This pudding is really best when made a year in advance and allowed to mellow. It was customary to make it just before Christmas — and use it the following year. Everyone in the family was supposed to stir the pudding once for good luck. If you can’t make it the year before, at least give it a few weeks to age.
Superb English Plum Pudding
Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)
- 1 pound seedless raisins
- 1 pound sultana raisins
- 1/2 pound currants
- 1 cup thinly sliced citron
- 1 cup chopped candied peel
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound finely chopped suet – powdery fine
- 1 1/4 cups cognac
- 1 1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
- 1 cup scalded milk
- 1 cup sherry or port
- 12 eggs, well beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.
- Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar.
- Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full.
- Cover with foil and tie it firmly.
- Steam for 6-7 hours.
- Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes.
- Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place for at least several weeks up to a year.
- Steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold.
- Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table.
- Serve with hard sauce or cognac sauce. – See recipe below
Makes 12 servings
This is a traditional sauce to be served with Plum Pudding.
Brandy Butter (Hard Sauce)
- 1 1/8 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 4 tablespoons brandy
- Place butter, confectioners’ sugar, orange rind, orange juice, and brandy or cognac into food processor and mix until smooth.
- Pile sauce into serving bowl and refrigerate. Remove from fridge about one hour before serving.