Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Christmas Puddings

At I type, there is a lovely spicy, Christmassy smell wafting through my flat. Yes, it is that time of year again - I can hardly believe it. Black treacle, sherry, dried fruit, prunes soaked in Port, dark Oxford marmalade, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and dark muscovado sugar - just a few of the heavenly ingredients I've been playing with this afternoon!

In an ideal world, I'd have made my Christmas pudding a month-or-so ago, but I didn't get around to it. I'm not too concerned thought - I had a look back through the archives and found that I'm ahead of last year.

For those who've never made their own Christmas pudding before, I urge you to give it a go. Homemade really is best and it is really quite a simple thing to make. Sure, there are a lot of ingredients but method-wise, all that is needed is a some gentle stirring. Hardly taxing. Perhaps the one tricky factor is that amount of time the puds take to steam - I do mine for 6-8 hours. It might sound like a long time, but it has always worked for me. So, unless you are braver than I, you'll need to stay in for that length of time. I have in the past, steamed the puds overnight but today I thought I'd enjoy spending a day just quietly pottering about at home whilst the puds steam quietly away.

If the mention of steaming is putting you off, please read on. You don't need any kind of fancy equipment to make this pudding! I just do mine in a large lidded saucepan, standing on an upturned saucer. Works a treat.

This is a picture of last year's pudding - a dreadful shot in which I resorted to the flash. Always a mistake. We also appear to have forgotten the customary sprig of holly which is a shame. At least we had it on the obligatory festive-themed plate.

This year, I followed
my tried-and-trusted recipe which has never yet failed me. The only thing I did differently this year was to soak the fruit overnight in Pedro Ximenez sherry. Nigella suggests this in her new Christmas book. I happened to have some to hand and so it all made perfect sense.

I don't plan to repeat the recipe here, you can find it in
last year's post. One of the great things about food blogging, I find, is that you have a permanent online source of your own favourite recipes. When hunting for the ragged bit of paper that is home to this recipe I was dismayed when I couldn't locate it. Thank goodness I posted it last Christmas!

As usual, I've made one large pudding (for my family) and one small pud that I'll probably give away as a present. All I have to do is decide upon the lucky recipient!

I can't wait to sample the pudding on Christmas Day with a generous dollop of brandy butter, flecked with orange zest. How do you like to eat yours?


Sam said...

You're ahead of me! I still haven't made the pudding yet. Thanks for reminding me, I'll do it this week.

Loving Annie said...

Good Sunday morning to you, Antonia !

Looked at your old post for the recipe, and it is pretty close to a version of our traditional Christmas fruitcake !

Never tried making it, but it DOES look yummy, and... :) maybe this year I will !

Brandy butter with orange zest sounds good on a lot of things !

Christmas smells do make home smell wonderful, don't they ? All that cinnamon stick and vanilla bean bubbling away on the stove...

Elra said...

Wow, Antonia,
My husband been always bugging me to make my own christmas pudding. I always intend to, but never really did it. I probably have to force my self to actually get up and start making it.
Thanks for the link and the recipe.

thepassionatecook said...

hi antonia,
i made my very first christmas pudding this year... it's sitting in the fridge and i can't wait to try it. i have never had brandy butter before, but will make my own, of course. love the idea of adding orange zest!

Grace said...

yes, i'm convinced that the camera flash is food's arch enemy. :)
christmas pudding is a tradition that i've always been interested in, but never been a part of. even with the evil flash, your version from last year looks delicious. and all those ingredients together in one dish....yum. :)

Maria said...

Hi Antonia ;o)

I made my xmas pudding last month and have been making them every year, you just can't beat home-made!


Margaret said...

You can't beat a homemade Christmas Pudding, even though everywhere gets steamed up whilst it's cooking!
Last years pudding certainly looks wonderful.
BTW Wonderful radio interview with Lynn and very informative.

Jules said...

I'm planning to make my pudding this weekend. Christmas pud is one of my favourite things about Christmas and love it with brandy cream.
Yours looks gorgeous and I could eat it right now!

Have you spotted where you are on this months wikio ratings, Congratulations! -

Trekkie said...

I'll try and make mine this weekend - I'm terribly behind this year. Yours' looks fabulous.

Antonia said...

Sam - I made mine a little later last year and it turned out just fine!

Annie - the brandy butter is an essential component in my book! Just delicious. We have an iced fruitcake too at Christmas.

Elra - hope you'll give it a try this year. It is a simple recipe and really does taste good.

johanna - homemade puds really do taste so good. I hope yours turns out well. I love to have brandy butter with mine - so decadent! I know some people prefer brandy sauce or double cream though. Incidentally, I don't keep mine in the fridge - just in a dark cupboard until Christmas. Just in case you run out of space!

Grace - I know, the flash is so terrible. It can be tricky at this time of year though with the lack of light! With all those rich ingredients, it certainly is a decadent pudding, but it is sooo delicious at the same time.

Maria - I couldn't agree more. Homemade is so good.

Margaret - so glad that you caught the radio interview with Lynn. I was in a meeting at work and so sadly missed it! Having said that, I can't stand the sound of my own voice so probably for the best...

Jules - brandy cream - mmmmm, sounds pretty good to me. And no, I hadn't seen the rating - no idea how I got that high up! Thank you for pointing it out to me.

Lynn - hope the radio show went well today. I made my pudding later last year and it still tasted delicious!

Rosie said...

What a good start to the Christmas preparations! I have my puds, cake being fed each week and mincemeat all done. You can't beat homemade!

Your last year pud looks wonderful :)

Rosie x