While the ingredient list looks daunting, plum pudding is easy to make—much like mixing up a batch of stuffing. Once it’s in the steamer, you don’t even have to check on it for a few hours. For a truly traditional pudding, substitute suet for the butter in this recipe. Serve with a hard sauce (rum for adults, orange for the kids).
3 cups bread pieces (tear small pieces from crustless white bread)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup seedless light raisins
1 cup seedless dark raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped candied citron
1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 pound butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac or rum, or 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
Soak bread in milk and mix to break up.
Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs, molasses, vanilla and orange juice and mix well. Add flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda. Stir. Add raisins, dates, citron, prunes and walnuts. Stir again.
Combine fruit and bread mixtures and mix well with your hands.Pour into a well-greased 2-quart pudding mold. Fasten lid. Place on a rack inside a large pot. Add about one inch of water to the bottom of the large pot. Cover and steam 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until pudding tests done. (To test, insert a long skewer into the center; it should come out clean.)
Remove pudding mold from pot, uncover, and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Turn pudding over onto serving plate. Let stand for about 30 minutes, but serve while still warm. (Pudding may be tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, place in mold, cover, and steam until warm, about 30 minutes.)
To make hard sauce, cream together butter, confectioner’s sugar and cream. Beat in cognac or rum, or—for children’s version—orange juice concentrate.
Chill the hard sauce (for a special touch, mold in fancy butter molds) and serve on warm pudding.
As prepared, each serving contains 330 calories, 13g total fat, 55mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 48g total carbohydrate and 4g protein.