This friend of ours (who held a party yesterday) had also prepared a Christmas Pudding. . . in July. He’s been maturing it and feeding it (yes, that’s what he called it) ever since, using his British great-grandmother’s recipe.
And then he set it on fire.
The truly peculiar thing is that I view Christmas Puddings with the same polite distaste as, say, dead house plants.
But I tasted a mouthful of fruity, nutty deliciousness (with brandy butter, naturally) and nearly fainted dead away. The thing was delicious. I then ate most of a slice, treating its location on CJ’s plate with cavalier disregard (and then I went and “helped clear up” the few fragments left on the serving plate).
Suddenly British Cuisine makes some kind of sense (under very specific circumstances).
I’ve asked the friend for the full recipe, and will be posting it here as soon as I get it.
Here it is – with his comments!
You can get all of the ingredients in Australia, the only problem one is the suet. You can NOT use the stuff from the supermarket as they mix it with flour, you will need to go to a good butchers and ask for suet, they will probably tell you to come back the next day for it. once you have it you need to put it in the freezer and grate off the quantity required.
You may well need to halve this one as it makes two large puds or 3 medium ones.
1/2 lb breadcrumbs
1 1/2 lbs mixed fruit
1/2 lb raisins
1/2 lb sultanas
1 lb plain flour
6 oz suet
3/4 oz mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 lb chopped nuts
2 oz ground almonds
3/4 lb soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
Dark brown ale or Guinness
port, sherry, rum in small quantities.
2 Days before making put all fruit into a basin and add
2 tablespoons port
2 tablespoons sherry
2 tablespoons rum
After one day check the fruit and if all liquid has gone add about another tablespoon of each.
Put all dry ingredients in bowl and mix together.
Grate rind from orange and lemon, add to dry ingredients
Beat the eggs and add those.
Add fruit mix and stir all together
Then add gradually the dark brown ale or guiness, until liquid is absorbed. Mixture should be quite stiff.
Cover with a cloth and leave to stand overnight, then give another stir and add more brown ale or guinness as needed.
Mixture should still be quite stiff, similar to a fruit cake mix.
Leave to stand for a further few hours before filling double thickness greaseproof lined basins. Leave about 1 inch space at the top, then cover with double thickness greaseproof and tie firmly with string.
Put each basin into a large saucepan half filled with water, bring to the boil and let it simmer for at least 4 hours for medium – about a 3 pint size basin – longer for a larger one. DONT let the pan boil dry !!!!!!!! Add boiling water to it.
When completely cold, remove top greaseproof paper and replace, again tying firmly with string.
The day of use, (open top of paper if it has been made in advance and check if its ok, rarely as it may be they can sometimes grow mould. if this happens either cut that part off or throw it away) put basin in saucepan and bring to boil and simmer for 1 – 2 hours, remove top paper, turn pudding out on to a plate or dish and remove rest of paper.
Pour gently over top a little brandy and light just before putting on table.
I know this sounds a lot of work and takes a lot of time, but the results are well worth it as you know.
Good luck when you do them, they can be made well in advance of Xmas as they will keep well in a fridge or cool dark cupboard (i make mine in July, same time i make my Christmas cakes, and let them mature.)