Have yourself a Dickens of a Christmas, straight out of "A Christmas Carol" with this classic British dessert. Make it a month in advance.
Pudding: soak currents and raisins 10 minutes in warm water, drain and pat dry. Combine them with all other ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn pudding mixture into a greased 2-qt. mold, leaving 2" at top. Cover with a piece of buttered wax paper (use string to hold it in place).
Steaming: place mold in a large kettle and add boiling water till it reaches 2/3 up the side of the mold. Steam pudding for 6-8 hours. Keep a pot of boiling water on back stove and add to kettle if steam bath drops below the 2/3 mark.
Storing: cool pudding before removing it from the mold. Wrap it in rum-soaked cheesecloth and then in foil. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a good month.
Serving: put pudding back in its mold and place in a steam bath for 1- 2 hours, till warmed through. Slice into wedges and serve topped with a dollop of rum butter.
Rum Butter: beat all ingredients together till light and fluffy. Chill 1 hour before serving.
Tips & Glossary
Clotted Cream: a thick yellowish cream made from unpasturized cow's milk. You can make your own, although it's hard to find unpasturized cream in the U.S. Still, you'll find 3 recipes under Scones. All use pasturized cream; try to avoid "ultra" pasturized.
Ploughman's Lunch: sounds romantic, like a peasant dish from medieval times, but it's a marketing gimmick from the 1970's! It's become a popular lunch in Britain now: a piece of bread, hunk of cheese, with onion, gherkin, and an apple. Our Ploughman's Soup is a take-off on that name.
Roux: (“roo”), paste-like mixture of melted butter and flour, into which liquid is gradually added. Used as a thickening agent for soups and all classic French sauces Basic Roux: melt 1 part butter and add 1 part flour. Stir continuously till it becomes paste-like. Slowly add whatever liquid your recipe calls for.
Tea Time: Afternoon tea became fashionable in the mid-1600's. A light snack with sandwiches and sweets, it's served from 3-5 in a sitting room. High tea, is a light meal served from 5-6 in a dining room. ("High" because the dining table is higher than the low ones in a sitting room.)
Yorkshire Pudding: from the northern county of Yorkshire, originating in the early 1700s when flour was more readily available. A pancake like batter is spooned into the drippings of a roast as it cooks. Eaten alongside the roast or as a separate course.
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