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Christmas Puddings and Sauces

Victorian Christmas Pudding
Gingered Rum Hard Sauce
Christmas Pudding Sauce
             Graham Bird
             Phil "the Badger" Johnson
             Adam Quinan
             Jan Garvin
             Hugh Yemen
Christmas Pudding Alternatives
             Susan Fisher
             Mary S.

Victorian Christmas Pudding
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dried currants
3-1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
6 ounces chilled beef suet
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1/3 cup dark rum
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Generously butter a 2-1/2 cup pudding mold or thick heatproof glass bowl. Sift first 7 ingredients into large bowl. Add cherries, apricots, dates, raisin, and currant, and toss to coat with flour. Stir in breadcrumbs and ginger. Finely chop suet in processor. Add to breadcrumb mixture and toss to coat. Stir in sugar. Whisk apple butter, rum, eggs, and extracts in medium bowl. Add to breadcrumb mixture and stir until well combined (batter will be thick).
Spoon batter into prepared mold. Smooth top with spatula. Cover mold tightly with heavy-duty foil. Place rack in large pot. Set pudding on rack. Pour enough water into pot to come halfway up sides of mold. Cover pot. Bring water to simmer over medium-low heat. Steam pudding until cooked through, adding more boiling water to post as necessary, about 5 hours. Transfer mold to rack and cool 30 minutes. Turn out pudding.
Can be made up to 2 months ahead. Cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate. To reheat pudding, unwrap and return to buttered mold. Place mild on rack in large pot. Pour enough hot water into pot to come halfway up sides of mild. Cover pot; steam pudding over medium-low heat until heated through, about 2-1/2 hours. Transfer to rack. Let stand 30 minutes. Turn out pudding.
Transfer warm pudding to platter. Serve with Gingered Rum Hard Sauce.

Gingered Rum Hard Sauce
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until creamy. Add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in rum. Stir in ginger.
Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Christmas Pudding Sauce
Graham Bird
We do have the Harrods Christmas pud in captivity, but Barbara has some weird ideas about what the sauce should be.
I need help with a white sauce recipe please.........

Phil "the Badger" Johnson
The Blessed Delia gives the following recipe for a rum sauce t go with Christmas Pudding. It is white. An all-in-one version of a traditional sauce, this is best made not too far ahead. A good rule of thumb is to make it when you put the Christmas pudding on to steam on Christmas Day. Serves 8 Ingredients 3 (or more) tablespoons dark rum 3 oz (75 g) butter 2-1/2 oz (60 g) plain flour 1 pint (570 ml) breakfast milk 2 oz (50 g) caster sugar 1 tablespoon double cream Place 2-1/2 oz (60 g) of the butter in a saucepan with 2-1/2 oz (60 g) flour, pour in the milk, then, using a balloon whisk, whisk everything vigorously together over a medium heat. As soon as it comes to simmering point and has thickened, turn the heat right down to its lowest setting, stir in the sugar and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes. After that add the rum, the remaining 1/2 oz (15 g) butter and 1 tablespoon cream. Pour the hot sauce into a jug, then cover the surface with clingfilm and keep warm until required. This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Christmas.

Adam Quinan
The one true sauce to be eaten with Christmas pudding is Hard Sauce or Brandy Butter. All others are abominations of the heathen.
It is a simple recipe, butter, sugar and brandy (though rum is acceptable in naval households).
Brandy butter goes well with mince pies too. Though I don't think my wife would agree with either of us. She finds Christmas pud to be a complete abomination all by itself regardless of what you put on it!

Jan Garvin
From the sound of it, what you actually want is what's called a "Hard sauce", which is a little trickier. Essentially, this is an icing.
2 tb unsalted butter Start with 1 1/2 cups powdered or confectioner's sugar but be prepared to need a little more 2 tbs decent brandy (or other distilled spiriits of your taste. I don't remcommend Gin, Vodka or Scotch, but have used Irish Whiskey, Bourbon, Rum and several types of liquours, including Sabra, Cointreu, and Benedictine.
Mash (I use a table fork for the work) the butter with about the same quantity of the sugar, until you have achieved a cold paste, then add about the same amount again of the sugar and work it in. Your product will seem fairly dry. Add a tablespoon of your liquor, stir together. It will get remarkably runny. Add about half the remaining sugar and stir together.
Repeat the liquour and sugar process, then continue to add sugar until the mixture is smooth. and stiff, but maleable. If yours has a different texture -- either too dry or too soft, correct with additional liquor (a drop or two at a time) or sugar (a tbs at a time) to achieve the "right" texture.
Or, go back to Harrods and buy a jar of hard sauce.

Hugh Yemen
My mother used a simple lemon sauce made, I believe, from lemon juice and water and confectioners sugar; she would drizzle it over the pudding as it came, hot and hot, from the oven. I have no idea if it bears resemblance to anything someone on the other side of the pond would countenance, but I recall that the sauce provided an exquisite counterpoint to the charred, dark, sweet flavor of the pudding.

Christmas Pudding Alternatives
Susan Fisher
Nobody in my household really likes Christmas pudding, and we always have warm mince pies which is boring!
Does anybody else have an alternative pudding they go for on the big day??

Mary S.
You could go for a Southern US pudding: either boiled custard (I think this is about the same thing as Creme Anglaise actually) in a dessert dish with whipped cream on top and a slice of fruitcake or a cookie on the side, or ambrosia.
Here is one recipe: Boiled Custard
Straining, not mentioned in this recipe, is a good idea to remove any blobs of cooked egg, particularly if you use whole eggs rather than just yolks.
.Ambrosia is another standard in the South, very light and nice after a rich dinner: Fresh Orange Coconut Ambrosia
Ignore any heretics who want you to put anything at all into the ambrosia but shredded coconut and cut-up oranges. I am not even sure about the sugar and orange juice this lady adds.