Sunday, March 21, 2010

Christmas is only 279 days away!

It is very important to get ready for Christmas early. And I don't mean shopping!

This year, I am following an old English tradition and making a Christmas Pudding. Technically speaking, I am already late since I should have done the first step right after New Year. But would an extra 80 days make a huge difference? I hope not.

Neither Mrs Martian nor I have ever made a Christmas Pudding even though we both lived in the UK for a while. So I turned to my friend, Deborah. She gave me the recipe that her mom, back in England, uses and showed me how to modify it to use a pressure cooker and save a lot of time in the preparation.

Today, I did the first step: mix all the ingredients and put it in the fridge overnight to mix in the flavors. I did have to modify some of the ingredients as I could not get everything at my local Vons supermarket. The measurements are English units where an Imperial pint is actually 20 fluid ounces instead of 16. Luckily, when weighing things they use the same ounces as here in the US.

  • 12 oz. fresh breadcrumbs - see below
  • 12 oz. plain flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered mace
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered cinnamon
  • 12 oz. shredded suet - see below
  • 8 oz. caster sugar - regular white sugar
  • 8 oz. soft brown sugar
  • 8 oz. mixed candied peel
  • 12 oz. currants
  • 8 oz. sultanas
  • 1 lb 4 oz raisins, stoned
  • 6 oz. almonds, blanched and chopped
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • grated ring and juice of 1 orange
  • 4 tbsp. brandy
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1/4 pint milk
The breadcrumbs were made just before mixing the ingredients by putting the slices of white bread in a convection oven at 250 F for about 15 minutes. After cooling, remove the crust and slice into small pieces.

Suet is not readily available here so we decided to use shortening instead.  I found a nice recipe online by Dr Sista Outlaw on the website Progressive Dinner Party. She shows how to use shortening instead of suet. We decided upon 8 oz of shortening.

We replaced the mixed candied peel with some dry bing cherries.

Also important to this recipe is having pudding bowls. This recipe makes 4 1/2 pints of pudding.We have multiple bowls ranging from 2 pints down to 1/2 pint.

Today's step.

The first step is to put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure it is large enough for you to mix it well. Beat the eggs. Add the lemon juice, orange juice and brandy to the eggs. Pour the mixture and the shortening into the bowl of dry ingredients. Start mixing by hand and pour the milk until it is a gooey mixture. Cover with parchment paper and put in the fridge.

Here's what the gooey mess looks like

Come back tomorrow.

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