Happy Holidays

Christmas Pudding

December 7, 2020
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Stir it up! That’s the chorus in Britain on Stir it Up Sunday, right before Advent. Churchgoers hear, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people,” and anyone—churched or not, with a love for boozy Christmas puddings stirs up the fruity mix to get the holidays going.Loaded with spice, fruit, nuts and tradition, the Christmas “pud” is a lovely creation, more moist and mellow than American fruit cake. Since it’s fed little tipples of brandy from the day it’s made until Christmas, the treat emerges a well-spirited highlight of the Holidays. For even more tasty Holiday tradition, try our recipe for Mincemeat Tarts!

Our  Christmas Pudding recipe yields one large pudding centerpiece (made with a 7.5-inch x 5.25 inch pudding mold), with enough extra batter to make six little minis to go alongside. We’ve included a bright mix of raisin, dried cranberry and apricot as the fruit base, but you can sub in sultanas or currants, dried cherries, figs or dates. Because the traditional “mixed spice” used to make British Christmas puddings isn’t readily available as a blend here, we’ve incorporated it in the recipe as separate spices, along with a simple and delicious method for making your own candied citrus peel. To finish the pudding, you can cloak the finished pudding in a glaze of our brandy cream, or, simply dust it with a little powdered sugar snow. We’ve garnished with true sprigs of holly (the customary topper which represents the crown of thorns,) but if you do the same, be careful not to let the berries touch the treat—they’re not edible.

Adjusting beloved British pud recipes for American larders, our recipe gives you the quantities in cups and tablespoons. We’ve made it with frozen butter, rather than suet (although you can sub in a bit of suet if you like that savory flavor.) And if you don’t have a steamed pudding mold on the shelf, you can use a 6-cup mixing bowl. For the minis, I found little metal pudding molds online, but you can also use porcelain ramekins in a ¾-cup size. Note: There is a little leeway in how much you fill the molds. If you use smaller molds for the minis, just be sure not to fill them beyond 2/3rds full. There is enough space in the 6-cup pudding mold to fill with the main pudding batter, plus what you don’t put in the minis.

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