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Old 03-27-2014, 04:50 AM   #21
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If you want something delicious but less daunting then google a recipe for DUNDEE fruit cake which is simple and more economical to make. This is more of an 'everyday' fruit cake but still delivers high on flavor. Very popular for afternoon tea! If you like that and get your confidence then store up the ingredients over some weeks for the christmas fruit cake. This is what I do around September as it is not the cheap option but SO worth it. It can also be used as a Wedding or Christening cake. That is how special it is. A Christmas pudding is very similar with the ingredients but is a steamed dessert as others have pointed out.

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Old 03-27-2014, 06:18 PM   #22
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I don't understand that your husband's mother will not share a recipe that he loves.

I don't like fruit cake that has any sort of citrus rind in the fruit. A friend, an English lady, shared this recipe with me. She uses the candied citrus rind (shudder) and I do not.

Hilda’s Teacake/Fruit Cake
This is a flexible recipe

1-1/2 pounds dried fruit, your choice, mix or match
(cranberries, raisins, currents, chopped apricots, etc. You could even add that awful citrus peel which I leave out, )
2 ounces candied cherries (also optional)
1/2 pound dark brown sugar
15 oz brewed Black Pekoe Tea, cooled
In a bowl, mix sugar and fruit, pour tea over to soak overnight.
Next day stir in one egg and one pound of self rising flour. Add some nuts or coconut if you like.
You can replace some of the tea liquid with a couple spoons of brandy or add a teaspoon of vanilla.
Divide between two Pam sprayed loaf pans. Bake at 350º one hour. Test for doneness with a pick. Leave in pans to cool.
Another option: Wrap evenly in brandy soaked cheesecloth. Wrap tightly in foil for storage.

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Old 03-28-2014, 03:32 AM   #23
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Many years ago I had a recipe that called for cooking thin slices of lemons in thickened sugar water. After cooking the slices for quite some time, the rinds were really sweet and very soft. Quite edible. I was left with more than needed for the recipe and placed the rest in the fridge. I used them as a topper for poppy seed lemon bread and other lemon desserts. Then I made an orange pound cake and did the same with sliced orange slices. Cooking the slices with the rind on, removes the bitterness of the rind and pith. The orange pound cake was quite a hit and to made enough so that I ended up using all the leftover slices. The same with the lemon poppy seed bread.

For those who don't care for the sugared rind of citrus fruits, this is an excellent way to make them taste so much better.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:33 PM   #24
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there is one thing that I hate more than people who do not share recipes and that is when people purposely give wrong ingredients or the amount of the ingredients. If my wife would ask my mother for my favorite recipe so she can make for me, my wife would instantly become a favorite daughter in law, albeit there no others. I am the only child. But never the less my would love her just for that.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:53 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post
The list of ingredients is daunting. With prices rising at a rate that boggles the mind, it is a pricey dish to make. But it is mostly all the dried fruit that is put into the piece. Eachna can leave out the ginger in any recipe she ends up choosing. It won't affect the end result at all.

The hardest part of making this dish, whether it be the pudding or cake, is the mixing. You have to stir it by hand in order to get all that dried fruit mixed evenly. Using the mixer just makes the gluten develop even more and you end up with a tough cake.

Perhaps if Eachna would ask her husband to ask his mother for the recipe, she just may find her more receptive to the idea of sharing.
Before I forget...thank you to EVERYONE who answered.

My mother in law doesn't like me because I'm American, and she won't do anything positive for my husband if it might benefit me. So, he can't ask her for her recipes because she _knows_ I'll be the one cooking/baking them. She doesn't care that he'll be eating them...it means he'll be a little happier with me and she doesn't want to contribute to that.

I've been doing some reading on steamed puddings (thanks to the kind folks who mentioned that) and I think that _may_ be what she made. I'm not certain as I didn't get to see her cook it. But the other parts...marinating it in brandy, and lighting it on fire and stuff. She did all that, and those all appear to be elements of a steamed pudding. My in-laws are kind of snobs about anything "English" being best. My MIL's family is Scottish and my FIL's family is Irish, but as adults they both decided to choose "English" traditions. That's kind of surprising to me, because my Irish-American friends probably would have socked me if I suggested _anything_ "English" was better than "Irish", but I guess to each their own :D. Anyway, apparently English people love steamed puddings. And the steamed puddings are full of dried fruit, which makes them a fruitcake.

But, I'm finding the process of steaming a cake (or cake-like thing) a little confusing.

I don't have any "pudding basins" to cook in. It looks like they may just be a metal or pyrex glass bowl. Is that right? Is there something special that makes them useful for steaming a pudding (some particular shape or ratio or something?). In pictures the puddings all seem to be rounded with points on top.

I found some directions on how to steam a pudding in a crock pot: How To Steam A Christmas or Plum Pudding In A Crockpot. | Irish American Mom

In those directions, there was a mention that you could cook a pudding in a bain marie. That's what I would call a double-boiler. I have a rather nifty add-on to one of my regular pots that turns it into a double-boiler. It's an insert that fits perfectly into the pot. I use it to make sauces and ganache, because steam can't get "inside" the insert and spoil the emulsions. The pot lid also fits if I need it. The insert has a rounded bottom. Could I grease the insert, pour the liquid pudding inside, put the lid on, put water into the bottom pot and steam it that way? Does the steam have to reach the pudding or is it solely meant to be a water bath to gently cook the pudding? Is the wrapping of the pudding basin a holdover from when average people didn't own things like double boilers and was just to keep water in the water-bath from sloshing into the bowl?

This isn't exactly what my double-boiler looks like, but it's close:

I'm not sure if I'm over-thinking this. I have made cheesecake (it's one of my specialities) and I cook those in a water bath. The cheesecake pan is _not_ wrapped up in any way (other than making sure the water won't leak into the pan). That means the top is exposed to the steam moving around in the oven. I'm uncertain if the pudding can be exposed to steam also, or if it "must" be tightly wrapped to protect it from the steam. If it "must" be tightly wrapped to protect it from the steam, does that mean I can accomplish the same thing in my double-boiler?

Edit: Oops, didn't realize how long my questions turned out to be. Whatever help people could provide would be appreciated!
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:59 PM   #26
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I have been reading your thread and it reminded me of Gordon Ramsay's Christmas special. This may help you not so much for the recipe but more for his technique.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:06 PM   #27
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My great aunt and grandmother made steamed plum pudding, but for the life of me, I can't remember how. Seems to me there was cheese cloth and boiling water involved.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:56 PM   #28
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My mother, who was not a cook, did quite the opposite. When we were married, Mom copied a bunch of her recipes which she said were " my" favorite recipes and gave these to her new DIL. Sharing is nice and it is the thought that counts.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:49 PM   #29
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Actually any heavy ceramic bowl will do to steam it in. As you saw in the video, Gordon set the bowl on a sort of ceramic disc. You can turn a large mug upside down for the same effect. The bottom of the cup should be big enough for the ceramic bowl to sit on without wobbling.

I used to make Brown Bread when I made my Boston Baked Beans. At that time ground coffee came in 2 pound tins. I used one of them to steam the Bread in. I used the same method as Gordon did with his Christmas Pudding. The only difference was I sat the tin on a bowl turned upside down.

If all else fails, take a look at eBay to see if they have any steam pans or pots for sale. Or you can Google for them and come up with something like this.

SCI Plum Pudding Mold - SCI B44022

My first husband would always tell me how much better it was in England. I got so fed up that finally one day I told him to go back if it is so much better there than here. He never mentioned it again.

I hope your Christmas Pudding turns out much tastier and tender than any your MIL made. Then let DH rave to her and maybe she may even ask for your recipe. Good luck! And here's hoping for the greatest success you will ever have in your kitchen!
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:53 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Whiskadoodle View Post
My mother, who was not a cook, did quite the opposite. When we were married, Mom copied a bunch of her recipes which she said were " my" favorite recipes and gave these to her new DIL. Sharing is nice and it is the thought that counts.
That's very nice. My MIL did the same for me when I married her son years ago.

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cake, fruit

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