|Christmas pudding can be made up to a year in advance and improves with age|
Figgy Pudding, Plum Pudding, Christmas Pudding or simply, “The Pud,” has been an essential part of the British Christmas tradition since medieval times. It’s made up of dried fruits bound with eggs and bits of bread, often moistened with treacle (molasses), enriched with suet (soo-et) which is the white fat surrounding the kidneys of sheep or cows, and seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and other spices. It’s made up to a year in advance (we make ours in September) by slowly steaming for more than six hours. Here are a few links to recipes:
Christmas pudding is traditionally served by placing the pudding in a saucepan of simmering water (about halfway up the side of the glass jar with top unsealed) for a few hours, then pouring heated brandy, rum or cognac over it, lighting it afire, waiting for the flames to subside whilst making sure not to burn the house down, pouring a lovely sauce on it and garnishing with a twig of holly. Alternatively, it can be microwaved (top unsealed) at 50% for 5 minutes, then left to stand for 5 minutes. Either way, the sauce is a must.
Here’s a recipe for custard sauce:
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Place cream in a heavy saucepan. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean and add the pod. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl until blended. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens so that it thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon (170°F - about 4 minutes). Strain, cover and refrigerate until cold. For those so inclined, 2 tablespoons of brandy or cognac can be added just prior to refrigeration. Serve chilled on the hot pudding.