Over the past week or so, when we've been talking about Christmassy baking, a couple of friends have said they'd like to try making their own pudding, but have thought it was too tricky, so I thought I'd share my own pudding making adventure with you to show you just how easy it really it =)
Generally I use a recipe from Cookery the Australian Way, but I've spent the past two weeks tearing the place apart looking for my copy with zero luck (well, until this evening when I was looking for something else - isn't that always the way?!), so I dug out my Christmas foody magazines and settled on a recipe which also happens to be available online here. I'm really bummed that I couldn't find the recipe for my tried and trusted recipe, so here's REALLY hoping this one works out!
The first step is to soak your fruit - this recipe says for 6 hours, but I think the longer the better.
Also, although this recipe uses rum, you could use brandy or whatever - and if you don't want to use alcohol at all I'm pretty sure orange juice would work just fine.
So, the first step is to cream your butter and brown sugar until pale and light, than add 4 eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition:
Next, the dry ingredients go in - that is, the flours, fresh breadcrumbs and spices. The recipe calls for nutmeg and cinnamon, I added a little bit of ground cloves too - just cos I think they're Christmassy.
Then stir in the fruit. I added some slivered almonds too, since I'm sure the recipe I usually use has almonds in it.
Now its time for the stir up.
I like to play Bob Marley for this bit - but that's completely up to you ;o)
Everyone has to have a stir - its the law (well, the tradition) - and make a wish too!
Perhaps the part that seems trickiest is the actual cooking - here's how I do it:
Prepare the pudding basin by brushing with melted butter, and lining the bottom with baking paper. It's a good idea to trace around your basin and cut your paper to size before you fill it with pudding mix!! (ask me how know!)
Instead of the 8 cup I used two smaller (4 cup) basins, since we're having two Christmas dinners and I wanted a pudding for each.
Spoon the mixture in an smooth the top, then cover with a circle of baking paper.
Next cut a square of foil and a square of baking paper each about 30cm.
Put the paper on the foil and fold twice to make a pleat. This is so that the pudding has room to expand whilst cooking. Then cover the basin with the pleated foil and paper, with the foil on the outside.
I'm sure some people have fancy kitchen type string to tie their pudding, but I have always found a bit of acrylic yarn works just as well.
I do use white though,ever since Bridget Jones turned her soup blue with kitchen string - you know, just in case.
Then just plonk your basin into a saucepan, pour in boiling water to about 3/4 of the way up the side of the basin, bring it to a simmer, and then pop on the lid.
Leave it simmering for about 4 hours, checking the pan every half hour or so, to make sure there's still enough water in there.
You can test for done-ness with a skewer like a regular cake, but I just press the top and see if it feels done, firm I guess.., then I spend the next month hoping like heck that when I turn the pudding out on Christmas day it will be right =)
Happy puddinging!! =)