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Old 03-29-2014, 01:33 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
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.
That is an unforgiveable act in my book. Worse than refusing to share a recipe. Good food gone to waste.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:24 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Rocket_J_Dawg View Post
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.
Thank you for the youtube link, it was awesome! I watched it multiple times to get a feel for things.

I noticed a couple of things. When Gordon tied the string around the basin, he tied it at the absolute widest part, even though it had a little lip/extended edge around the outside. I would have expected it to be tied just beneath that so that when you lifted the string it would "catch" on the lip and pull the bowl up.

Also, I _think_ he said cooking it in a steel basin would keep the pudding moist and light. However, it looked like he was using a ceramic basin.

Last of all, Gordon's recipe doesn't include suet, just a little butter. So I tried reading up on suet and substitutions. Apparently, you can buy "vegetable suet" (which sounds like shortening) and there's a version of beef suet blended with flour that English people buy in their markets. Both come in little chips so they don't have to be grated.

In Australia it's much more difficult to get suet (I'm going to send my husband to ask the butcher we use when we buy our once-a-year quarter sides of beef). We get leaf lard from them so I expect they can supply it. What I'm uncertain about is whether to render it?

From my reading, suet is un-rendered, and tallow is rendered. But, when I make pastry with leaf lard, I always render it first.

Watching (other) Youtube videos on making traditional Christmas pudding just shows people dumping suet chips out of a package (those chips being the flour-and-suet mix, or the vegetable suet). That's not much help when I'll be using raw/fresh suet.

So...do I render the suet first? Do I just pull the membranes/tough bits out of the raw suet by hand and mince the good parts for the bowl?

hubby has a shopping list so I hope to make the pudding within the next week, and then let it age for six weeks. I'll be sure to come back and post an update once we try it.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:02 AM   #33
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I know it's a little tacky to reply to my own post, but I just returned from a walk to the shops and was semi-successful.

No suet but that's a longer trip.

I found:

Mixed spice, which I think is what I would call "apple pie spice". It's just a mixed blend of dessert spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, etc). Several Christmas pudding recipes suggest using it.

TWO pudding basins. One 2-liter and one 1-liter. They're actually steel mixing bowls that match our existing set of mixing bowls in smaller sizes. So they will be useful even when I'm not making puddings. They both have nice wide lips (to hold the string) and both fit in my tall saucepan and my crock pot.

The same brand/packaging of "dried fruit peel" I know my mother-in-law buys. I remembered the logo on the bag from helping her grocery shop.

A six-cup muffin/cupcake pan. While technically not for Chrismas puddings, I can cook single-serve sizes of less fussy puddings in it, as well as the expected cupcakes and muffins. Sadly, still no sign of a popover (or Yorkshire pudding) pan.

I nobly refrained from buying a horribly overpriced tiny bag of pine nuts.

I had a slightly funny exchange with my son (who is the family washer-of-dishes). I said I was buying the two bowls to make fruitcake. He responded that we don't need any more bowls (he defines 'need' by what he has to wash). So I asked him if he wanted to be responsible for eating 1/3 of a fruitcake the size of our smallest mixing bowl (which is still quite large). I could see him visualizing it in his head and then he said "No. Okay, buy the bowls."
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:52 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eachna View Post
I know it's a little tacky to reply to my own post, but I just returned from a walk to the shops and was semi-successful.

No suet but that's a longer trip.

I found:

Mixed spice, which I think is what I would call "apple pie spice". It's just a mixed blend of dessert spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, etc). Several Christmas pudding recipes suggest using it.

TWO pudding basins. One 2-liter and one 1-liter. They're actually steel mixing bowls that match our existing set of mixing bowls in smaller sizes. So they will be useful even when I'm not making puddings. They both have nice wide lips (to hold the string) and both fit in my tall saucepan and my crock pot.


The same brand/packaging of "dried fruit peel" I know my mother-in-law buys. I remembered the logo on the bag from helping her grocery shop.

A six-cup muffin/cupcake pan. While technically not for Chrismas puddings, I can cook single-serve sizes of less fussy puddings in it, as well as the expected cupcakes and muffins. Sadly, still no sign of a popover (or Yorkshire pudding) pan.
I nobly refrained from buying a horribly overpriced tiny bag of pine nuts.

I had a slightly funny exchange with my son (who is the family washer-of-dishes). I said I was buying the two bowls to make fruitcake. He responded that we don't need any more bowls (he defines 'need' by what he has to wash). So I asked him if he wanted to be responsible for eating 1/3 of a fruitcake the size of our smallest mixing bowl (which is still quite large). I could see him visualizing it in his head and then he said "No. Okay, buy the bowls."
Do you have any large individual custard bowls on hand? They serve very nicely for popovers. Or you could use that muffing tin if really pushed.
Amazon.com: custard cups

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...%3Apopover+pan

I am under the impression Amazon also exists in your part of the world. So they are easy to find.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:47 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post
Do you have any large individual custard bowls on hand? They serve very nicely for popovers. Or you could use that muffing tin if really pushed.
Amazon.com: custard cups

Amazon.com: popover pan

I am under the impression Amazon also exists in your part of the world. So they are easy to find.
Amazon exists in a technical sense (they will ship things here) but...

Shipping is exorbitant. Trying to buy a $50 cast iron pan was $400 in shipping. Granted, that's an extreme example (all that heavy iron), but even "light" stuff is in the $20-$50 range. Spending $30 to ship a $20 item just offends my thrifty gene :D.
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Eachna View Post
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:
http://shop.potsandpans.com/Shared/i...0057_x2400.jpg

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!
Pictures of pudding basins made of various materials - ceramic, metal, plastic, etc., with or without lids.
Pudding Basins at Lakeland Pyrex can be used too. If the basin doesn't have a lid, a cover of baking parchment with a pleat folded into it to allow the pudding to rise is tied on with string.

Steaming/boiling is done on the top of the stove or a slow cooker can be used for a small pudding if it keeps a boiling temperature. To boil the pudding stand it on an upturned sauce in a large saucepan/pot with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the basin. To steam it you can use a steamer attachment with holes in the base which sits on top of a pot of boiling water. Like one of these
Lakeland Stainless Steel Universal Steamer in steamers and smokers at Lakeland The basin stands in the steamer insert. The base is perforated so the steam can get to the basin. A double boiler isn't the same. It stops the steam reaching the basin.

The old Victorian Christmas card cannon ball shaped pudding, Like this
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=vi...ml%3B456%3B388 was achieved by flouring a cotton cloth, putting the mixture in the middle and tying the cloth up. This cloth parcel was then put in the boiling water and so cooked. Very messy - the basin is a vast improvement.

After steaming, the paper cover is changed and the pudding stored in a cool dry place (not the 'fridge or freezer) until Christmas. It can be fed with extra booze occasionally. Then when you are ready to eat it it must be boiled or steamed to re heat it. At this stage, some people reheat it in the microwave but I have read that this can be dangerous and cause a fire,
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:50 PM   #37
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Last of all, Gordon's recipe doesn't include suet, just a little butter. So I tried reading up on suet and substitutions. Apparently, you can buy "vegetable suet" (which sounds like shortening) and there's a version of beef suet blended with flour that English people buy in their markets. Both come in little chips so they don't have to be grated.

In Australia it's much more difficult to get suet (I'm going to send my husband to ask the butcher we use when we buy our once-a-year quarter sides of beef). We get leaf lard from them so I expect they can supply it. What I'm uncertain about is whether to render it?

From my reading, suet is un-rendered, and tallow is rendered. But, when I make pastry with leaf lard, I always render it first.

Watching (other) Youtube videos on making traditional Christmas pudding just shows people dumping suet chips out of a package (those chips being the flour-and-suet mix, or the vegetable suet). That's not much help when I'll be using raw/fresh suet.

So...do I render the suet first? Do I just pull the membranes/tough bits out of the raw suet by hand and mince the good parts for the bowl?

hubby has a shopping list so I hope to make the pudding within the next week, and then let it age for six weeks. I'll be sure to come back and post an update once we try it.
A couple of answers to points above.

Vegetable suet is available but the one time I tried it the puddings didn't keep. They went mouldy despite the storage conditions being exactly the same as usual.

No, you don't render the suet when you get it from the butcher. You have to remove the bits of skin and membrane and then grate it on the coarse side of the grater or put it through the mincer, if you have one. It's tossed in a little flour to keep the particles separate.


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Old 04-09-2014, 09:02 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eachna View Post
I know it's a little tacky to reply to my own post, but I just returned from a walk to the shops and was semi-successful.

No suet but that's a longer trip.

I found:

Mixed spice, which I think is what I would call "apple pie spice". It's just a mixed blend of dessert spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, etc). Several Christmas pudding recipes suggest using it.

TWO pudding basins. One 2-liter and one 1-liter. They're actually steel mixing bowls that match our existing set of mixing bowls in smaller sizes. So they will be useful even when I'm not making puddings. They both have nice wide lips (to hold the string) and both fit in my tall saucepan and my crock pot.

The same brand/packaging of "dried fruit peel" I know my mother-in-law buys. I remembered the logo on the bag from helping her grocery shop.

A six-cup muffin/cupcake pan. While technically not for Chrismas puddings, I can cook single-serve sizes of less fussy puddings in it, as well as the expected cupcakes and muffins. Sadly, still no sign of a popover (or Yorkshire pudding) pan.

I nobly refrained from buying a horribly overpriced tiny bag of pine nuts.

I had a slightly funny exchange with my son (who is the family washer-of-dishes). I said I was buying the two bowls to make fruitcake. He responded that we don't need any more bowls (he defines 'need' by what he has to wash). So I asked him if he wanted to be responsible for eating 1/3 of a fruitcake the size of our smallest mixing bowl (which is still quite large). I could see him visualizing it in his head and then he said "No. Okay, buy the bowls."
"Sadly, still no sign of a popover (or Yorkshire pudding pan". When we make mini yorkies at home we just use a bog standard muffin tray (or cupcake tray if you want them smaller). No need for specialist equipment.

(Please can we get away from this conflation of fruit cake and pudding? They are not the same.)
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:40 PM   #39
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"Sadly, still no sign of a popover (or Yorkshire pudding pan". When we make mini yorkies at home we just use a bog standard muffin tray (or cupcake tray if you want them smaller). No need for specialist equipment.

(Please can we get away from this conflation of fruit cake and pudding? They are not the same.)
Both baked and steamed cakes with bits of fruit in them are "fruit cakes". They are not the same thing but they're from the same family.

HOWEVER... to be clear, I made Mad Cook's _fruitcake_ recipe and aged it for two weeks. I bought a bottle of rum to flavor it. As suggested, I used a knitting needle to stab it and add extra liquor. I followed all the directions/measurements to the letter to have a baseline from which to compare future modifications. I even bought a small bag of self-raising flour.

I served it for dessert over the weekend with a flavored cream thing to pour over it (I forget what my husband called it but, it tasted just like eggnog without the alcohol to me). My husband said it's "Not like Mum's" but he also said "It's nice enough". He agreed to stop complaining he misses her fruitcake if I make it in the future.

So, the fruitcake is done, now I just need to master a Christmas pudding. My husband's maternal aunt (who has all the same recipes as my MIL as they're sisters) has agreed to share whatever recipes she can dig up when she gets some time. So, I may have an "in" to getting the much-loved steamed pudding my husband misses.

Edit: Thanks to Mad Cook, and everyone else who contributed to the thread. I wanted to make sure to post an update as so often people ask for information but don't post an update on the results after they try something.

Edit2: I made mini Yorkshire puddings for Easter (falling back to my own muffin pan), and I even made sure the centers collapsed into little cups to hold gravy, rather than being puffed-out like popovers, and discovered my husband had never eaten them before. *sad face*. I don't understand Australian cooking. My husband keeps telling me if I just cook "iconic English dishes" I can't go wrong, and then I serve him something and he has no idea what it is. The same thing happened with bubble and squeak and toad-in-the-hole.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:17 PM   #40
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Thanks for a conclusion to the story Eachna. I've been following along hoping we'd hear how yours turned out. I must say you have the patience Job in trying to please your husband. "My husband said it's "Not like Mum's" but he also said "It's nice enough". He agreed to stop complaining he misses her fruitcake if I make it in the future." That would not float in this house, and I'd be tempted to buy him a one way plane ticket to visit Mum. I'm only half kidding there and congratulations on a job well done!
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