Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Pudding!!

I can't believe that I've gone 20years without finally attempting to bake/steam a traditional Christmas Pudding. Albeit, the first 11years or so, were probably not conducive to me being in a kitchen and using the oven along :P But seriously, how could I have gone so long without attempting to make this cake? I'm not quite sure, maybe it was the odd shape and look of the cake/pudding that threw me off, but now I've finally come to the point where I can't take it anymore!!
I've always been fascinated with British culture; I love their food, their music and their fashion sense (I really wish we had a Top Shop store here in Canada, but I guess H&M is as close to the UK as I'm going to get :P). One day, hopefully sometime in the near future, I want to travel through Europe... checking out quaint bistros and savouring the local flavor. But don't we all have that dream??

Anyways, I decided to make a Christmas Pudding a) because of my love for all things English b) because of my insane sweet tooth, and love for eating mixed peel and c) because anything with rum in it is tasty!

Christmas Pudding

- 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup freshly made white bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp shredded butter (or you can use suet for a more traditional pudding)
- 1/2 tsp all-spice
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup each: raisins, cranberries
- 2/3 cup mixed peel
- 1/3 cup chopped pine-nuts (I would have used the traditional blanched almonds, but my sister's allergic to tree nuts)
- Half the juice of one lemon + 1 tbsp of lemon rind
- 1 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp black treacle (of you don't have any, substitute golden syrup or molasses; and if you don't have either of those, substitute maple syrup)

1. In a large bowl, mix the first eight ingredients

2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the lemon juice, milk, rum, black treacle and beaten egg.

3. Pour the contents of the small bowl into that of the large bowl, mix well until the mixture is thoroughly moistened.

4. Let the batter sit overnight (at least 5hours); as the batter sits, the flavor of the rum is enhanced and it permeates the dough and the fruits.

5. Pour the batter into a buttered, steam-proof bowl. Cover the top of the bowl by placing parchment paper or aluminum foil over it. Secure the paper/foil tightly with a piece of string, and use extra string to make a "handle" that enables you to place the bowl in the steamer and pull it out.
Note: The point of the paper/foil is to prevent the steam from touching your cake, it ensures that you don't end up with a layer of water on the cake (that ruins the cake's surface and moisture content).

6. Place a steamer ring at the bottom of a large pot, and place your ready-to-steam cake on top (there should be enough space on either side of your bowl so that the pan does not touch it). Pour enough water into the pot to cover the bottom half of the bowl, but not touch the paper/foil.

7. Bring the water to a boil, steam your cake for 3 1/2 hours. Re-fill the boiled water as needed throughout the steaming process.
Note: Alternately, you can microwave this cake (as long as your bowl is microwave safe) for 10mins on full strength. If microwaving it, I suggest you do it in 2.5minute intervals, making sure to rotate your cake between intervals. This may help ensure even cooking, as microwaves can be finicky to work with.

8. Once the cake is finished steaming, allow to cool for 10minutes and then unmold onto a festive dish. Slice pudding into eight pieces, and serve warm. Drizzle with rum sauce or custard.

The bowl is ready for steaming...

In the pot it goes...
And here it is!! All it needs now is to be unmolded and topped with some deliciously creamy rum sauce!

I really enjoyed making this cake/pudding. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out. I was a bit scared that maybe it would turn out rubbery if I steamed it too long, and was starting to freak out after the first 1 1/2 hours. I don't know why?? But I guess that it was probably because 3 1/2 hours seemed like a really long time to cook something (unless it's a turkey). But I'm glad that I did attempt this festive cake, my family enjoyed it too. What's great is that I think this cake can satisfy any type of "tooth". My mom, who doesn't enjoy very sugary things, said that the fact that the pudding wasn't overly sweet was wonderful; but I, being a sugar-a-holic, was quite satisfied by the sugary, rum-laden fruits. I will definitely make this cake again, but with one alteration... I will have to double the recipe :P

Oh, and if you're wanting to make the rum sauce (which I highly recommend you do), I followed this recipe, from One-half of the recipe makes enough sauce for one recipe of my Christmas Pudding.

1 comment:

Steph said...

hahah.. I would've freaked out too if I had to steam something for 3 hours. I've never heard of christmas pudding before. Acutally, I've never even had fruitcake! Maybe I'll try this recipe, but until then, I need to settle my fear to bread pudding first.