Ever experience the simple joy of finding a piece of treasure in your Christmas pudding? I can remember the excitement around the table when we kids sat waiting for our slice of just steamed pudding to hit the spot on the placemat before us. That triumphant yell when either the spoon or your teeth found a hidden tickey or sixpence in your plate of pud. I can remember the excitement building up when I watched my mom boil the coins prior to mixing them into the pudding mixture. What fun! Those blissful days of childhood when simple pleasures were so thrilling. I do miss those days.
Today is the last Sunday before the Advent period on the Christian Christmas Calendar and traditionally in the old days the Christmas pudding was mixed on this day. It was (still is in many homes) known as “Stir-Up Sunday” and all the members of the family would have a chance to stir the pudding mixture and make a wish! You can read more about this event here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stir-up_Sunday Traditional Christmas puddings contain 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his 12 disciples and are always stirred from East to West to represent the Magi who visited the baby Jesus.
I have been commissioned to write some blog posts for ClemenGold, including a series of Christmas recipes and posts so I thought I would share these with you here as well.
I would like to encourage you to try and make your own Christmas Pudding this year if you have never made one before. Start a new tradition in your own family! It is really simple to make, just time consuming so make sure you have enough time to be around to allow it to steam when you make it. I like to make mine at least a week before Christmas and then just reheat it on the day! There are many recipes out there, some fancier than others and containing suet, breadcrumbs, eggs and glace fruit. This eggless recipe, the one that I grew up with and which my mum grew up with, is a simple, easy recipe that does not contain too many ingredients. In fact I have pimped the original recipe a bit over the years (something I always do) and have made it my own with the addition of some stunning spices and, of course, citrus! It is a beautiful sight when dressed up with some holly leaves and berries and silver dragees. You can also light your pudding at the table or bring it through flaming from the kitchen…just warm a ladle of brandy or rum, pour it over the pudding and set it alight for the alcohol to burn off!
COLLEENS STEAMED CHRISTMAS PUDDING AND SAUCE
(requires standing overnight before steaming)
Serves 6 – 8
300g (2 cups) Dried Fruit Cake Mix
280g (2 cups) Cake Flour
200g (1 cup) Granulated White Sugar
200ml ( ¾ cup)Glace Cherries – use the red and the green if you can!
brandy (optional) about 50ml
15ml (1 tbs) Butter
10ml (2 tsp) Bicarbonate of Soda
2,5ml ( ½ tsp) Allspice
5ml (1 tsp) Mixed Spice
1ml ( ¼ tsp) Finely grated Nutmeg (I only use the whole Nutmeg, it’s fresher!)
1 ClemenGold – finely grated zest and the juice (or use ½ an orange)
1ml (¼ tsp)pinch salt
50 g Walnuts – chopped (nuts are optional)
Squeeze the ClemenGold juice into a measuring jug, add the brandy if using and fill up to 250ml (1 cup) mark with the boiling water
Dissolve the butter in the hot water mixture
Dissolve the Bicarbonate of Soda in 250ml (1 Cup) cold water
Sift flour, salt and spices together in a large mixing bowl
Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients (excepting for the nuts)
Add the melted butter liquid
Add the bicarbonate of soda liquid
Stir all together well with a wooden spoon then covered with a lid or cloth (tin foil will also do) and stand it overnight. It looks very insipid at this stage!
Next morning butter well and dust with flour the bottom and sides of 1 large or 2 smaller heat proof pudding dishes.
If you have a traditional pudding steamer by all means use it as instructed! I have a beautiful steamer with quite a story attached. I inherited the original from my mom when she gave up her home and she inherited it from her mom who inherited it from my great grandma. This Quick Cooker bowl, I was told, came across to our shores on board ship with the 1820 settlers. I could never verify the story but it was certainly a very old bowl that I treasured and used once a year only to steam our Christmas pudding as my mom and grandmother had done when I was growing up. Some years ago it was broken irreparably, by someone who shall remain nameless, and I was heartbroken. I cried for about a week! I searched and searched the internet and managed to find one that looked the same on the Lakeland website. A couple of months later my kids, who were living in the UK at the time, bought the bowl and presented it to me for Mother’s Day when I went over to visit them. I was thrilled and I treasure it, although I do use it more often in the winter these days to make steamed puds. It is a bit different, the ceramic is definitely thinner and the bowl is about half the size of my moms one and there are some little differences that I really miss, like the little middle cylinder that protruded right through the lid by about an inch and which you could wrap the string around when you tied it. The instructions are still printed on the lid as to how to tie it but there is nothing to loop it around anymore. I sadly don’t have a photo of the original but here is the one that I have treasured and made new memories with for the past 10 years….
Add the chopped walnuts to the pudding mixture and stir well
Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared pudding dishes – do not fill more than 2/3 full
Take a double layer of tin foil and make a fold down the centre then grease the one side with butter and place over top of pudding bowls (butter side underneath) and tie very tightly with string. Make an extra loop of string over the tops of the bowls to act as handles
Place pudding bowls onto inverted saucers in large saucepans and fill with boiling water to go a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls. No more water than this as you do not want a soggy pudding!
Steam, covered, for about 3 hours (Replenish water as needed with boiling water from kettle)
Remove from saucepan and allow to cool for about 20 minutes then remove foil, turn over onto a plate and serve with sauce and cream, custard or ice cream.
If making in advance then allow to cool completely before wrapping in foil until Christmas day. Heat it up, wrapped in the foil, in a preheated oven at 180oC until heated through
Remove from foil and cut into slices. Serve with the sauce and a dollop of clotted cream
The brandy must be used to replace some of the hot water if you make this long beforehand!
1 cup White Granulated Sugar
1 ½ c Hot Water
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 ClemenGold (or orange)
6 Whole Cloves
5ml (1 tsp) Butter
¼ cup Brandy (optional)
2 tsp Custard Powder (not the instant custard powder, the old fashioned type)
A little Milk
2,5ml Vanilla Extract
Boil water, juice, sugar and cloves together for 5 minutes in a small saucepan
Stir in butter and brandy
Mix custard with just enough milk to mix to a thin paste
Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the custard
Return pan to heat and bring back to boil while stirring to just thicken
Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract and allow to cool a bit before using
Remove cloves just before you serve
Can be stored, covered, in the fridge for a couple of days before using!
Happy stirring it up!
Where is my head at? I must have been looking at last years calendar or something…Stir-Up Sunday was LAST week Sunday as yesterday was actually Advent Sunday! My apologies if that confused everyone…. Heck what am I saying, I confused myself! 🙂 Next year I shall see that I get it all right! But don’t let that stop you from trying out my delicious steamed Christmas pud. It is a winner! Thank you Michael for straightening that out for me. What are friends for? 😉 xx