Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Puddings

The Christmas season is upon us, and my vision of the holiday celebration includes all things Dickens. Central to the Christmas dinner is, of course, the Christmas Pudding! Traditionally, a Christmas Pudding is a Plumb Pudding, sort of a steamed fruitcake filled with all sorts of candied fruits and sometimes coins. A variant of that is actually called Christmas Pudding, and it is generally the same idea.

If your family is like mine, however, the concept of a cake filled with candied fruits is revolting to them. They would be hard pressed to touch it as a punishment, much less as a celebration of this joyful Holy Day. So what to do? Are we stuck with store-bought pumpkin pies? I say, "No!"

My wife's particular pleasure is chocolate mint. It is one of her favorite flavor combinations. Whilst perusing Anglo-Irish dessert recipes that might be in the spirit of a Dickensian celebration I came across the following, which seems as though it will fill the bill. Furthermore, unlike plumb puddings and Christmas puddings which have to ripen for a month, this one looks as though it might be best served warm out of the mold, so you can have it simmering away on the evening on which you will serve it! This recipe is, as yet, untried by me - I will report back after I attempt it.

Steamed Chocolate Mint Pudding

• 100g Softened butter
• 100g Golden caster sugar
• 200g Mint fondant chocolate
• 2T Hot water
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 175g Self-rising flour
• 4T Milk
• 200g White chocolate, broken into rough pieces, about 0.5 cm

1. Cream the butter until pale and fluffy.
2. Place the mint fondant chocolate and hot water in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and leave to cool for a couple of minutes until cool but not set. Stir the chocolate mixture into the butter and sugar mixture.
3. Beat the eggs, a little at a time. Fold in the flour, adding enough milk to give a soft-dropping consistency. Finally, stir in the white chocolate pieces.
4. Spoon the pudding mixture into a greased 900ml pudding basin. Cover the top of the sponge with a circle of greaseproof paper, seal with aluminum foil and secure with string.
5. Steam the pudding in a saucepan half filled with simmering water for 90 minutes, replenishing the water as it evaporates. You may also use a steamer to cook the pudding.
6. Cool slightly before turning out and serve with clotted cream and a glass of dessert wine.

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