t like preserved figs so I add more cherries instead and I also put in more almonds than the recipe call for.  I soak the fruit in rum (3 tbs? yeah, right… like that’s going to be enough to even taste!) overnight in a bowl tightly covered with cling wrap. If you don’t have a pudding basin or two with their own lids, be sure to seal the foil as tightly as possible with the string tie.  Make a string handle so that you can lift it out.  It’s a good idea to sit the bowl on an upturned saucer or similar so that the bottom does not burn if the water gets too low.

Margaret Fulton has recipes for custard sauce, brandy sauce and hard sauce