Ah, the Christmas pudding. Banned by the Puritans, feared by the (modern) Americans, loved by (most of) the British. My husband has been making Christmas pudding to scare my family with for years, as it simply isn’t Christmas for him without one. As for me, my thoughts on Christmas pudding are this: meh.
It’s a marvelous thing to see on Christmas day, after it has been steamed for a few hours, doused with brandy and set alight before bringing it to the table. When my nephews were a wee bit smaller than they are now (let’s just say they are much, much taller than I am these days), their eyes would grow to saucer-size at the sight of a dessert actually on fire. But no way were they going to eat it.
This is another Christmas tradition that can be made months in advance, ideally six. (No, that has never been managed in my household.) Much like the Christmas fruitcake, full of dried raisins, cranberries, cherries, figs, whatever you like (no scary candied fruits, please!), some cloves, a few eggs, some nutmeg, a bit of flour, brown sugar, bread crumbs, butter, ginger, and most important, the booze: 1/2 cup of rum and 1/3 cup of cognac or brandy. (Though you don’t necessarily need to use both.) Steam for about two hours.
On the day, you steam it again for another 45 minutes or so, douse it in brandy, and set it alight. Usually served with a side of brandy butter: butter, sugar, and brandy all mixed together.
I don’t happen to have a photo of ours (it’s still soaking in brandy), but here‘s a good link with more info.
And those Christmas cake photos I promised you? Here you are: