The Night Before Christmas Pudding

**Note: apparently you can make Christmas Pudding the night before (but who wants to fuss with that when there are festivities going on?) however it needs at least 8 hours to steam and it is suppose to be best when it has been “fed” in the weeks coming, indeed some recipes remarked that they knew of someone making it a whole year in advance and feeding it every week.  So, plan accordingly. **

Friday and Saturday we nipped up the rest of our ingredients, neither Walmart nor Wegmans carried candied peel or dried currents…But Tops did, Huzzah! good old Tops Friendly Markets. We also needed Barley Wine, a Stout and some dark rum, so we headed out to Beers of the World (…which had moved since last I’d been there, thank the gods for technology, it wasn’t that far from the other location).  I looked up Barley Wine before hand and a few people said that you can use Stout instead/as well, but I decided that since we have this wonderful store we’d follow the recipe by the book.  Barley Wine is a strong, dark beer with a faint golden-like lemony orange (possibly apricot) taste.  It isn’t bad, and a clerk at Beers of the World was most helpful in locating just the right beers to use (and if you go to a place like this they don’t make you by a whole six pack, you can buy the bottles individually which is great for someone like me who doesn’t drink a whole bunch of beer). 20161205_092743

On our drive back we stopped by our local meat market and I got my goose!  I’m so excited!  I’m looking up recipes and deciding how I want to dress him for the occasion. 20161205_085535

The rest of my time was spent between Baby Bat and my knitting projects.  Saturday night we went out to a local Tree Lighting Ceremony. Now, I get that Christmas generally accepted as a Christian holiday, and have opted to just enjoy everything and not engage in the annual splitting of hairs that go across my newsfeed or get brought up in conversation. Lets all just get along. Living and working in the city I had grown use to everyone being politically correct, respectful of everyone’s beliefs and inclusive (which is totally cool too…until you have some crazy lady ripping a store’s seasonal (seasonal, not Christmas!) decorations down, without the consent of management or anyone for that matter, in the name of…political correctness?).  All that being said it was startling and pleasantly surreal when they announced that they were now going to pray before they lit the tree.  Good on ’em mate.  The tree was finally lit up and carols were sung, Santa made his appearance arriving in a fire truck (owing to the amount of Peppa Pig we see he is not Santa but Father Christmas in this house.  It was Elf themed and there looked to be a lot of fun activities. In the gym there was a big blow up fence of sorts and big kids kicking  a ball around and Baby bat wanted to get in and join them.  This was kind of the end of the event for us since a temper tantrum followed when I wouldn’t let her in there and coloring just wasn’t as fun as usual.  She fell asleep on the way home and stayed that way for most of my early pudding prep.  With all my ingredients, a shot of some Rumple Minze  and the TV turned to It’s a Wonderful Life I began my adventure.

When I made Treacle Pudding I used a recipe I found from Delia Online. As that turned out really well I figured Delia Smith wouldn’t let me down and so I elected to use her Traditional Christmas Pudding recipe.

First I had to prep some English Mixed Spice it is kind of like Pumpkin Spice but I’d say its fragrance is stronger.20161203_202705

After you shake that (…like a polaroid picture) the next thing is to shred some suet. Suet is beef kidney fat (yum?)  It gets used in mince pies and other stuff.  If this doesn’t sound appetizing and/or you are vegetarian you can freeze shortening and shred that, apparently it gets the job done but it doesn’t taste the same or throws the texture off or something.

20161203_203753So 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of packed shredded frozen beef kidney fat later mix in 3 oz bread crumbs, 1 tsp of mixed spice, 1 cup of dark brown sugar and  additional 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (we are now currently out of nutmeg after this).

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Next 3 oz each of raisins and golden raisins (sultanas).  I poured the whole box of dried currents in…the recipe calls for roughly 9.5 oz and my box had 10 oz (I didn’t feel like setting aside 1 tablespoon so in it went).  1 oz of candied orange peel and 1 oz of ground almonds (the recipe doesn’t say to grind them, this was a judgment call I made, but she has some other Christmas cake recipes where the almonds are whole blanched and arranged in a decorative manner on the top of the cake so this might be open to interpretation). 20161203_2111151 small unpeeled, cored and chopped cooking apple goes in the mix (I used a jazz apple) and the zest of 1/2 a lemon and half an orange (it was at this point that my dry fingers started to shout at me that this is why god made McCormack Spices and perhaps in the future I will use 1/4 tsp of dried lemon and 1 tablespoon (?) of dried orange zest…might need to check that equivalency, my notes are smudged).

Lastly mix 3 oz each of barley wine  and stout, 2 tablespoons of rum and 2 eggs.  When those are mixed up pour over the other mixture and stir up.  Delia notes that at this time it is traditional that the whole family would gather around and give the pudding a good stir and make a wish, Baby Bat was awake again so we did that too!

20161203_215338Now the mix needs to sit overnight.  So we wrapped it up and left it to do its thing and went to bed.

The next morning we stirred 1/4 cup of flour into the mix, covered it in a layer of wax paper and tin foil (like with the treacle pudding) and put it in our makeshift steaming pot for 8 hours…yes 8 hours and watch the water level so it doesn’t all evaporate and make the fire alarm go off (not that that happened or anything…).

20161204_082942While the pudding was steaming Baby Bat and I embarked on a  Treacle Fudge adventure which worked out  really well, my little taste tester approved.

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8 hours of steaming, fudge making, knitting and playing with Baby Bat takes us to 4:30pm when the timer finally went and I got to extract my masterpiece from the pot.  Now my darling pudding needs to drink until Christmas (much like the rest of us ’em I right? only joking).  How you feed a pudding, so far as I’ve found, don’t remove the pudding from the pan, prick the top a few times with a tooth pick and pour 1-2 oz of rum (or brandy, I’ve read a lot of people use brandy but this recipe didn’t have feeding instructions and it only called for rum so rum is what we use to keep down expenses).  This is the kind of treat that you serve with something called hard sauce and you light it on fire (!!).  I still have to make/figure out how that goes but the pudding is made and can be eaten  now if we so choose. We ended our Sunday be cutting up some fudge and going to a friend’s house to eat and craft while watching holiday movies.

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I did not in fact get out last week to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but have solid plans to go tomorrow!  Can’t wait!  Have a good week!

 

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