Julia Child shares this classic holiday pudding recipe (which has no plums!), served flaming with a zabaione sauce. It is loaded with raisins and spices. Be sure to read the flambe tips before beginning.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours, 20 minutes
- 3 cups (lightly packed down) crumbs from homemade type white bread, a 1/2-pound loaf, crust on, will do it
- 1 cup each: black raisins, yellow raisins, and currants, chopped
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Few drops of almond extract
- 1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade
- 1/2 cup rum or bourbon whiskey, heated before serving
- Sprigs of holly, optional
- 2 cups Zabaione Sauce (recipe included herein)
- Zabaione Sauce:
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- Small pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup rum or bourbon whiskey (or Marsala or sherry)
- 1/3 cup dry white French vermouth
- 1/2 cup sugar
Preparation:Special equipment suggested:
A food processor is useful for making the bread crumbs and chopping the raisins; an 8-cup pudding container, such as a round bottomed metal mixing bowl; a cover for the bowl; a steamer basket or trivet; a roomy soup kettle with tight-fitting cover to hold bowl, cover, and basket.
Like a good fruitcake, a plum pudding develops its full flavor when made at least a week ahead. Count on 6 hours for the initial, almost unattended steaming, and 2 hours to reheat before serving.
The pudding mixture:
Toss the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl with the raisins, sugar, cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg. Then toss with the melted butter, and finally with the eggs, almond extract, orange marmalade, and rum or bourbon. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more spices if needed.
To microwave Plum Pudding:
Butter the dish you are cooking the pudding in, then cover the bottom of the dish with a buttered piece of wax paper. Pour in batter. Cover dish with plastic wrap and pierce the plastic with a knife in several places. Cook at "defrost" (low speed) for 30 minutes. If your microwave oven does not have a carousel which turns the dish during cooking, stop the process several times during the cooking and rotate the dish manually. Finally, cook at 5 minutes on "bake" (high speed). Let the pudding set for a few minutes before unmolding. The pudding is ready when it is firm to the touch. The microwaved plum pudding is somewhat paler than its steamed counterpart.
To steam a Plum Pudding:
Use a special pan made for this purpose. You must have a container with a very tight lid on it which will stay sealed throughout the cooking. Steaming -- about 6 hours: Pack the pudding mixture into the container; cover with a round of wax paper and the lid. Set the container on the steaming contraption in the kettle, and add enough water to come a third of the way up the sides of the container. Cover the kettle tightly; bring to the simmer, and let steam about 6 hours. Warning: check the kettle now and then to be sure the water hasn't boiled off!
When is it done? When it is a dark walnut-brown color and fairly firm to the touch.
Curing and storing:
Let the pudding cool in its container. Store it in a cool wine cellar, or in the refrigerator. Ahead -of-time note: Pudding will keep nicely for several months.
A good 2 hours before you plan to serve, resteam the pudding -- it must be quite warm indeed for successful flaming. Unmold onto a hot serving platter and decorate, if you wish, with sprigs of holly.
Flaming and serving:
Pour the hot rum or whiskey around the pudding. Either ignite it in the kitchen and rapidly bring it forth, or flame it at the table. Serve the following Zabaione Sauce separately.
Whisk all the ingredients together for 1 minute in a stainless saucepan. Then whisk over moderately low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the sauce becomes thick, foamy, and warm to your finger -- do not bring it to the simmer and scramble the eggs, but you must heat it enough for it to thicken. Serve warm or cold.
The sauce will remain foamy for 20 to 30 minutes, and if it separates simply beat it briefly over heat. If you wish to reform the sauce, whisk in a stiffly beaten egg white. Makes about 2 cups.
Yield: 12 servings
Recipe Source: The Way to Cook by Julia Child (Alfred A. Knopf)
Reprinted with permission.