Tuesday, December 29, 2009

plum pudding

I decided to try a traditional dessert for Christmas this year. Plum pudding is a big to-do, it turns out, because it needs to be started a minimum of eight days before you are going to serve it.

First you soak dried fruit in 3/4 cup cognac. Then you make puddings out of it, and soak those in another 1/2 cup cognac for at least a week.

Then the big feature is that you pour flaming cognac over the top when you serve it. We had Christmas dinner at Chris and Jared's house, and sure enough it was very pretty. Chris took some video:



You also serve it with a "hard sauce" which is cognac mixed up with confectioner's sugar and a little butter. That was very tasty, but the pudding was kind of a dud.

As you may have guessed, the pudding ended up STRONGLY alcoholic in flavor and content. I was disappointed to find out that I couldn't even really taste any of the ingredients, and could only guess at what kind of fruit I was chewing on. I took one bite and pretty much exhaled pure cognac in Alex's face when I turned to him to tell him about it!

The conclusion: I very much like the idea of plum pudding, but I will need to find (or make) a recipe where cognac is an accent, not the whole point of the dish.

10 comments:

Sebastian said...

Ah, your quaint names...

It's just 'Christmas pudding', and the thing you serve it with is 'brandy butter'.

Most Christmas puddings you eat over here (it's a pretty big thing in Britland) are matured for months.

And yeah, they can be a bit too alcoholic. Depends how much you put in -- and how much you burn off.

Melissa said...

We pretty much let the thing burn out on its own, but to no avail. I was so hoping to actually taste the TEN different kinds of fruit I put in the darn thing. I could have skipped them entirely.

I rather like "brandy butter". I think I'll re-christen the hard sauce. :)

Diana said...

Melissa's mum to Seb - So, does your mum have a recipe for Christmas pudding? My grandmother had a recipe for fruitcake that was aged in brandy or rum for months but I don't know if it is the same type of thing. If you have access to an authentic recipe - share!

Melissa said...

I second the motion! How else are we poor Americans supposed to know if we're doing it right?

Sebastian said...

Ahhh... we actually had this conversation a few weeks ago, when I discovered she hadn't made a Christmas pudding...

Apparently the ones you can buy in the shops are better -- at least in the UK. Probably because they're made months in advance, and in a protective/right atmosphere.

I can probably get a good recipe though... let me email her... and the grandmother...

Un momento!

Sebastian said...

I'm being told this one is very good:
http://www.fashion-era.com/Christmas/christmas_food_beeton_pudding_recipe.htm

From 1923!

Most modern-day recipes are probably adapted from that one, I would've thought.

Diana said...

Found the recipe. You have to add .htm to the end of the address to make it work. There are actually 5 recipes there. Thanks!

Sebastian said...

There already is a .htm on the end... but it's OK, the thought of Melissa's mother saying something nerdy like that has made my day.

Diana said...

Hey! It wasn't nerdy. It was a result of copying the address from the blog, finding it didn't work, hunting around on the website till I stumbled over the pudding recipe and then noticing that the address had an additional three letters. More "monkey method" as my mother would have called it. A nerd would have noticed the difficulty and fixed it without thinking of it. Just to be clear on that point. ;)

Alex said...

Maybe next time Seb should use the anchor tag.