Plum Pudding

21 Dec 2012

I had never plunged into a Christmas pudding until I moved across the Atlantic. Since then, I have quickly come to learn that Christmas is simply not Christmas without a pudding at Christmas dinner. While the mere idea of steaming or boiling a cake seemed a very unusual notion, it is now a challenge that I have decided to bravely take on in my own kitchen.

In November we got a head start by preparing our first plum pudding on “stir-up Sunday” which apparently always falls on the Sunday before the first day of Advent (this year it was the 25th November). I put all of the ingredients together and allowed Geoffrey to flip a coin into the mix, give it a good stir and make a wish. We left the pudding to mature in a cool place overnight, and the next day, steamed the pudding. I was informed that puddings improve with age and alcohol, so we have it stowed away in a dark place, and each week we have been feeding it a drop cup or two of brandy. All going well on the big day, we will flambé the pudding and sit gazing in awe before fanning the flames and digging in.

I will churn some homemade butter for a spiced brandy or rum butter. But, I also know that there are fans of rum raisin ice cream in the family, so I have been testing ice cream recipes {I know, tough job}. I’ve chosen a custard-style, which reminds me of the classic Haagen-Dazs version and seems like a divine pairing for our Christmas pudding. See recipe below..it’s perfect!

*Bits of Bacchanalia*

Our family recipe for Plum Pudding was featured in this month’s Foodie Crush Holiday Magazine, along with loads of AMAZING holiday tips and stories by other bloggers, writers and photographers. Many thanks to Melissa Coleman, who so kindly asked me to be a part of it, and who also has such a fabulous food blog, talent!

On a recent shopping trip to Dublin, I listened to my new favourite foodish podcast: KCRW Good Food with Evan Kleinman, the latest episode is superb,  featuring their picks for 2012’s best cookbooks; including excellent interviews with Yotam Ottelenghi + Sami Tamimi for their book, Jerusalem, and Magnus Nilsson, of Fäviken, and his Fäviken cookbook among others.

Venture down to Ardkeen Quality Food Store in Waterford and support local Irish artisan producers. Ardkeen supplies great food direct from a fantastic community of some of my favorite Irish producers, growers and farmers.

These ladies have captured the Christmas magic so beautifully here and here 

You must have a look at Cliodhna Prendergast’s Breaking Eggs, beautifully produced food films, shot at her home in the West of Ireland with her children. Cliodhna says that “Home and family cooking is a life skill. We believe in practical, simple food for kids with lots of variety and the odd indulgence!” I must agree! Best of luck on your next shoot Cliodhna!

John and Sally McKenna have released their acclaimed McKenna’s Guides Megabites Awards, a running list of ‘Who’s Who in Irish Food’ compiled in the best taste, of course. 

Happiest Holiday Wishes To All!

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photo by Imen McDonnell 2012

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

MAKES ABOUT 2.5 Pints

180g raisins

250ml dark rum

160g sugar

6 egg yolks

480ml milk

480ml cream

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

 Place raisins and rum in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit until raisins soften and absorb rum, 8 hours or overnight. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp. rum, and set aside.

 Place sugar and yolks in a saucepan, and whisk until pale yellow and lightened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add milk, and stir until smooth. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a large bowl. Whisk in drained raisins along with reserved rum, cream, and vanilla; cover custard with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled.

Pour custard into an ice cream maker, and process according to manufacturer’s instructions until thick. Transfer to an airtight container, and seal. Freeze until set before serving, at least 4 hours.

 

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11 Responses to “Plum Pudding”

  1. anyonita says:

    Hello! I love your blog & have added you to my beautiful blog roll & used one of your photos from this post. Here’s a link to it my blog roll. I hope you don’t mind being added in! http://anyonitanibbles.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html
    Anyonita

  2. Rossella says:

    Being Italian I’m not used to pudding. Anyway I’m really tempted by yours and by the tradition of the stir-up Sunday.

  3. Glenn McAtee says:

    Happy New Year Imen, I found your website via the home exchange website. My family and I are planning a trip to your area in June 2014 to vacation and do some family history research. My maternal great great grandfather Gerald McDonnell was born at Sandfield in Shanagolden and was the town doctor there until he died in 1865. I would guess I am related somehow to your husband’s family. We probably aren’t in the market to do a house swap, but was wondering if you could recommend somewhere local to stay while we are in the area.

  4. Krista says:

    Imen, this is the prettiest Christmas pudding I’ve ever seen. 🙂 It makes my heart happy just looking at the picture. So beautiful. 🙂 A very, very Happy New Year to you. 🙂

  5. Merry Christmas Imen! Wish you a blessed and wonderful holiday with your family and your loved ones. Thank you so much for always inspiring us with your amazing posts and delcious recipes. Wish you great success
    Best wishes
    Rowaida

  6. sarah says:

    What a gorgeous pudding. I’m so intrigued by it! And your ice cream sounds amazing.

  7. Renee says:

    What a lovely looking pudding! Happy Christmas to you and yours.

  8. […] pudding is perhaps better known abroad as fruitcake, which is laughed at in America but loved in Ireland. I have to admit that I don’t understand the appeal. My Irish mother-in-law likes it so I buy one […]

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