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Ah, plum pudding… It wouldn’t be Christmas without it, would it?

OK, this is a tricky one. I have never made one but I was discussing it with a friend of mine the other day and in her family, they actually have instilled a pudding making day a few weeks before Christmas because it just wouldn’t get done otherwise.

The process she described was quite long although not terribly complicated. This is a case where if you MAKE IT, good on you, but if you decide to FAKE IT, I totally get it…

PUDDING

MAKE IT…

This pudding can be made up to three months in advance and doused with extra rum each month for additional flavour and moisture. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. (This recipe was borrowed from the Gourmet Traveller)

Serves 10, Cooking Time Prep time 10 mins, cook 5 hrs (plus macerating)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated
  • 100 gm each  sultanas, raisins and currants*
  • 100 gm  dried figs, stalks removed, coarsely chopped*
  • 100 gm  pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
  • 100 gm  candied orange rind, coarsely chopped*
  • 60 gm  glacé ginger, coarsely chopped*
  • 1  lemon and 1 orange, finely grated rind and juice only
  • 150 ml  stout
  • 80 ml  dark rum, plus extra for flaming
  • 1 tsp each  ground mixed spice, ground ginger and ground nutmeg*
  • ½ tsp  ground cinnamon*
  • 400 gm  brown sugar*
  • 200 gm  plain flour, sifted*
  • 200 gm  cleaned suet (see note) or cold butter, coarsely grated
  • 150 gm  day-old fine breadcrumbs
  • 50 gm  blanched almonds, roasted, coarsely chopped
  • 6  eggs, lightly whisked

METHOD

Combine apple, dried fruit, candied fruit, glacé ginger, rinds and juices, alcohol and spices in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for 24 hours to macerate. Add sugar, flour, fat, breadcrumbs, nuts and a pinch of salt to fruit mixture. Mix well to combine, then fold in eggs.

Spoon mixture into a buttered 2 litre-capacity heatproof bowl. Cover with three layers of greased baking paper (overhanging sides) and tie securely with kitchen string.

Place in a large, deep saucepan with enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up sides of pudding bowl. Cover and bring back to the boil over medium heat. Boil until pudding is cooked through (4-5 hours, topping up with extra boiling water if necessary). If serving immediately, remove baking paper, invert onto serving plate, pour over rum and ignite with a match. Otherwise, allow to cool and refrigerate until required. To reheat pudding, place in a large, deep saucepan with enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up sides of bowl. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat. Boil gently until heated through (3-4 hours). Turn pudding out onto a serving plate, pour over rum and ignite with a match.

Note Suet may need to be ordered in advance from your butcher.

OR FAKE IT…

These plum puddings made by Stephen’s fine foods will either save you a lot of time as a host or are perfect as a sweet little gift as a guest. Based in the Victorian high country, Stephen’s Fine Foods has built a solid reputation for their traditional puddings. Made with the finest and traditional Australian ingredients, these rich and moist puddings are intensely fruit-laden, strong on spices and boosted with hints of brandy and sherry. They taste as home-made as they look.

*These ingredients are available from The Essential Ingredient Newcastle.

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