Plum Pudding

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Sous Chef
Sep 5, 2010
Usa, Michigan
I'm toying with the idea of making a traditional plum pudding this year for Christmas. I guess all the historical buildings with English architecture and Jane Austin Novels I've been absorbed in this year are finally getting to me. ;)
I know it's a lot of work, but we don't have anything major planned yet. I have a few questions though, so I'm relying on our British friends to help me become a little less ignorant:
1. Have I missed the window? 1 recipe said to make it a year ahead, others just said to marinade the fruit a few days before assembling and cooking, but all seemed to assume that it wouldn't be eaten fresh. Is there and ideal amount of time before serving?
2. Can it only be made in huge batches? The only recipes I found called for pounds and pounds of ingredients, and it's just me, my husband, and my 15-month-old, and I'm not sure my husband will be terribly enthusiastic about this one. I gather that it keeps for a fair length of time, but honestly, I don't think I could consume 4 lbs of this in a year.
3. How do you steam a 4 lb or more mass of batter/dough/whatever it turns out to be? The recipes just said to steam it in foil or cloth. On Wikipedia I saw a picture of a course fabric bag suspended by rope, but I'm not sure if that's feasible in my kitchen.
4. Does anyone have a recipe you'd be willing to share? I would prefer one with as limited varieties of alcohol as possible. We don't drink at all in my home and I won't keep on hand on a long-term basis. I'll consider buying alcohol to cook with as long as it cooks off, but honestly 1 recipe called for 3 different types. I'm not willing to buy 3 types of alcohol to make 1 dish when the extra will just get poured down the drain. That's a bit pricey and wasteful for me.

Disclaimer: I may or may not make this. My decision will be determined by the answers to these questions in part, but also on my schedule and the availability of necessary ingredients. I will truly appreciate any answers I receive, but they may not be put to good use, at least this year. Don't worry, I won't be offended if someone says "maybe this dish is just not for you. Try this dish instead." :) Thanks in advance!
First off google Delia Smiths Christmas Pudding, this will be a good starter pud.
It is not to late to make a pud, they do improve with age but a new pud is still delish. That being said 3 yrs ago I made five 2 pint puds, I do the first part of the cooking let them cool then dip them into brandy, I then food-saver vac pack them. I then re-heat each year in the bag.
Big puds, Delia's recipe is for a 2 pint recipe that you can split into smaller container, to use as individual portions or to store, if you go for the big one and have left overs, my fav method of dealing with this is to freeze egg sized blobs of ice cream as hard as possible, coat the ice cream with the left overs like a scotch egg, freeze again then dip in batter and deep fry.
I have never used a pudding cloth I always use a Pyrex bowl.
Delias recipe calls for rum,stout and barley wine, I just use stout in mine.

Christmas puds are an odyssey, you will find you add subtract ect till you find your recipe, the current hottest shop bought pud in the Heston Blumenthal pud from Waitrose, it has an orange in the middle.This is just a spin on the Sussex Pond pud.

Some years ago we spent Christmas in a Gite in France, the owner of the Gite was a chef in a local bistro, the only part of our Christmas meal that was trad was the pud, with a bit of arm twisting he and his kids tried it with brandy sauce, 3 days later I had to show him how to make one in his Bistro, it was then on his menu for next year.

I hope you give it a bash.
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