If you have ever seen a movie of A Christmas Carol, you remember the scene of the Cratchit family's Christmas dinner. At the end of the meal, Mrs. Cratchit brings in a very small, but elegant flaming dessert....a plum pudding. After tasting, Bob Cratchit declares it is the best she has ever made, in all the years of their marriage. She beams in delight at the compliment.
She should beam! Plum pudding is not easy to make, and even harder to make well, especially with the equipment they had back in the time of A Christmas Carol! Luckily, as time has passed, the equipment has improved and with it, the recipe has gotten easier. It is still a complex recipe with many ingredients, but it is one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring desserts that you can make and serve at any dinner. Let's take a look at how it's made.
Makes 2 Puddings
- Put a large pot of water on to boil
- Spray two 2 quart pudding molds
- Hand mix all ingredients, reserving 3/4 cup brandy on the side
- Fill each pudding mold halfway.
- Cover tops of molds with lid or aluminum foil
- Place a large deep roasting pan on the stove burners and put metal trivets or a rack in the bottom of the pan to keep the molds out of direct contact with the pan bottom.
- Add boiling water to the pan until the molds are 2/3 submerged
- Bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low
- Cover pot with a lid or aluminum foil, and boil softly for 4 hours (add more boiling water as it boils away)
- If a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, the pudding is done, if not, check every 15 minutes till the knife comes out clean.
If you are making this pudding in advance, you can let it cool and then cover with foil and store in the refrigerator. When you plan on serving it, you will have to reboil it in the big pot in water, for an hour to reheat it without drying it out. When it has been thoroughly steamed through, or if you are serving it right after you have made it, turn out the pudding on a plate, and douse with the remaining 3/4 cup of brandy and light the pudding on fire, right before serving.
Personally, I like to serve my plum pudding with a warm cinnamon nutmeg sauce. After everyone has blown out the fire, cut the pudding into individual servings and spoon the warm sauce on right before serving to each person. The sauce I make is really yummy on this pudding, the recipe is below.
Cinnamon Nutmeg Sauce Recipe:
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- small pinch of salt
- Put 1 and 1/4 cup of water on the stove to boil
- Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt and dump into the boiling water
- Stirring constantly for one minute, add butter
- When butter is completely melted, add cinnamon and nutmeg
- Stir constantly for 3 to 5 minutes until sauce is the proper consistency
- Serve warm
Oh, and if you are wondering why it is called plum pudding, when there are no actual plums in it, it is because in Victorian England raisins were often called "plums."
Have a great week, and get that shopping done!