Why, you may ask, am I writing a post about plum pudding in March? Plum pudding or Christmas pudding, is of course eaten at Christmas. This lovely pudding was made by Ruth S, and indeed was eaten by this quirky writer on Christmas day. I have just been given the recipe, very kindly, by Ruth, and couldn’t wait another month, let alone nine, before sharing it!
And anyway, who says that you can’t make this pudding at other times in the year? For us in the southern hemisphere, Christmas in July is big, when we can enjoy lovely hot wintery fare when the season is right. And if you are super organized, you could always start your 2016 Christmas baking now!
Ruth makes these lovely plum puddings every year, supported by St Alban’s Church Epping, where over 400 puddings are made and the proceeds from the sale are given to three charities, over $4500 to each. It’s a great initiative for charity, and the lucky recipients of the puddings have something really yummy on Christmas Day.
Why the name “plum pudding,” as the pudding appears to contain no actual plums? The pudding, however, does contain a lot of prunes, which are of course, plums.
Here is Ruth’s recipe as given to me. Her mother first made it in 1973 and the original recipe is attributed to the Dried Fruits Board of NSW. She has some very useful tips for both experienced and inexperienced pudding makers.
350g/12oz small or chopped raisins
175g/6oz chopped prunes
175g/6oz mixed peel
85g/3oz almond pieces/slivers
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
125g/4oz plain flour
125g/4oz soft breadcrumbs
½ cup Stout or orange juice
½ cup brandy
140mls/1/4 pint milk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 large carrot grated
Cream butter and sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Add flour and spices. Add fruit, carrot, breadcrumbs and liquids together and stir well. I use a gloved hand rather than a spoon to make sure it is well mixed.
I now use the metric version but give the British version too!
If breadcrumbs are hard to grate, and you have a food processor, just put chunks of bread into the processor. It goes well put into the liquids and whizzed although it looks terrible!
Mixture does not look well homogenised and is quite wet. That’s fine!
It makes one huge pudding that you steam for 6 hours or two small ones that take 3 hours.
When I make the 800g ones, this mixture makes two 800g ones plus one of about 450-480g.
I generally cook small quantities such as this in the microwave oven. Place basin in oven loosely covered with lid or plastic wrap. Cook 800g pudding on second level of power – never the full power – for 8 minutes. If cooking whole quantity in one huge basin, cook at say, third power level for 20 minutes, but do it for a bit longer if it does not look quite cooked.