Today, I must -- absolutely must -- make the Christmas pudding, and the hard sauce. The butter has been on the kitchen bench since yesterday, so it should not be totally brick-like in texture.
Here's the pudding recipe. It comes from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, courtesy of an old Army buddy, who got it from his ex-mother-in-law (a very military relationship). It's the only Christmas pud recipe I know that is not designed to feed the five thousand.
- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of "mixed spices" (I use allspice, nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 3/4 of a cup of chopped suet
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1 cup of currants
- 1 cup of grated carrot
- 1 cup of grated potato
Prepare a steamer -- I use a large water canner with a trivet in the bottom -- and grease a medium-large pudding basin. I use a large water canner with a trivet in the bottom, and a No 24 Mason Cash pudding basin, the size that's 19 cm (7 1/2 inches) in diameter at the top.
Blend the flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order given and mix well. Work quickly, as the baking soda reaction begins on contact with the carrot and potato. Cover with foil or parchment and steam for 3 hours.
This pudding does not swell. The raw mixture is not a batter, but a sort of granular mess, and it solidifies and develops a cakey texture as it steams.
Let the pudding cool to room temperature and refrigerate it if you make it more than a day or so in advance. Reheat by steaming if you must, but I prefer the microwave. Turn it out into something fireproof, douse with warmed rum or brandy, and bring it to the table blazing. Serve with hard sauce (aka brandy butter), or hot lemon sauce.