by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter‘
All The Best Plum Puddings are in store and ready for the holidays.
In our kitchen we follow the classic 19th century tradition. Our rich steamed puddings are packed with currants, raisins, candied lemon and orange peel and slivered almonds, flavoured with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon with a hint of brandy.
Back in the 15th century the steamed pud began as a mixture of meat (likely beef or mutton) with onions, herbs and perhaps root vegetables that provided a very filling first course. Later exotic dried fruits became available, gradually replacing the meat, and the rich pudding became associated with feast days and particularly Christmas. The ‘plum’ in the pudding’ referred to prunes, and later, came to mean any dried fruit. You’ll still find recipes that include suet as the fat-a leftover from the ‘meaty’ days. Today we use butter, brown sugar and eggs to make a lighter batter.
Tradition dictates that you bring the plum pudding flaming to the table and serve it warm accompanied by Brandy Butter.
¾ cup (175ml) unsalted butter
1 cup (250 ml) powdered sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) brandy
Using an electric mixer, beat butter until soft and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Gradually beat in brandy. Cover and refrigerate. May be made a week ahead. Bring to room temperature before serving.
…and don’t forget your mince pies (Brandy Butter is good with them too.) You will need at least a dozen to ensure that 2011 is filled with happy months.
All the best,