Friday, January 24, 2014

Holiday Traditions: Christmas pudding, guest chef edition

Years ago, we had a recipe competition here at home. It was decided that whoever made the best Christmas pudding would “win” the honor of making it forevermore. My Christmas pudding wasn’t considered traditional enough (maybe the four cups of grated carrots should have been a clue), but no matter, we had a winner and my husband was happy to add this to his dessert repertoire.

Christmas pudding-filled  two molds, one large bundt and one small ceramic mold.

Molds are topped with wax paper before steaming

For many years, he prepared the puddings the day after Thanksgiving and once they were steamed, they were anointed with spirits, tightly wrapped and put in the freezer to mature for at least a year. Depending on the size of the mold used, one recipe could often yield up to four puddings, so for a while there, we had a surplus of aged puddings. I remember one inventory of the chest freezer when I counted 15! A moratorium on new puddings had been in place for the past couple of years, but this year he decided that it was time to break out the pudding molds again. So, just after the new year, the distinct aroma of pudding filled the house as we steamed two puddings in our slow cookers.

Ceramic mold with cherry motif.

Bundt pudding just after unmolding. Steamy!

The funny thing about Christmas pudding is that once aged, you really can’t tell what the component ingredients are. There is grated apple, breadcrumbs, almonds, all manner of raisins, apricots and currants, but they all meld together to create something complex and satisfying. 

This year's cherry mold was enjoyed early, topped with sauce and more on the side!
I serve the pudding with Martha Stewart’s Brandy Sauce from her Martha Stewart Christmas Book. The sauce is made of cream, butter, sugar and egg yolks. It is the perfect complement to the delicious pudding.

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