01 December 2010

English Cuisine : Christmas pudding with citrus & spice


A fruity pud, served with orange custard cream, makes the perfect end to the traditional Christmas meal

  • 175g each raisins (des raisins secs) , currants (des raisins de Corinthe) and sultanas (des raisins de Smyrne)
  • 140g whole glacé cherries (des cerises confites)
  • 50g mixed peel (des écorces d’agrumes confites)
  • 50g whole blanched almonds (des amandes émondées
  • zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 1 medium carrot , peeled and finely grated
  • 150ml brandy (comme un cognac ou un armagnac)
  • 50ml/2fl oz orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
  • 175g light muscovado sugar (vergeoise)
  • 175g fresh white breadcrumbs (chapelure)
  • 125g self-raising flour (farine avec levure incorporée)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (mélange pour pain d’épices)
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg (noix de muscade)
  • 175g butter , frozen
  • 2 eggs , beaten
  • butter , for greasing
  • holly sprig, to decorate (une petite branche de houx
    1. Mix the fruit, almonds, citrus zests and the carrot with the brandy and orange liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak (tremper) overnight.
    2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add to the soaked fruit mixture. Grate (râper) in the butter, then add the eggs and stir. Don't forget to make a wish!
    3. Grease a 1.5-litre pudding basin (une moule à pudding) with butter and line (tapisser) the base with greaseproof paper (papier cuisson). Spoon in the mixture, press down well and make a hollow (un creux) with the back of the spoon in the centre. Cover the surface with a round of greaseproof paper, then cover the bowl with double-thickness greaseproof paper and foil (papier d’aluminium) and tie at the rim (au bord) with string. Lower the pudding into a pan with an upturned (posé à l’envers) saucer (une soucoupe) in the base, then fill with water until it comes halfway up the sides of the bowl. Steam (faire cuire à la vapeur) for 6 hrs, topping up with water as necessary.
    4. Alternatively, steam in the oven. Stand the pudding basin in a roasting tin (un plan à rôtir) filled with water, then cover with a tent of foil and cook for the same length of time at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Check roasting tin occasionally as the water may need to be topped up.
    5. To store (conserver), allow to cool, then store in a cool, dry cupboard. The pudding will keep for up to a year.
    6. On the day, steam for 1 hr before turning out (sortir de la moule), decorating with holly and serving with extra-thick double cream or vanilla ice cream. Alternatively, try my Orange custard cream (below).


    Orange custard cream

    Whip (fouetter) 285ml double cream with the grated zest ½ orange until it holds its shape. Fold in a 500ml tub fresh vanilla custard and serve.

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