Christmas puddings! Either you love them or hate them but they’re not likely to disappear, as they are a tradition for countless people worldwide at Christmas time.
The first recipe I’m sharing today was brought over from England in the 1930s and is a fine example of a traditional Christmas pudding. The second is one of my favourite carrot varieties, a traditional recipe from my mom’s collection. As kids we never really had a taste for this rich fruity pudding, but we absolutely loved the sauce Mom made to pour over it; it was something seldom served during the rest of the year. So in order to have this sauce we had to have at least a rounded tablespoon of the pudding with it. Eventually all eight of us came to really enjoy it, and today I appreciate my mom’s efforts in that regard. The tradition has been passed to one of my sisters who gifts us all with a pudding for Christmas each year.
English Christmas Pudding
3 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 cups shredded suet (or 2/3 cup butter, softened)
1-1/3 cups dark raisins
1-1/3 cups light raisins
1-1/3 cups currants
1 cup mixed candied peel
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup dark rum
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
In large bowl, combine bread crumbs, suet or butter, raisins, currants, candied peel, sugar, milk, almonds, eggs, lemon rind and juice, 1/4 cup of the rum, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.
Stir in flour and remaining rum; scrape into 2 greased 6-cup (1.5 L) pudding moulds or bowls, smoothing tops. Place circle of waxed paper directly on surface of each. Cover with lids. (Or make 1-inch/2.5 cm pleat across middle of large piece of foil and fit over top, pressing down side. Trim edge, leaving 3-inch/8 cm overhang; press down side. Tie string securely around mould about 1 inch/2.5 cm from rim; fold foil overhang up over string.)
Place moulds on rack in deep pot; pour enough boiling water into pot to come halfway up side of moulds. Cover and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, adding boiling water as necessary to maintain level, until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean, about 5 hours. Remove moulds from pot and let cool slightly.
(Make-ahead: Let cool. Unmould, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Or store in cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
Christmas Carrot Pudding
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter*
1 cup shredded raw carrot
1 cup grated raw potato
1 cup raisins
1 cup dates
1 cup currants
1/2 cup glazed cherries or fruit, chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds, optional
1 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp. each cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
Sift flour and spices.
* Traditionally suet would have been used instead of butter
Cream sugar and butter; add egg, mix well. Add carrot and 1/2 the potato, stir together.
Sift flour, salt and spices together and add with the fruit; mix together. Dissolve soda in remaining potato and add this last. Pour into mold(s) and steam for three hours. Unmold, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Serve with a brown sugar sauce or custard.
Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.