Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mini Christmas Puddings

Mrs. Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a cannon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre. Oh! The marvellous pudding!

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

My favourite part of Christmas dinner is plum pudding and custard. I love the fabulous, fruity-alcohol smell, the rich smooth flavour, and the sweet custard flowing down the sides (brandy butter or cream optional). No matter how full I am after Christmas dinner, there is always room for Christmas pudding.

I have started my Christmas baking (although my cake was made in June!), and as part of the gift packages that I am giving to friends, I am including an individual boiled Christmas pudding each. I made these on the weekend when it was 35 degrees Celsius, and as I have no air conditioning, it may be considered a little enthusiastic of me to boil these inside for the required 4 hours! However, now they are done, and I am proud of them (although I can't taste them myself).

I used a recipe by Emma Shearer of The Manse Restaurant in Adelaide which appeared in this month's Delicious magazine. It was perfect because it was already designed to make 6 individual puddings.

To make these puddings, you will need:

1/2 cup each of sultanas, currants, raisins and dates (I left out the dates)
1/4 cup dried mixed peel (I left this out)
grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 slivered almonds (I used flaked almonds)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (I used cloves)
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
125g softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 eggs
100ml milk

Put the fruit, peel, zest and almonds into a bowl with the brandy, stir to combine, and leave to rest for at least 4 hours.

Grease six x 1 cup dariole moulds.

Sift the flour, spices and a pinch of salt together into a medium bowl, stir in the breadcrumbs, and set aside.

Put the brown sugar, white sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, then fold in the fruit mixture, and finally, fold in the flour and milk.

Divide the batter evenly between the moulds and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon.

Cover each mould with a piece of pleated baking paper and a double layer of pleated foil, and seal tightly with string:

Put a saucer into the base of a large saucepan and stand the moulds on the plate. Pour water into the saucepan until it comes half way up the sides of the moulds. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat so that the water comes to a simmering boil, and boil for 4 hours. You may need to top up the water (I checked on it every hour), being careful not to get any water into the moulds. (Because my saucer was not flat, a couple of the puddings unfortunately got a little damp during boiling, but are still OK.)

At the end of the cooking time, remove the moulds carefully from the water, and immediately remove the foil, paper and string:

Immediately unmould each pudding by running a knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the mould, then carefully tipping it upside down onto a plate:

And voila - you have Christmas puddings! (Give the top of the mould a few taps if the pudding stubbornly clings to the mould.)

This is the first of my Christmas baking posts. More will come as I progress! (This will happen soon, as we have a Christmas bake sale for charity at work on Monday.)


Finla said...

Comming to your place now I have the feeling chistmas is going to be here soon.

Palidor said...

I love mini desserts. They're so cute and you can eat more without feeling guilty! You're quite the trooper making these when it was so hot! But it was worth it because they look mighty tasty.

Anonymous said...

You are dedicated to make these in the hot weather! I don't think this is something that is seen often in the US, but it sounds very good and Christmas-y!

A Full-Timed Housefly said...

These puddings looks good ! Does it taste better after chilled ?

Cakelaw said...

See you soon Happy Cook!

Hi Palidor, thanks! The are tasty - love plum pud.

Hi Jill, wow, I didn't know that - so plum pud is not traditional in the US?

Hi Housefly, most people eat it warm with icecream and custard and jelly, but I certainly like it cold as well - it becomes dense and cake-like.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Oh they are so cute! And I like how you opened with a quote from The Christmas Carol :)

Anonymous said...

These mini christmas puddings are so cute! Looking forward to more christmas goodies!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing better than christmas puddings! I sooo have to make mine very soon! I used to do individual ones so that every guest could light theirs on fire, but we never seem to know how many will turn up so I went back to the big pudding!

Jennifer said...

These are absolutely beautiful! I haven't ever seen a Christmas pudding until now!

A_and_N said...

I love the spices that go into it! Lovely.

Ivy said...

They look so cute and I can imagine how delicious they must taste.

Anonymous said...

yay puddings + christmas.
theyre so cute. heh.
craving for some now.
think i can make this all year round! :P

Cakelaw said...

Hi Lorraine, I love A Christmas Carol - I want to see the Jim Carrey movie of it that's out.

Thanks Ellie - coming soon!

Hi SugarJunkie, I can imagine it would be challening to make the right number of individual ones if people turn up unexpectedly. Flaming a pudding - now that's one step up - I love it!

Thanks Jennifer. I love Christmas pudding - do try it sometime.

Thanks A&N - it's a great time of year.

Thanks Ivy - warm with custard, it can't be beat!

He, he, I am with you Muffins.

Johanna GGG said...

you are organised to make christmas cake in june

love the individual puddings for presents - great idea - but I hope it is 1/2 a tsp of mixed spice (cloves) rather than half a cup!!!

Cakelaw said...

@Johanna - he, he, thanks for that, it's now fixed - could you imagine what they'd taste like with half a cup of cloves in there - ewwwww.