This year I wanted to try something different and twist up my Christmas baking routine. Instead of ginger cookies and German zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), I went for Christmas pudding — a classic British Christmas sweet that dates back to the Victorian era.
I went online and watched a few YouTube videos (like this one here) and recipes that helped me figure things out. I actually made two Christmas puddings, and for the second one — that I’ll bring to my Uncle’s house on Christmas day — I strayed and made up my own version. Here’s the recipe — along with lots of photos to help you out (I find that helps if you’ve never made something before).
MARY’s XMAS PUDDING
- 1 cup dried chopped dates
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cup dried sultanas (raisins)
- (*** note any 3 1/2 cup mixture of dried fruit will work. You can use dried apricots, currants, raisins, dates, even figs)
- 1 cup sweet vermouth (the red kind)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup organic flour
- 1 cup golden sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 grated organic apple
- the zest of 1 organic lemon
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 2 sprinkles of nutmeg
Here’s how it’s done:
1) Mix the dried fruit together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the vermouth over it and mix with a wooden mixing spoon. Cover and let sit for 2 hours – 3 days. The fruit will take up the vermouth flavour (*** note you can also use brandy or rum instead of the vermouth, but just use less (1/2 – 3/4 cup) as it has a much stronger flavour).
2) Add the remaining ingredients to the dried fruit and mix batter well – it will resemble a cake batter. Grease a mold or pudding basin with butter – I used a cake pan that I bought at a flea market in France. It turned out to be the perfect size.
3) Pour the mixture into the greased mold and pat down lightly. Next, cut a round piece of waxed paper to cover the cake mold – leave about two inches over the sides – and grease it. Place it over the mold (greased side down so the pudding doesn’t stick to it) and then cover it with tin foil. Using a string, tie the foil so it is as air tight as possible and so no water can get in while the pudding steams.
4) Take a large pot (your mold needs to fit in when the lid is on the pot) and place a saucer upside down on the bottom of it to rest the cake mold on (the mold can not touch the bottom of the pot, or it will burn). Place the filled cake mold on it and fill it with water about 3/4 up the sides. Place the lid on and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer or very light boil (I left mine on setting “1”).
5) Simmer/ steam for 3 1/2 (3.5) hours with the lid on, checking to make sure there is enough water in the pot — at least half of the mold/ pudding basin should be covered. Let cool for at least 45 minutes, and then turn the mold over and tap until the pudding falls out. It should be the perfect shape of the mold you used and slide right out!
6) Enjoy — typically with brandy butter or egg nog cream or whiskey cream. I didn’t bother with a butter or cream — I like it enough on its own and I’ve never been one for icing or sweet sauces. That said, I do think a nice cream would marry well with this quintessential Christmas dessert!