This is what kept me from knitting today (a bit off-topic)

Now, the photo may look like some brown mush mixed up in a steel bowl, but it's really the start of some very traditional Christmas puddings. Making them has kept me from adjusting the neck opening on a sweater that I'd have otherwise shown you.

The finished puddings used 5lb (about 2.3kg) of dried fruit. Don't worry, however, they aren't all for me: I'll be giving some away! They keep for ages, so I only make them every two years. If you've never tried a year-old pudding, which is as dark as dark can be, you haven't lived. Each pudding basin gets covered with a 'lid' of aluminium foil and grease-proof paper tied with string. I've left them simmering away in pans of boiling water for the rest of the evening.

The traditional day to make your puddings is "Stir-up Sunday", the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent. This year it falls on 23rd November, so I'm a little early. The day is called "Stir-up Sunday" because of the prayer used during the traditional Latin Mass of this day, which begins "Excita, quaesumus, Domine..." ("Stir-up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful..."). Nothing to do with catering at all as it happens, but a handy way of reminding one that one's puddings need to be made well in advance of Christmas itself.

I doubt I'll be taking on that sweater this evening, maybe I'll start a festive scarf...


Seeing that mixture, and the ones already in the bowls, has made me really homesick, but as I'm the only one in the family who will eat Christmas pudding it's a waste of effort making them. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

ronhuber's picture

They look so delicious. I miss them terribly.

Is there a shareable recipe anywhere in that post??? I'm afraid our American fruitcake pales by comparison.

Marknits's picture

YES, YES, YES,... please share the recipe! And I believe the Episcopal BCP still uses the "Stirring" collect for that Sunday as well.

Jason1978's picture

That looks superb.....I do love them but unfortunately noone else in my family does, I did make a traditional scottish weddingcake for friends and it still tasted good after 1.5 years, of course the 3 bottles of whiskey might have something to do with that

'Why are you weeping? Did you imagine that I was immortal?'

MMario's picture

Don't do the fruitcake, but my molasses -cranberry walnut steamed pudding is really good. Of course there is also chocolate bread pudding with hard sauce.....

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Are you willing to share the recipes, or are you just making us envious?

MMario's picture

I'll have to look up the molasses one; haven't made it recently.

The chocolate bread pudding is baked. The impirtant part is the hard sauce.

Cream together equal quantities of butter and sugar. Stir in as much liquor (your choice) as it will hold (add gradually). Chill.

For the pudding:

bread - torn into bite sized pieces: enough 2/3rds fill whatever pan/dish you will be baking it in.

Milk/cream to cover bread

1/2 cup dutch cocoa per qt of liquid
1/4 cup sugar per qt of liquid; less if using a "sweet" bread - such as challah, or King's Hawaiian.

I know the sizes and quantities for the various baking dishes I use.

I beat the cocoa and sugar with 1 egg per cup of milk or cream. (For holidays I use heavy cream)
Melt 1 oz dark chocolate per cup of milk or cream (if I have a microwave I nuke it, if not, I melt it in the cream)

Mix the chocolate cream with the cocoa/eggs, pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. If the mixture looks too thick thin with a little more cream/milk.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. until set (about an hour )

Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes after removing from the oven but serve still warm, with chips of hard sauce scattered across, melting into the pudding.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Thank you - I'll try it this weekend.

MMario's picture

If you've ever made bread pudding it's really pretty much the same. YOu want the pudding to be a bit on the "bittersweet/not sweet" side, because the hard sauce is Super sweet.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Not just a lace god, but also a pudding god - we're trying to hold off second helpings until tomorrow!