Neils Recipes! forum: Traditional Christmas Pudding!

 
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ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 9:29 AM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
There is a lot of different names for this, but I am sticking with X-Mas Pudding! It is a pure labour of love and normally my mother makes these for the family as she has a Kenwood food mixer, which saves your arms! So Doris as promised this is for you, and for everyone else who wants to make one or two of these!
This will be enough for 8-10 portions and you will need a 2 pint pudding basin or two 1 pint pudding basins!
What you will need:
4 oz of shredded suet. We use Atora suet in a packet, you can get a vegetarian one that makes the pudding a bit lighter!
2 oz of self raising flour.
4 oz of white breadcrumbs.
8 oz of dark soft brown sugar.
10 oz of currants.
4oz of sultanas.
4 oz of raisins.
1 oz of candied peel.
1 oz of Almonds skinned and chopped.
1 small apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped.
Grated zest of half a lemon.
Grated zest of half an orange.
2 eggs.
2 and a half fluid ozs of Barley wine. A strong light coloured beer!
2 and a half fluid ounces of a good stout. Guinness is used.
2 tbsp of dark rum.
1 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg.
Half a tsp of cinnamon.
Silver sixpence, a silver threepenny bit or a silver charm!

Now the fun starts:
You must start this the day before you intend to steam the pudding! If you have a mixer use it, otherwise you will need a very large mixing bowl!
A piece of advice have the recipe handy and tick off the ingredients as you add them, do not miss anything at all.
Start by putting in the suet, sifted flour, breadcrumbs, sugar and spices. Mix all of these together really well. Then add all the dried fruit, mixed candied peel, nuts, followed by the apple and grated orange and lemon zests.
Now in a smaller bowl measure out the rum, Barley wine and stout (Guinness). Now add the eggs into this mixture and beat well, then pour this all over the other mixture and start to mix well.
This is the time to shout for all the family to get together; for each family member must give the pudding a good stir and "Make A Wish."
Keep stirring it, until it is thoroughly mixed. It should have a sloppy consistency. That is it should fall instantly from the spoon if tapped on the side of the bowl.
Now with the family well out of the way is the time to put in a silver sixpence or one of the other silver objects mentioned (stir in). The person who gets it in their portion of the pudding was allowed to keep it and was blessed with good luck for the following year! However as silver sixpences are rare now, it is normally given back for next years pudding! Do not use copper coins (they taint it), only silver or gold!
Now COVER THE BOWL AND LEAVE IT TO STAND OVERNIGHT.
Next morning pack the mixture into a well greased pudding basin, then cover the top with 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil. Then using some string go around the top of the basin to secure the paper and foil in tightly! It is a good idea as you will have to go round several times, to loop the string underneath one side and then the other side several times to make a handle to get the pudding out!
For they are heavy and hot, when trying to get them out of a steamer! Ensure everything is tight.
Now place in a steamer and steam for 8 Hours! If you have not got a steamer use a large pan with a lid, get a plate or a large saucer, that will not crack in boiling water. Turn it upside down in the bottom of the pan and stand the basin on top of it! IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE WATER IS NEVER ALLOWED TO BOIL DRY, SO IT MUST BE CHECKED AND TOPPED UP REGULARLY!
When the pudding is cooked (allow to cool), remove the foil and paper, then with clean new paper and foil redo it exactly the same as you did in the first place. Then place in a cool place ready for Christmas! The longer it is kept the better it will be, it will not go off so do not worry about that. If properly secured they if kept in a cool pantry (not the fridge), mature as the months go by!
Then on Christmas Day, you simply steam it for at least 3 Hours, no less and more if you can, it wont burn!
To turn it out, remove all the foil and paper, hold the bottom of the pudding basin with a gloved one hand, place the serving plate over the top and turn it upside down!
It should if you lift both sides of the basin at once, come out. Otherwise give it a gentle tap with a wooden spoon around the top of the bowl. Then lift the basin off.
Once the basin comes off put a sprig of holly on the top of the pudding and place on the table in front of everyone.
Serve with rum custard or normal custard (recipe above), if you want rum custard just add rum to taste at the end of making the custard!
The proper way is to get a ladle full of brandy and heat it, then to tilt it slightly till it ignites and to pour it over the pudding! This is done at the table!
I think it changes the taste of it so I do not do this, but that is the traditional way of doing it!
Have Fun.
Regards.
Neil.








ImageSugarweed
Feb 16, 2010 10:04 AM CST
Name: Sidney, Zone 9A and 9B
Okeechobee, Fl
Giving Audubon Sanct. Tours Soon.
Thanks so much Neil.
I am ever so grateful for these wonderful directions.
So these could be done in September for that years Christmas.
Thumbs up
The difference between adventure and adversity is attitude. Be positive, be happy.
ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 10:23 AM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
It is a pleasure to be of some assistance!
You certainly can make them in September or earlier! People think they will go off they don't; if you think of the time these were first made they had no refrigeration, as sugar and alcohol are natural preservatives they kept, if covered for ages, simply maturing with time! They used to be stored in a north facing pantry on the stone slabs, where they stayed for months till they were needed.
Do not keep them in a fridge, it is far too cold for them in there. They need to mature and the juices etc to go together!
I quote; "After the pudding has been steamed, it is kept in a cool dry place for several weeks or months if possible. It will need to be steamed for a few more hours on the day it is served. There are different ways Christmas pudding is served. Some decorate it with a spray of holly, douse it in brandy or set it on fire. Many families present the pudding in the dark or bring it to the table ceremoniously (on fire), where it is met with a round of applause."
Regards.
Neil.
ImageTrisha_S
Feb 16, 2010 1:35 PM CST
Name: Trisha
Washington State
You can do almost anything for 15 m
Neil thank you so much for the wonderful recipe....do I assume then that NOW would be a good time to make the pudding and put it aside for Christmas?

OH, Thank you for putting the recipes on a separate thread! This will make it so much easier to find a recipe without having to search the length of a single thread.

What I would give to still have a house with a proper pantry.....
It is never too late to be
What you might have been.
~George Eliot
Imagekareoke
Feb 16, 2010 2:10 PM CST
Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
Horse,cattle owners click klenepipe
YES THAT'S IT----Neil thank you so much, I remembered most of the ingredients, and that it took a lot of arm work but in the, one Christmas day it is worth it.

Doris
ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 3:21 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Trisha, you could make them now, but I would wait. The reason for this is; there is not much good dried fruit in the shops at the moment, as most people use a lot before Christmas in cakes etc., so the shops do stock up again, but as the call is not that great they don't go mad. Then in the beginning of August when nobody wants dried fruit as most people are using fresh stuff, they start to work their Christmas stock out, and so wish to sell off what they have in stock. That is the time to buy it, for you can get a lot cheaply! Then make them and by the time Christmas comes, they are nice!
Of course if you are making one it will not make a lot of difference; but my mother makes 37 Christmas cakes one for each member of the family, they use a lot of fruit, and 16 Christmas Puddings, so the savings can be immense on that quantity!
That is what happens in the UK, so may be different in the US.
I do not know if that is any help at all?
We have eaten ones that were over 12 months old and they are perfect as long as that seal is airtight, with the string, and they are kept in a cool place!
I always used to put an extra spoonful of rum in when mother was not looking, but as that is her traditional recipe I did not add that to it!
Once we can move posts to threads, I will put them all on threads, but we cannot do that at the moment!
Regards.
Neil.
p.s. did you notice the now working links to other cubits!

Thumbnail by NEILMUIR1

ImageHappy_1
Feb 16, 2010 3:54 PM CST
Name: Nancy or \"Hap\"
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
That's funny, Neil.

When I make our "Fruit Cake" for Christmas, I start in late November. Bake it and then start with the rum. Poke holes in the cake with a toothpick, sprinkle rum and let it sit, covered for a few days. Turn it over and repeat the process. By Christmas it's wonderful.

Nancy
What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? ~~Dr. Robert Schuller
ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 4:21 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Nancy, my mother makes her Christmas cakes in huge batches. We all give a hand to stack them all in the garage. This is below the house and is almost airtight and has no car in it, so it is ccol for them.
Every week she goes down and uncovers each one, as they are upside down on racks made for the job. Then she pierces them all over the bottoms with a cake skewer and ladles rum or brandy into them.
They are then re-wrapped all 37 of them, and done again next week, never are they missed, and the amount of rum or brandy she uses between the first weeks in August right till Christmas is quite a colossal, to say the least! She used to make them in January for Christmas, but now she is retired she does them late July or early August, as the saving on fruit helps!
Although making them in January they used to taste better, but the cost of alcohol has also gone up so she saves a biit by making them a bit later! Don't forget she does not buy rum or brandy by the bottle, she buys it by the case! For 37 huge cakes will easily take 2 bottles a week.
Regards.
Neil.
ImageTrisha_S
Feb 16, 2010 4:25 PM CST
Name: Trisha
Washington State
You can do almost anything for 15 m
UMMM, sounds better all the time!
It is never too late to be
What you might have been.
~George Eliot
ImageHappy_1
Feb 16, 2010 5:40 PM CST
Name: Nancy or \"Hap\"
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
That's a lot of cakes, etc, Neil.

I remember an old story about someone making fruit cakes. Some how there was not too much 'brandy' in the cake, but the bill for it was great!

Nancy
What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? ~~Dr. Robert Schuller
ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 7:06 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Nancy, I do not know where the tradition in the family came from! I remember my grandmother making them by hand for the whole family, and my father had three sisters all married with children.
One of them had fourteen children, so it was a lot of cakes! Then as grandma got to about ninety she could no longer make so many, plus she was now a great grandma. So although the cakes were needed more, she handed the treasured recipe to her three daughters and to my mother, as they had to make their own! Unfortunately my three Aunts are no longer with us, so they passed it to their eldest daughters, who no doubt will pass it on to their own daughters. As my mother had sons not daughters, it should go to my elder brother. He when asked about it said "me make a cake, I have lost the recipe for toast." He cannot and will not cook anything, and relies on his wife and his eldest daughter to do anything like that!
So my mother has agreed for me to have the recipe when she can no longer make them. They are always given with a whole Wensleydale cheese for each cake, this is because they are so rich the proper way to eat them is with a slice of this cheese on them. This stops some of the richness, but not all of it!
They cost a fortune to make, and you need the space to put them in, which I have not got in my house.
I do not think my brother would be too pleased with loads of huge fruit cakes in his house either. So if I do have to make them, I will make smaller ones for everybody, just too keep the tradition alive.
Regards.
Neil.
p.s. they last about six months in a cake box or so i am told. My mother does not give us our one to Christmas Eve, as my wife would have eaten it in two days flat if she gave it to us any sooner.
ImageTrisha_S
Feb 16, 2010 7:08 PM CST
Name: Trisha
Washington State
You can do almost anything for 15 m
I will watch for the time when ingredients are available at reasonable prices. I these will be wonderful additions to our Christmas Gifts this year. I have become more upset each year at the increasing commercialism of the Christmas Holiday. I have reached the point that family members will receive Christmas Gifts, but they will mostly consist of items I have made especially for them.
It is never too late to be
What you might have been.
~George Eliot
ImageTrisha_S
Feb 16, 2010 7:15 PM CST
Name: Trisha
Washington State
You can do almost anything for 15 m
Oh, that is a wonderful idea....we get a wonderful sharp cheddar cheese called Cougar Gold produced at Washington State University. That would be a great additional gift!!
It is never too late to be
What you might have been.
~George Eliot
ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 8:29 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Trisha, I could not agree more. I thought we were the only ones that although we like Christmas, get fed up with the commercialism of it all!
Mother makes the cakes and the Christmas Pudding; then because I have two food smokers, one cold smoker and one hot smoker, I do smoke hams and smoked salmon for everyone, whilst my wife does pickles and home made sweets! We also save the olive oil bottles, the pretty ones that is. Then by adding some sprigs of dried herbs we fill them up with olive oil. Then using the computer we make some nice labels, Sarah ties a little bow around the neck of the bottle, and someone gets a nice present!
My next door neighbour has a lot of fruit trees (large ones), so when he prunes them back he saves all the wood for me. I dry it out over the summer in nice stacks, then before Christmas off to Kent we go and get some farmhouse cheese. This I smoke in fruit wood, I think a nice round of farmhouse Cheddar smoked in Apple wood is a great gift for anyone. It is better than some plastic wrapped stuff from a supermarket.
I am not tight fisted at all! It is just that things like pickled onions are quite expensive to buy at Christmas and the shop bought ones are not very nice. So we buy a sack of them and the proper pickling spices, plus vinegar and make our own. How many jars do people throw away? So we save any we can to put pickles and pickled onions in!
At least you know what is in them when you make your own.
Regards/
Neil.


ImageTrisha_S
Feb 16, 2010 8:42 PM CST
Name: Trisha
Washington State
You can do almost anything for 15 m
You just reminded me of another item.....My husbands grandmother, then his mother made the most wonderful sweet pickles, and I normally do not care for Sweet pickles. MIL has decided that at age 82 she isn't doing that any longer. I think I must get the recipe from her as the entire family down to the youngest grand child has been disappointed to find no Pickles at Christmas time.

I love making my own flavored oils and vinegars. I will be so happy when our farmers market opens again...then we know or sure spring has arrived and summer is on the way.

This areas Cougars Gold is one of my favorite cheeses but quite pricey....now our local supermarket, of all places, has started to stock some very nice imported English and Irish cheeses that I must say I like very well. But a good cheese, a good farm loaf and a nice glass of wine has always been one of my favorite meals.
It is never too late to be
What you might have been.
~George Eliot
ImageNEILMUIR1
Feb 16, 2010 9:25 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Trisha, isn't that everybody's favourite meal? We have Stilton here which is much loved at Christmas, you can I am told get it in the US but they tell me it is expensive. However it is overhere as it can only be made in one place, the King of cheese!
I could not eat shop bought bread unless I was very hungry. I was brought up with bread making so always make my own at all times.
We have farmers markets here, but we also have farm shops which are fantastic. Due to the mass power of the Organic movement in the UK, they even stopped the supermarkets in their tracks and made them think again. The only way I can tell you how farm shops work over the net is this; They work like a wheel, one farm in the best location has the shop and then all the other farms on the outside and inside of the wheel drive down the spokes and take their produce to one shop (the hub), where it is sold and they get paid for it! Sorry for my description I hope it makes some sense?
It is strange because you would not associate the UK with wine, but the Romans had vines here in the firts century. In one place in Kent the soil and climate is exactly the same as in Champagne in France, so they make their own. They are not allowed to call it Champagne though. Last year in the Champagne growers competition in France, the Kent vineyard entered theirs. As the bottle were just numbered and not labelled, it was done and judged on taste etc. The English won it, much to the French growers total disbelief!
In the summer I might if Cubits is still going, put a Pate recipe on, as I like that on a warm day for lunch. However I don't know if it would go down well.
It saddens me to see the lost generations who cannot or indeed want to cook, as it is easier to go to a Fast Food place or get it delivered, what a waste.
Plus they wonder why obesity is now getting rife in schoolchildren over here!
Regards.
Neil.

ImageTrisha_S
Feb 16, 2010 9:40 PM CST
Name: Trisha
Washington State
You can do almost anything for 15 m
I love Stilton is one of the cheeses our market is now stocking. It is wonderful

OH, please do post a good Pate recipe...we love it.....even my mother loves it....and that is saying something....she rarely likes things that aren't deep fried, but at 81 years of age I doubt I am going change that very much.

I see we share opinions and results regarding fast food.
Both of my siblings, myself and most of our children love to cook! I guess we get it from my father...he liked to cook and his favorite pass time was reading cookbook!
It is never too late to be
What you might have been.
~George Eliot
ImageHappy_1
Feb 17, 2010 7:31 AM CST
Name: Nancy or \"Hap\"
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Good Morning All,

I too fear that in another generation that there will be no cooks left on earth. I can't believe the amount of frozen meals, etc. that available here. The freezer sections are getting bigger and the fresh produce section is getting smaller. That is not good.

Stilton is one cheese that can be gotten here without too much trouble. There is a brand that looks like a torte with alternate layers of Stilton and cheddar. Not too bad. And yes, it is expensive. But we don't make a meal of it so a little goes a long way.

Hugs to all.

Nancy
What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? ~~Dr. Robert Schuller
Imagekareoke
Feb 17, 2010 6:18 PM CST
Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
Horse,cattle owners click klenepipe
Sorry to say I have never found Stilton, guess I need to go to a big city.

Doris
patrob
Aug 14, 2010 9:33 PM CST
Name: Patricia
Central TX 7b/8a
Neil,
Might your Christmas pudding sometimes be called a plum pudding? I find no plums or prunes in the recipe, but it sounds just like what my husband describes from his graduate school years. A professor's wife made the puddings for Christmas, and the husband stored them in the freezer in the lab. (I noticed your instructions said not to freeze the pudding.) On a regular basis the professor took one out and shared it with his graduate assistants. I imagine he was in serious trouble at Christmas time when the stored puddings were not to be found.
Thank you,
Patricia

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