Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feeling Christmassy

Only Sunday-week and Christmas is upon us! No wonder I'm feeling all festive. This year has been so awwwwwfully busy that it was easy to cut myself a bit of slack around Christmas organization. I didn't even feel guilty. Even though I love christmas decoration swaps, I didn't sign up for any because I knew we just had too much on. I didn't commit to organizing any end-of-year do's for school or sport. I haven't sent a single card. The only things I needed to organize were the one present for someone in my big family (easy peasy, since it's supposed to be cheap, second hand, or homemade) and a couple of wee things for each person in my wee family. It's been very painless and now the presents are all done and dusted.
Having said that, we still end up wanting to give a little something to various other folks, so it's nice to have a wee treat on standby for such purposes. This year I felt compelled to make little Christmas puddings to give as gifts. I used an exceptionally easy recipe from one of Alison Holst's kitchen diaries and then steamed it in large tea cups to make little puddings that would comfortably feed 2 or 3 people.

Christmas pudding
From Alison Holst's Kitchen Diary Vol. 9 (1986)
2 cups flour
75 g butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup currants
1 c sultanas
1/4 c mixed peel
1/4 c cherries
1 t cinnamon
1 t mixed spice
1/2 c golden syrup
1/2 c milk
1 t baking soda
2 eggs
Grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon.
Whizz the flour, sugar, butter, and spices in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Warm the milk and golden syrup to mix them, then mix in the eggs and the baking soda. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix in the fruit. Tip into a large pudding basin (or several tea cups with a disc of baking paper in the bottom and well-greased sides), cover with greased foil, and steam for 3-4 for a large pudding or 2-3 h for the small ones. Longer steaming makes them nice and dark.
Turn out and cool. Sprinkle with a little brandy then wrap in baking paper and foil. On the day, steam again to reheat- an hour should do it for the wee ones, maybe two hours for a big one. Serve with cream, custard, icecream, and/or brandy butter.

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