Christmas Pudding at All The Best

A rich steamed or boiled pudding, packed with dried fruits and candied citrus peel has been part of an British Christmas feast for centuries. The traditional go-with is an unguent mix of creamy butter and sugar spiked with brandy. (During the festive season you’ll find Brandy Butter in the fridge at All The Best.) My personal favourite topping for the festive pud is a smooth, rich, creamy custard made with fresh egg yolks, sugar and cream… liberally enhanced with the tipple of choice, of course.

Whiskey Custard
2⁄3 cup    whipping (35%) cream    150 mL
2⁄3 cup    whole (3.25%) milk    150 mL
3    egg yolks    3
1⁄4 cup    granulated sugar    50 mL
1 tbsp    melted butter, cooled    15 mL
1 tsp    vanilla extract    5 mL
1 tbsp     Bourbon, Scotch or Irish whiskey    15 mL

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine cream and milk. Bring just to a boil.

In a bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually whisk in sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat until mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon. Slowly pour hot creamy milk over yolk mixture, whisking to combine.

Place bowl on top of a saucepan of barely simmering water over medium heat. (Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.) Cook mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula, until smooth and thickened and coats the back of the spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not bring mixture close to simmering point or eggs will scramble.

Remove from heat. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and stir in whiskey. Serve warm. If made ahead, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until needed for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat, stirring constantly.

Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

Tip: Beat 1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch into the egg yolk mixture in step 2. This helps to reduce the risk of scrambling the eggs since the mixture can then withstand a few degrees more heat.
Variation: Replace whiskey and vanilla with other flavors to complement your fruit or dessert. Try grated citrus zest, rum, cognac, orange-flavored liqueur, single malt whiskey, Calvados, Poire William or Kirsch.

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Jane Rodmell is an owner of All The Best Fine Foods, a Good Food Fighter. Please support the businesses and organizations that support Good Food Revolution.