It was obvious from the start I was going to have to make my own plum pudding because it’s a Christmas pudding that’s celebrated in mid-February. Incidentally, this makes me suspicious about the reputability of a lot of these food holidays, and I am looking into it.
As I prepared this dessert, it was obvious that no one was going to be lining up to lick the beaters. Sure there’s standard dessert stuff in there like sugar, flour, spices and fruits, but there’s also a big old clump of suet (pronounced sue-it) — A.K.A. beef fat. I could have used butter, but I figured if this thing was going to be a pain in the butt, I was going to make sure it clipped me in both cheeks. Plus suet was only a quarter for a 1/2 pound. At that price, I’ll be spreading it on my toast.
Between suet, sultanas, currants and candied peels, I was at the grocery store doing web searches on practically half the ingredients. Currants and sultanas are grapes, by the way. Like I don’t have enough trouble ordering wine.
Plum pudding is an English Christmas tradition that some of us have adopted in the States. Although my family’s Christmas spread has some New England influence, the Christmas pudding just wasn’t part of our gig, and you know it’s got no shot of coming in late. Anyone who’s tried to bring their “world famous” whatever to someone else’s holiday dinner, knows the reaction is universally the same. Tiny samples, benign comments, and at the end of the night, your barely eaten dish is returned to you with a smile that says, next time leave it outside for the dogs.
This was time consuming, adding together all the whatever and steaming it, but I’m thankful because some recipes call for months of refrigeration first. You know, the real challenge for me was coming up with the
pudding bowls. Apparently there’s basins just for this sort of pudding, that look like flower pots. I almost used a flower pot because I didn’t know where to find these little ramekins. The things I used were from Walmart for $5.95, and they worked alright.
Before today, the closest I’d come to plum pudding was Mother Goose’s Little Jack Horner, the kid who thought he was well behaved because he stuck his fingers in the dessert. That’s just awful parenting going on there.
I’m not sure plum pudding’s worth all the fuss, and it smells a little like beef fat while it steams. I’m also skeptical of it being so much better if you wait months. I made two though, so I’m going to find out. It is pretty good. The spices and a hint of suet kind of nail you in the back of your pallet, but a decent scoop of Whopper ice cream and a brandy take care of that.
The short of it is, it’s a very English dessert. I’ll stick with my pumpkin and pecan pie.
(See you Monday for Tortellini Day!)