National Plum Pudding Day, February 12

plum-puddingPlum Pudding is a traditional English dessert usually served at Christmas and New Year’s.  There are no plums in plum pudding.  When the recipe was written in the 17th century all dried fruit was referred to as plums.

If you’re an American the term pudding may be a bit confusing.  In England all desserts are referred to as pudding.  In America a pudding is a flavored creamy dessert that is milk based.

A Plum Pudding is more like a cake and closely resembles a fruit cake.  It contains nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, nuts, dates and other ingredients.  A full recipe will appear below.

A plum pudding is not baked.  It is either boiled or steamed.  The cooking process can take up to eight hours or longer.  Part of the tradition of making a plum pudding is that every member of the household takes a turn at stirring the mixture.  This is a way to bring luck in the coming New Year.

The reason Plum Pudding Day is celebrated on February 12th is unknown.  I would suggest this.  Since Plum Pudding Day is two days before Valentine’s Day maybe it could be observed by inviting all your single friends to come and stir the pudding.  Maybe this will bring them luck on the holiday for lovers.

Plum pudding is usually served by pouring brandy over it and igniting the cake.  A creamy brandy sauce is often spooned over the dessert.  Brandy Butter is also served along with Plum Pudding.  Brandy Butter is butter mixed with brandy and sugar to a spreadable consistency.

Plum Pudding

YIELD

Each pudding serves 12

INGREDIENTS

  1. Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)
    • 1 pound seedless raisins
    • 1 pound sultana raisins
    • 1/2 pound currants
    • 1 cup thinly sliced citron
    • 1 cup chopped candied peel
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon mace
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 pound finely chopped suet – powdery fine
    • 1 1/4 cups cognac
  2. Pudding
    • 1 1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
    • 1 cup scalded milk
    • 1 cup sherry or port
    • 12 eggs, well beaten
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Cognac

B PREPARATION

    1. Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.
    2. Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.
    3. To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. Serve with hard sauce or cognac sauce.
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