English Christmas Pudding is really a dense, moist spiced cake originally known as Plum Pudding. This gingerbread version of Christmas Pudding is flavored with orange marmalade and topped with a traditional hard sauce (butter and sugar mixed with brandy).
History: Plum pudding is a steamed or boiled pudding frequently served at holiday times, especially Christmas. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope.
During the Puritan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as “sinfully rich.” Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor. By Victorian times, only the silver coin remained. In England these tiny charms can still be bought by families who make their own puddings. It is also traditional for every one who lives in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.
- Non-stick vegetable oil spray
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup light molasses, mild-flavored
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (peel), grated
Coat inside and center tube of 6- to 8-cup pudding mold or Bundt cake pan with nonstick spray, then generously with butter.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cloves; set aside.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add orange marmalade, molasses, and orange peel (zest). Add the prepared flour mixture and beat just until blended. Transfer batter to prepared mold. Cover mold tightly with aluminum foil.
Place steamer rack in a large pot. Place pudding mold on rack. Carefully fill pot with enough water to come halfway up sides of mold.
Bring water just to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover pot and steam pudding until a tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, adding more boiling water as needed to maintain level, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Using oven mitts, carefully remove mold from pot. Uncover and let stand 10 minutes.
Using a sharp knife, cut around top center and sides of pudding to loosen from the mold. Turn pudding out onto rack and cool 20 minutes.
Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Return to mold; cover and chill. Re-steam 45 minutes to heat through, then turn out of mold.
Transfer pudding to platter. Cut pudding into wedges; serve with Hard Sauce.
Combine all ingredients in small bowl; stir to blend well.
Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Source: This recipe and photo are from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001.