Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.
From “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
copyright 2010,Maria Liberati /art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc
What does Charles Dickens and ‘A Christmas Carol’ have in common with the Royal Family …well it’s the traditonal Christmas Pudding!
Winter months though cold and dreary (At least in parts of the world I hang my hat for winter) bring many occasions that brighten up those otherwise lackluster days. Of course Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and many others but in Great Britain the first Sunday in December is unofficially known as Stir-Up Sunday. The perfect day to bake Holiday goodies in the kitchen with family and friends..a fun day to celebrate any place in the world.
Christmas Pudding takes about a month to cure and with Christmas about a month away it is the perfect day to make your Holiday pudding. Although some traditionalists begin their puddings 6 months before and the final steaming is always done on Christmas day right before serving. This year I’m going to give my pudding a royal touch by serving it in the very same pudding basin used by the Royal Family-the Mason Cash pudding bowl.
Holiday pudding recipes are based on the Royal Family’s Sandringham recipe and many are handed down from generation to generation. Here’s a quicker recipe (only 7 hours to make) and a great way to spend a Sunday. Give family and friends a chance to stir the batter and make a wish with each stir for a happy and prosperous year to come
A Royal Christmas Pudding
(this recipe is adapted from a recipe on www.worldwidegourmet.com)
*9 ounces sultana raisins
*9 ounces seedless raisins
*9 ozs. currants
*2 tsps candied lemon zest
*4 tsps candied orange zest
*4 tsps candied citron fruit
*4 ozs. candied cheries
*2 ozs. blanched almonds
*2 ozs. blanched almonds
*2 ozs. chopped almonds
*18 ozs. chopped suet or vegetarian suet
*8 ozs. rye bread crumbs
*4 ozs. brown sugar
*1/2 tsp cinnamon
*1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
*1/2 tsp ginger
*pinch of salt
*4 tsps brandy
*1 cup milk
*2 tbsps unsalted butter
*6 large eggs lightly beaten
*4 ozs. flour
*2 tblsps baking powder
And if you want to follow tradition serve with this yummy Brandy butter (A tradition that originated in Cumbria)
*9 ozs unsalted butter
*9 ozs powdered sugar
*2 ozs. brandy
*grated zest of 1 orange
Chop raisins, candied fruit, and peel together. Place all dry ingredients into a large non-reactive bowl (Mason Cash mixing bowls are perfect for this). Combine. Add in other ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. Line a Mason Cash pudding basin with a large piece of cloth that has been buttered and floured on each side. Pour mixture into the basin and enclose by topping with four corners of the cloth. Cover with a piece of buttered parchment paper. Place pudding in the oven in a pan half filled with water. cook for 6-8 hours at a bare simmer, checking the water level from time to time. Remove from water and oven and let cool. remove from pan. Cover and wrap with a fresh cloth and parchment paper, on top of that cover with aluminum foil and let ripen in a cool spot (not refrigerated) for at least 4 weeks. The longer it ages the more flavorful it will be.
On Christmas Day, return the pudding to the oven in the Mason Cash Pudding basin placed in a pan of water and let steam for 3-4 hours. Flambe with hot brandy or cognac and serve with brandied butter.
*Friday,December 3rd, 6 PM- Join me for a Feast of the Seven Fishes Italian Christmas Eve dinner and book signing at Copper Fish restaurant in Cape May, NJ. Email: Info@marialiberati.com for reservations or more info.
*Saturday, December 4th, 1 PM_Borders, Mount Laurel ,NJ Holiday book signing and sampling
Get your copy of the book selected as Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition..makes a great Holiday Gift