English Pudding

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Journalist Kate Colquhoun traces the origins of traditional Christmas foods, such as English pudding, the boiled dessert made with suet or lard, in Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking.

English Plum Pudding
Makes 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup cut-up candied fruit peel
  • 1/4 cup cut-up candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) ground kidney suet
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon brandy
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional)
  • Hard Sauce (see below)

Mix flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Stir in fruit, walnuts and bread crumbs. Combine suet, brown sugar, eggs and 1 tablespoon brandy, and stir into flour mixture. Pour into a well-greased 4-cup mold and cover with aluminum foil. Place mold on a rack set in to a Dutch oven, and pour boiling water into Dutch oven to rack level. Cover and boil over low heat until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 3 hours, adding boiling water if necessary.

Remove mold from Dutch oven. Unmold. Heat 1/4 cup brandy until warm, ignite and pour over pudding. Serve with Hard Sauce.

Hard Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy

Beat butter, confectioners sugar and brandy until smooth.

Music break: Cherry Pink by James Last