What is Christmas Pudding?
Christmas pudding, also known as plum pudding is a descendant of the figgy pudding. It is a rich, dense dessert filled with various dried fruits such as raisins, currants, dates, figs, apricots and sultanas and is flavored with spices such as; allspice, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. The pud is steamed slowly to plump up the dried fruit and to develop the Christmassy aromas. It is often served with a hard sweet sauce but is equally tasty with vanilla ice cream or simply a splash of heavy whipping cream.
How do I cook Christmas Pudding?
Your pud will already have been cooked for about eight hours. But to get it ready to eat, it needs to be cooked again. There are several ways the pud can be cooked. Steaming is the traditional method but the easiest is using a crockpot. If you are short of time, consider using the microwave.
Firstly, though remove the lid from the pudding and fasten a square of parchment paper and a square of foil over the top of the pudding bowl using a rubber band to secure it..
Steam (Traditional method)
Wrap the pudding in a cloth (a dish towel works well) and tie at the top. You should be able to lift the pudding bowl up. Place in a steamer for 2¼ hours (1¼ hrs for the small one person puddings) and steam. Check the water from time to time and top up as needed. To serve, remove from the steamer and take off the wrapping.
Insert an inverted small plate or dish in the crock-pot for the pudding to sit on. Fill the crock-pot with 1.5 inches of boiling water. Wrap the pudding in a cloth (a dish towel works well) and tie at the top. You should be able to lift the pudding bowl up. Place on top of the plate/dish and put the lid on the crock-pot (the lid should close). Turn the crock-pot on high and cook for 2¼ hours (1¼ hrs for the small one person puddings). Check the water from time to time and top up as needed. To serve, remove from the crockpot and take off the wrapping.
Approximate timings are for an 800W microwave oven adjust as needed; loosen the lid of the basin slightly or wrap in plastic wrap making a couple of holes in the top (do not put any foil in the microwave). Microwave on full power for 4 minutes, stand for 3 minutes, microwave on low/defrost for 7 further minutes then let stand for 5 minutes before serving. This should be enough to warm the pudding through. For individual puddings microwave on high for 2 minutes, let stand for a further 2 minutes.
What do I serve Christmas Pudding with?
Let’s set fire to it!!
Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, and then turn out onto a warmed plate with a couple of inches of space all around. Place a sprig of holly on top if you have one.
When ready to serve pour a large spoonful of brandy over the top of the pudding and immediately set light to it using a safety lighter or long match (for a larger flame gently warm the brandy in a pan first and spoon gently over the pudding). Brandy burns blue so it is best to darken the room first to see the flames.
After the flames have died down, spoon the pudding into bowls and top with the sauce of your choice. Enjoy!!!
- 1 stick salted softened butter
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons of brandy/rum/whiskey
Place the butter in a bowl and beat until very soft. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Beat in the liquor, one tablespoon at a time. If too much liquor is added the mixture will curdle. If this happens, simply add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time until it becomes smooth again. Store in the fridge until required. Will keep for up to five days. Can be frozen.
Brandy Sauce (makes 3 cups)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2½ cups milk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
- 3 (or more) tablespoons of brandy (or rum or whiskey)
Place 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan with the flour, add the milk and, using a whisk, whisk everything together over a medium heat. Keep stirring. As soon as it comes to a boil and has thickened, turn the heat right down. Stir in the sugar and let the sauce cook for ten minutes. Then add the brandy (or other liquor) and the cream. Mix together and pour the hot sauce into a jug. If not serving immediately, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. The sauce can be rewarmed in the microwave.