Traditional plum pudding is just peachy for holidays


December 08, 1993|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Staff Writer

It's time to get a jolly good jump on holiday cooking, according to Dorothy McDonald of Kelso, Wash., who'd requested an English plum pudding recipe. "My mother had a recipe when she came from England more than 70 years ago, but it is lost and now the younger generation would like to try it," she wrote.

Of the many responses, Chef Gilles Syglowski's choice came from Myra Devine of Baltimore, who also included a recipe for hard white sauce to go with it.

Devine's Christmas plum pudding

2 cup sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of allspice


1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups finely ground suet

1 1/4 cups dark raisins

1 cup currants

1 1/4 cups golden raisins

3/4 cup blanched, chopped almonds

1/3 cup candied fruits (cherries or pineapple)

1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon rind

4 large eggs

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup brandy or cognac

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup milk

Sift together first five ingredients. Stir in bread crumbs. Add suet. Add nuts and fruits that have been tossed with flour until thoroughly coated.

Beat eggs, add sugar and remaining ingredients, beat until blended.

Add gradually to the fruit-flour mixture and stir until all flour is moistened. Spoon into buttered 2-quart mold. Cover and place on rack in large pot holding 1 inch of water. Cover and simmer for 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Add boiling water when necessary. Store in a cool place. Before serving, re-steam for 1 hour until thoroughly warm.

After removing from the mold, pour 3 tablespoons of heated cognac or brandy over the pudding, and light.

The pudding may also be cooked in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes without vent and 50 minutes with vent, Myra Devine said.

"Also, a mold which has a lid that snaps on is the best to use. If that isn't possible, cover the mold with double foil and tie securely. Also, the suet should be the long pure white piece of suet, free of gristle and strings, which runs along the back of the beef. Check with a good butcher.

"And don't use any fruit except candied cherries and pineapple. Citrus peels and citron turn people off," she advised.

Devine's hard sauce

2 1/2 cup butter

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and other ingredients. Beat until light and fluffy.

"You may add rum flavoring, 2 tablespoons brandy or 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur with 2 table

spoons grated fresh orange rind in place of vanilla and chill," she wrote.

A similar recipe from Rhonda Dake of Bend, Ore., called for 1/2 pound of citron and orange peel and a wineglass of brandy.

She wrote that her recipe came from a "cookbook that has been in the United States very near one hundred years and in it are illustrations of cooking utensils and stoves like nothing I have seen. I hope this recipe will please the lady from Washington and please excuse my 87 year old writing," she wrote (in a very legible hand).

E. R. King of Fayetteville, N.C., who is English, writes that she cooks her pudding in a pudding basin (which is an oven-proof ceramic bowl with a 1-inch rim around the top) and she pours over it rum or brandy before covering it securely with foil and storing in a cool place until time to re-steam and serve.

A pudding tradition came from Rachel M. Tribe of Baltimore. "Burying a silver coin in the pudding mixture is said to bring good fortune to whomever finds it in their portion. All of the family should make a wish during the stirring of the mixture which is generally done on what is called 'stir-up Sunday,' which is the Sunday before Advent," she wrote.

CORRECTION: Last week in Recipe Finder, the black walnut cake needed 2 cups of flour and should be baked at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, selected and tested these recipes.

Recipe requests

* Helen L. Thompson of Montgomery, Ala., writes that "during a cross-country move, our family recipe for "brown sugar pie" was lost. It was an easy-cooked filling poured into a baked pie shell."

* D. J. Champion of South Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., wants to find a recipe called "nougat layer, fudge-like chocolate cake similar to that sold at a restaurant know as Automat and also baker chains in New York and Philadelphia. It has a nougat-nut icing and I've never tasted its equal,"

* Ms. Cindy Weglein of Baltimore is seeking an "Easter bread pudding," which she remembers had bread, eggs, pineapple chunks, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg and was baked.

* Marjorie P. Ford of Cockeysville is interested in finding a recipe similar to Tio Pepe's "fillet of sole-bananas and snapper with green beans."

* Dorothy L. Hopson of Chestertown, remembers a dish made of yellow squash stuffed with ground beef, pine nuts and was cooked on the stove. "The dish was made by a friend's mother who was Syrian," she wrote.

* If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Please print each response or request clearly on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Send to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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