My mother used to make a carrot plum pudding every year at Christmas time and it was good. However in the last twenty odd years of serving Christmas dinners, it was not something I/we had ever really thought about adding to my/our repertoire. Too much bother!
I ventured to Youtube and see what was suggested there. There are lots of (I'm sure) wonderful selections offered, but one in particular caught my eye, or at least frenzied my taste buds and tickled my general sense of laziness. What I liked about this recipe was the fact that it is cooked in ten minutes, as opposed to the more traditional methods of steaming for four plus hours.
How To Make The Perfect Christmas Pudding, by Marguarite Patten. A delightful little British lady leads you step by step through her process.
Here is her list of ingredients:
Sieve all the dry ingredients together and mix well. Stir in all remaining ingredients until completely mixed. Lightly grease a half litre (1 pint) pudding basin and fill with the mixture. Cover with cling film and make a slit in the top to allow steam to escape. Cook on microwave high for 10 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes after cooking.
Pretty simple eh? Of course, never one to leave well enough alone, I chose to tweak and renovate so to speak. No currants in the pantry, by choice. Mom's recipe was a carrot pudding -- no carrots in dear little Ms. Patten's concoction. Simple substitution; just grate up the same amount of carrots and micromave them for thirty seconds. I also am not a fan of dates (except as the filling for oatmeal cookies or matrimonial cake), so you can also substitute carrots there, if you so wish.
I have an ancient set of Pyrex nesting bowls. I took the red one (about 1 liter/quart), lined it with plastic wrap (whilst humming the tune to Mr. Cellophane of course, and ignoring that nagging little voice, "should I be microwaving plastic?") Then I dumped the mixed glop into the bowl and put it in the microwave for 10 minutes. Just for good measure I gave it an extra two minutes afterward - didn't seem to hurt!
The pudding dropped out ceremoniously onto a waiting plate and was covered overnight with a clear cake carrier. I know traditional puddings are cheeseclothed, saturated with rum, and hung in the summer kitchen to age for several moons. Ours.....needed for supper!
My missus, upon inspection (of the pudding not herself), pronounced it "kinda hard". An hour prior to serving, we opted to put the pud in the steamer - probably a wise choice, as a further microwaving would have dried and toughened the little brute. So while Ms. Patten says nothing of steaming I would opt for an hour long sauna session in the double broiler. It warms, softens and moistens.
Sauce, I suppose, is optional, after all, Ms. Patten did not even mention such a condiment.
However the addition of sauce did add a certain rich, sinfully, caloric element to our otherwise heavenly ambrosia. So here is my sauce recipe, which I've used often on apple dumplings and traditional bread pudding.
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon of rum flavouring (or the real stuff if you prefer)
1 tablespoon of water
Mix together in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and spoon onto the sliced and waiting pudding.
And thus is reborn a somewhat revised family tradition.
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And that's about all I have to say for today.
Musings and Meanderings from the Musical Gardener.