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HOW-TO: MOST MERRY CHRISTMAS PUDDING


Olly Connelly
(@olly)
Member Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 200
Topic starter  
My step-mother was an irretrievable arse but she did have one redeeming quality and that was her cooking. Her Christmas pudding, particularly, was deliciously scrummy, and inspires this ritualistic recipe and I thank her for that (and for precisely nothing else.)
 
Xmas Pud is a quintessential British traditional, a bit like drinking tea, supping pints, or queuing for Brexit. If you like cooking, like fine food and like your liquor, you'll love this, plus it's fun to make, not least of all as it provides the perfect seasonal excuse to get pissed along the way.

IMG 20201209 172747
 
~~~ INGREDIENTS ~~~
 
As per, the higher the quality, the tastier the pudding.
 
This lot makes for one generously sized pudding or the final mix may be divided to make smaller puddings. This year I multiplied the mix by 3 to make 18 puddings, great for gifts, paperweights and cardiac arrest.
 
The procedure seems daunting but actually it really isn't. Hopefully this is broken down into simple stages.
 
A. The fruit, fruited
 
150g raisins
150g sultanas
150g prunes
100g walnuts
1 cooking apple (ie Granny Smiths)
50cl Pedro Jimenez (the magic)
25cl whiskey or brandy (the kick)
 
B. The spice
 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
 
C. The cement
 
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g breadcrumbs
150g muscovado sugar or panela
1 lemon's zest (only the zest)
 
D. The glue
 
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
150g lard *
 
* Suet is better still but is exceedingly rich.
 
~~~ METHOD ~~~
 
1. Bung all of A into a big pot, stir liberally while enjoying a whiskey, then leave the mix well-covered in a cool place for anything from a day (minimum) to a fortnight (optimal) so that the fruit gets sloshed by the liquor.
 
When your fruit is enthused...
 
2. Grind up B (if the spice isn't ready-ground) and add to all of C in a second large pot. Mix well.
 
Note: The easiest way to remove the zest of a lemon is by using a potato peeler. Then slice the zest into short thin strips.
 
3. Now for D, again in a large receptacle.
 
Beat the eggs, soften the lard (a few seconds in a microwave, perhaps) and mix together with the honey.
 
4. Gradually, add C to D. Bit by bit, mixing as you go, makes the process easier and avoids lumps.
 
Have another whiskey.
 
5. Now mix in A and B into C and D: everything is now together.
 
This is a nice time to practice a tradition. Anyone who's about the house can stir the pot and make a wish. Personally, I tend to wish we had politicians that weren't total corrupt to$$ers but Santa never delivers on that; between you and I, I'm beginning to wonder if Santa isn't fake news. Definitely have another whiskey and maybe play some jazz.
 
There's another tradition you might practise here and particularly if you want to bump off some rellies: adding one or two coins into the mix (or, if you plan on giving this pudding to a politician, sharp shrapnel).
 
6. Add the mix into a cooking basin or basins, one for each pudding.
 
You can use plastic tubs, heatproof glass or porcelain containers.
 
We shall be steaming the pudding, which involves water and creates condensation. The trick is not to get the pudding wet, so pay attention and all will be well.
 
Containers with a seal-proof lid are simplest but if there is no lid or if it may leak then do this...
 
...Use greaseproof paper as a lid instead, tying that tightly in place around the top of the container using some string, further insuring your pudding by wrapping its entire tub in tin foil. Job done.
 
~~~ COOKING ~~~
 
Christmas Puds should be steamed, which is a gentle cooking method to encourage the flavour. They should then be left in a cool place to mature for as long as you can manage, ideally a few weeks. (Some people leave them for a year or two, pouring a tablespoon of whiskey or brandy over them every other week or so. Full marks.) Then, to prepare for your table, they should be re-steamed to heat them up.
 
Again, to reiterate, the trick when steaming is to prevent the water from splashing onto the pudding. See above. If you do manage to drip water on the pudding then dab it off with absorbent paper. (If you manage to spill your whiskey on the pudding then just call that a bonus.)
 
~ PROCEDURE
 
1. Take a cooking pot (with a lid) that is several centimetres wider and taller than the pudding to give the steam space to do its work.
 
2. DO NOT PLACE THE PUDDING BASIN DIRECTLY IN THE POT as it will burn on the heat. Instead, use a heatproof plate or steaming rack, or even balls of tin foil covering the bottom of the pan.
 
3. Add some water so the liquid reaches to almost halfway up the side of the pudding.
 
4. Remove the pudding, boil the water, and maybe have another whiskey.
 
5. When it's boiling, reduce the heat so the water is simmering gently yet producing steam, then add the pudding back and put the lid on the cooking pot to trap the steam.
 
6. Check the pot periodically to ensure the water has not run dry.
 
~ HOW LONG?
 
The bigger the pudding the longer it takes to steam. If you've added all the above mix into one basin you can expect 4-5 hours of cooking time, for smaller puddings 2+ hours or, for very small puddings, an hour.
 
To check, remove the tin foil, greaseproof paper and/or lid and run through the pudding with a skewer. If the skewer comes out clean then the pudding is ready or, if it comes out sticky, the pudding needs a bit longer. Reseal that lid properly, as before, to avoid the water, it will be worth it.
 
When you reheat the pudding before eating it you will need to steam it for half of the original steaming time. (Very small puddings can be reheated in the microwave but that won't work for medium or large puddings.)
 
~~~ SERVING UP ~~~
 
I've previously written a guide specifically on reheating a Christmas Pudding and that also includes instructions on how to prepare THE ESSENTIAL ACCESSORY THAT IS BRANDY OR WHISKEY BUTTER * so will add that below.
 
* Personally, I have disdain for puddings that aren't equipped with brandy or whiskey butter: for the sake of little Jesus, let's do it right.
 
And finally, of course, finish that bottle of whiskey.
 
Cheers!
 
And a verrry Merrry Chwistmas.
 
Olly
 
 
Olly Connelly
Producer, Daily Chaos
Ordo ab ruddy crimbo!

Olly Connelly
Producer, Daily Chaos
Ordo ab ruddy chao!

SITE: https://dailychaos.news
SHOW: https://dailychaos.news/show
E-MAIL: info@dailychaos.news
SKYPE: ollyconnelly


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Olly Connelly
(@olly)
Member Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 200
Topic starter  
Posted by: @olly

I've previously written a guide specifically on reheating a Christmas Pudding and that also includes instructions on how to prepare THE ESSENTIAL ACCESSORY THAT IS BRANDY OR WHISKEY BUTTER * so will add that below.

HOW-TO: SERVE UP THE GREAT BRITISH CHRISTMAS PUDDING

...with Brandy Butter & Cream. No slacking, let's get this right.
 
NOTE: Don't leave it 'till you want to serve the pudding to read this as there may be some ingredients you need to obtain to complete your Christmas Pudding experience (see below but liquor for sauce and flame, salted butter, sugar and cream.)
 
This traditional British dessert is generally served after Christmas Day lunch or at tea-time. The latter is often better as this pudding is very rich. Its numerous ingredients include wheat and dairy products, walnuts and alcohol: namely Pedro Jimenez and whiskey. (It does #not include coins or suchlike, which some do for luck and/or hospital visits.)
 
Your pudding has been steam-cooked for at least 2 hours already but must be reheated and for best results this should be done by steaming the pudding. Other methods are inferior as they may spoil the flavour or burn the pudding. (Pressure cookers can be used but I'm trying to keep this simple, ha!)
 
A. STEAM (reheat) THE PUDDING
 
1. Leave the pudding in its basin but remove the lid;
2. Wrap greaseproof paper atop the basin, securing that tightly by tieing around the rim with string to ensure there are no gaps (that would let in water or condensation);
3. Wrap the entire basin in a single layer of tinfoil, again ensuring no gaps;
4. Choose a cooking pot with a lid and that the pudding fits into with generous space around the basin's width and height;
5. DO NOT ADD THE BASIN DIRECTLY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. Instead, sit the basin on a steaming platform, else a heatproof saucer or even just crumpled up balls of tinfoil, ensuring the basin is stable;
6. Add water to the pot (avoiding the top of the pudding) so that its level reaches to almost halfway up the sides of the pudding's basin. Any higher and the pudding might get wet, the cardinal sin!
7. Remove the pudding from the pot;
8. Boil the water, then reduce the heat so the water is simmering but steaming;
9. Add the pudding to the simmering water and put the lid on the cooking pot to lock in the steam;
10. Leave to steam for approximately 60 minutes, checking the water level after the first 30 minutes;
11. Remove the pudding basin from the pot, discarding the tin foil and greaseproof paper being careful not to drip water onto the pudding (if you do drip water on the pudding then gently dab it with absorbent paper);
12. Place a serving plate, upside down, on the basin, then carefully turn the plate and basin over so that the pudding falls out of the basin onto the plate;
13. Remove the basin to reveal the pudding;
14. It's Christmas. Have a whiskey.
 
B. FLAME THE PUDDING (Hint: If you omit this you're missing the magic, and some extra flavour.)
 
15. Gently heat 3-4 tablespoons of brandy (or whiskey or rum) in a pan, not boiling but bringing to a simmer;
16. Turn off the lights!
17. Pour the alcohol onto the pudding...
18. ...and use a naked flame to light it immediately - at arm's length! - while the alcohol is still piping hot;
 
The flame should burn for several seconds, depending on how much alcohol you used. The alcohol will be burned off, leaving the flavour. Yummy.
 
Serve with lashings of cream * and 'brandy butter' (or ice cream if really you must).
 
* Cream: None of that industrial plastic stuff.
 
C. PREPARE BRANDY BUTTER
 
ACTUALLY, YOU SHOULD DO THIS FIRST. Traditionally done on Christmas Eve.
 
You can substitute brandy for whiskey or rum. Orujo blanco would be good too, as could be pure ethanol (no, don't do that).
 
1. Take approximately 50g of salted butter and leave to soften;
2. Add a small amount of sugar (the finer the better, caster is best, or maybe panela if you're into yoga) and a small amount of the alcohol, mixing into a paste;
3. Repeat 2, then again, and again and again and again, until the alcohol no longer mixes in or until you're becoming deliriously intoxicated from the fumes (a good indication);
4. Place the butter in the fridge to harden or, if you're short on time, pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours before transferring to the fridge else to your stomach.
 
Finally, have another whiskey.
 
~
 
Q: Should this be served to kids?
A: My father thought so. You be the judge. Hic.

Olly Connelly
Producer, Daily Chaos
Ordo ab ruddy chao!

SITE: https://dailychaos.news
SHOW: https://dailychaos.news/show
E-MAIL: info@dailychaos.news
SKYPE: ollyconnelly


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