Personally, I like to use this slack time between Christmas and New Year’s Day to think about New Year’s eve dinner. That brings me to the football-helmet looking thing in the picture up there. (The holly on top made the trip up here from Seattle in a package from Aunt Peggy) It is a rare and delicious pleasure, my friends, even if this picture doesn’t make it look that glamorous. It is my dad’s holiday pudding. The pud’s texture is part cake, part bread pudding. It is dark and spicy, sometimes drunk with brandy, always drizzled with the magical and mysterious (okay, not that mysterious, it involves lots of butter) condiment called foamy sauce. It is a British thing. We aren’t British and I don’t know exactly how my dad got into it, but he has been making them since I can remember. Here is Dad, on the phone with work, at the stove in his Christmas tie, making the foamy sauce.
This particular pud was made for me and my brother who are gluten-free, so Dad subbed in King Arthur GF flour, cup-for-cup. There are all kinds of ingredients for steamed puddings. Dad makes his with persimmons. They make for a lighter pudding.
The main special thing you need to make a pudding is a mold. Dad’s is an old one and it looks like this one:
And, because it is coming on New Years Eve, you might consider hiding something in the cake like a nice shiny dime. If you get the dime in your slice, the tradition says you’ll have good luck for the year to come. (Just be careful when you’re eating not to break a tooth.)
The other thing you need is time. It takes two hours steaming in the mold in a big soup pot. Here, while you wait, is a super meta picture of Aunt Barbara taking a picture of me taking a picture of the holiday basket she brought for us on the night we were going to exchange gifts and eat pudding. (After a traditional meal of take-out Indian of course.)
While it cools, you make the foamy sauce. See:
The recipes both come from the old Fanny Farmer Cookbook
Here’s how to make a pud, adapted from Fanny Farmer:
1 cup puréed persimmons (about 3 persimmons with skins removed)
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ lb butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons rum
1 cup all-purpose flour (or GF flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (you might also add a dash of clove and some Allspice)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup raisins (you can soak these in rum for at least an hour beforehand if you want)
Fill a pot that is large enough to hold a pudding mold with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. The mold must have a lid. Also there must be a rack or mason jar rings on the bottom under the mold so the water can move freely while the pudding is steaming. Grease the mold. Put the persimmon purée in a small bowl and stir in the baking soda. Set aside. (The persimmon mixture will foam and thicken). Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, lemon juice, rum and beat well. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt, and stir to blend. Add the persimmon mixture and beat until well mixed. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Spoon the batter into the mold, cover, lower into the water, bring to a boil and steam for 2 hours. Remove from the pot, and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Turn mold onto plate. Serve warm.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons brandy (or vanilla)
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy; add in the beaten egg and brandy (or vanilla). Transfer to the top of a double boiler and heat over simmering water, stirring continuously, until warm and thickened. Spoon over sliced pudding.
Here is a silly video of us bringing a piece of pudding to my parents’ neighbor Jack Roderick. Naturally we’re singing. (You have to turn your phone sideways to watch it, because my blog won’t upload vertical video. Blogger lesson learned.;))
For more holiday delights, go here.