A traditional Christmas pudding is one of those things that can right be called the sushi of the dessert world. Some adore it to a point that they’d wish everyday was Christmas. The other well…would rather have vanilla icecream. Thankfully I am on the former half and this recipe is best cooked for those who are already predisposed to the idea of a fragrant steamed, sweet pudding. I mean why would you waste this on the other half anyway!
But then again, this Christmas pudding recipe is slightly taken away from rootedness and given a Nigella Lawson twist no less. Inspired by her mini puddini bonbons, I brushed the christmas pudding with a mix of dark rum and soaking liquid and added white chocolate icing as opposed to royal icing. And those two things I think makes all the difference.
By the way, I love how Christmas pudding comes with its own share of literary fragrance.
Charles Dicken for example took the entire idea of a plum pudding- in all its celebratory-ness- and anchored it to Christmas day in his “A Christmas Carol”. That is also probably the beginning of calling a plum pudding, a Christmas pudding. Then, two years after A Christmas Carol was published, in 1845, Eliza Acton published her very first recipe of Christmas pudding calling it, The Authors Christmas pudding. Now we will not know whether it is her own or if its Dickens she is referring to!
And then ofcourse, if you have read a bit of Lewis Carrol there are these lines shining away in Through the looking glass
“What impertinence!” said the Pudding. “I wonder how you’d like it, if I were to cut a slice out of you, you creature!”
It spoke with a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn’t a word to say
My heart dances! A thick suety sort of voice because Suet was one of the main ingredients in a plum pudding! How absolutely wonderful it is to know that whenyou make this Christmas pudding, you are also making a sliver of history, making it immortal as ever.
Btw, if you are still hungry for some literary fragrance, do check out Lewis Carroll’s self drawn caricature of himself eating plum pudding! Can very rightly be called the father of emojis!
And if you are hungry for the Christmas pudding, below is the recipe
Christmas Pudding Recipe
2 cups mixed sultanas, currants, prunes and raisins, ½ a cup of chopped mixed nuts, 1/4th cup of mixed peels (I used orange only), 100 gram and 2 tbsp of frozen butter grated, 2/3rd cup soft brown sugar, 1/3rd cup selfraising flour, 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs, ½ tsp of all spice, ½ tsp of ground nutmeg, 4 tbsp of orange juice, 1 egg and a pinch of salt (if you are using salted/ Amul butter, don’t use salt)
1 tbsp butter for greasing
For brushing the cake
1/4th cup orange juice and 1/4th cup brandy or rum
White chocolate melted- 2 tbsp and holly wafer paper. If you have marzipan decorations, you can use that too
Butter paper and aluminium foil cut to size and pleated in the center (3 cm) for the pudding to expand.
A steamer or a stockpot.
How to make Christmas pudding
In a large bowl mix dry ingredients, including spices. Add in frozen, grated butter. Next, add egg, orange juice and sugar. Mix well. If you see the mixture is too dry, you can add some orange juice. Just remember, the texture will be of wet dough. You can form a ball without breaking it.
Grease a heat proof bowl or a pudding basil with butter- please be generous on this.
Pour in the mixture.
Layer butter paper and foil, with butter paper being below the foil. Fold a pleat in the center of the papers and cover the pudding. Tie a twine around it tightly.
Next, add the pudding in a steamer or in a vessel with a slightly raised bowl or stand in the center so the pudding can rest on it while steaming. I had my fujihoro stock pot which was absolutely perfect!
Add hot water to the vessel and see that it covers half of the pudding bowl
It took 1.5 hours for me on medium to low heat to cook this completely. You may need slightly more depending on what vessel you are cooking in or the quantity of the pudding. No biggie. But please make sure to check the water every hour so it doesnt dry out completely. Add warm water to it if the level is below the base of the pudding basin.
After 1.5 hours, insert a skewer through the center of the pudding to check if its done. If the skewer comes out clean, you are good to go. If not, give it another 15.
Slightly cool the pudding before unwrapping and turning it upside down on a cake stand.
Now, when its still hot, brush it generously with orange juice and rum mixture. It soaks quite a bit of it.
For icing the Christmas Pudding
Melt a cup of chopped white chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute and give it a good stir for that glossy sheen. Pour gently on top of the pudding and let it cascade down in all its natural glory.
Add real holly and berries or a wafer paper edible holly paper on top. Wafer papers are available in almost all cake supply stores.
Store it for upto a week in the refrigerator or serve immediately though I strongly feel, the flavours are dreamier if you keep it for a day or two before serving.
Serve with double cream or icecream- the choice is yours!