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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Pudding

Last Christmas I made a Bûche de Noël with meringue mushrooms from Jacques Pepin's book to serve at a Christmas dinner party.

This year I thought about making another one but didn't quite get into the same holiday spirit. This was partly because Christmas is actually not a holiday in Taiwan; it is just another work day. Nevertheless I was still hoping to have some holiday treats. Just as I was wondering about what to do, dear friends of ours surprised us with a Christmas pudding from Duchy (started by Charles, Prince of Whales) and a jar of brandy butter.

My friends know full well my penchant for food and I was delighted with the gift. I must admit Christmas pudding is actually a new thing for me. While I enjoy some British cuisine, my knowledge of British desserts is quite limited. As one can see from the picture at the top, I typically favor the French. Therefore, before I followed the instructions to reheat the pudding, I started to research about this concoction.

Christmas pudding is essentially a steamed pudding with a lot of dried fruit, nuts, and some brandy. It is usually made a few weeks before Christmas and then reheated before serving. The pudding is typically enjoyed on Christmas Day and we decided to follow suit. Traditionally the pudding contains silver coins, which is believed to bring wealth for the following year. The pudding is also usually served with a flaming brandy doused on top of it. I skipped this part since it was not in the reheat instruction from Duchy. Of the three methods to reheat: steam, boil, and microwave, I opted for the last one. The first two methods require a couple of hours, which I didn't have. The microwave method took only about 15 minutes. While the pudding was being reheated, it smelled great; the cognac in the pudding perfumed the apartment.

After the pudding is cooked, I flipped it onto a plate. I must admit the Christmas pudding is definitely not the prettiest of desserts. It is essentially a black pudding and I didn't have the usual decoration of holly to lighten up the appearance.

Nevertheless, looks can be deceiving. The pudding was actually quite tasty, especially with the creamy brandy butter.

Therefore, a big "thank you" to our dear friends for introducing us to another British tradition. Maybe next year, I will try to make one myself with some coins and flaming brandy.

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