CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH CUMQUAT BRANDY BUTTER
Our family never manages to eat the Christmas pudding on Christmas Day. What tends to happen is that it‚Äôs covered well and put back into the fridge.¬† In the evenings that follow, it is taken out¬† a slice at a time and warmed a little, to enjoy with a cup of tea after dinner.
Traditionally, Christmas pudding is made in advance to allow time for it to mature ‚Äď I make ours in October.
¬†The pudding will keep for a long time, as will the brandy butter ‚Äď that is, if you don‚Äôt eat it by the spoonful when you pass the fridge like I do, butter Ô¨Āend¬† that I am. It would be much better for me if I didn‚Äôt¬† make¬† the¬† brandy butter at all, but then it wouldn‚Äôt be Christmas!
365 g dehydrated cumquats (available from¬†Tolleys Nurseries), or any mixed peel¬†if not¬†available
225 g currants
225 g seedless raisins
225 g sultanas
1 cup (250 ml) cumquat brandy¬† or regular brandy
115 g plain Ô¨āour, plus¬† extra for dusting good¬† pinch of ground cinnamon
good¬† pinch of freshly grated¬† nutmeg good¬† pinch of ground ginger
good¬† pinch of ground mace
225 g chilled unsalted butter
225 g fresh breadcrumbs Ô¨Ānely grated¬† zest¬† of 2 lemons
2 granny smith apples, peeled and grated
75 g Ô¨āaked almonds
3 free-range eggs
C U M Q UAT¬† B R A N D Y B U T T E R
175 g icing sugar
175 g unsalted butter, softened
¬Ĺ cup (125 ml) cumquat brandy¬† or regular brandy
1 ¬† Combine the cumquats, currants, raisins, sultanas and brandy in a large non-reactive bowl¬† and¬† mix¬† thoroughly. Cover¬†with plastic¬†Ô¨Ālm¬†and¬†leave at room¬†temperature for
24 hours, stirring several¬† times.
2¬† Sift the¬† Ô¨āour,¬†cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger,¬†mace and 1 teaspoon salt into¬†a large bowl, then coarsely grate in the butter. Stir in the breadcrumbs and add the lemon¬† zest, apple, almonds and¬†fruit mixture. Whisk the¬†eggs until light¬†and¬†frothy and¬†stir¬†through the pudding mixture until well combined.
3¬† For one¬†large¬†pudding, dust¬†a 60cm square¬†of calico¬†with a little¬†extra¬† Ô¨āour,¬†then spoon¬†the¬†pudding mixture into¬†the¬†middle. Gather up¬†the¬†cloth¬†and¬† tie¬†it¬†securely with kitchen string at¬†the¬†top¬†to¬†enclose¬†the¬†pudding. Steam¬†the¬†pudding in¬†a large double¬†steamer over boiling¬†water or boil in a large saucepan for 6 hours, replenishing the water every 30 minutes or as necessary. (To make¬†two¬†puddings, divide¬†the mixture in half and wrap¬†each in a 40cm square¬†of dusted calico, then steam¬†or boil as above in separate pans¬† for 4 hours.)
4¬† Suspend the boiled pudding in a cool, airy place to mature before serving. (Christmas puddings certainly mature with standing, but¬†the¬†main¬†issues¬†are¬†having the¬†right