CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH CUMQUAT BRANDY BUTTER
Our family never manages to eat the Christmas pudding on Christmas Day. What tends to happen is that it’s covered well and put back into the fridge. In the evenings that follow, it is taken out a slice at a time and warmed a little, to enjoy with a cup of tea after dinner.
Traditionally, Christmas pudding is made in advance to allow time for it to mature – I make ours in October.
The pudding will keep for a long time, as will the brandy butter – that is, if you don’t eat it by the spoonful when you pass the fridge like I do, butter ﬁend that I am. It would be much better for me if I didn’t make the brandy butter at all, but then it wouldn’t be Christmas!
365 g dehydrated cumquats (available from Tolleys Nurseries), or any mixed peel if not available
225 g currants
225 g seedless raisins
225 g sultanas
1 cup (250 ml) cumquat brandy or regular brandy
115 g plain ﬂour, plus extra for dusting good pinch of ground cinnamon
good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg good pinch of ground ginger
good pinch of ground mace
225 g chilled unsalted butter
225 g fresh breadcrumbs ﬁnely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 granny smith apples, peeled and grated
75 g ﬂaked almonds
3 free-range eggs
C U M Q UAT B R A N D Y B U T T E R
175 g icing sugar
175 g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (125 ml) cumquat brandy or regular brandy
1 Combine the cumquats, currants, raisins, sultanas and brandy in a large non-reactive bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic ﬁlm and leave at room temperature for
24 hours, stirring several times.
2 Sift the ﬂour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace and 1 teaspoon salt into a large bowl, then coarsely grate in the butter. Stir in the breadcrumbs and add the lemon zest, apple, almonds and fruit mixture. Whisk the eggs until light and frothy and stir through the pudding mixture until well combined.
3 For one large pudding, dust a 60cm square of calico with a little extra ﬂour, then spoon the pudding mixture into the middle. Gather up the cloth and tie it securely with kitchen string at the top to enclose the pudding. Steam the pudding in a large double steamer over boiling water or boil in a large saucepan for 6 hours, replenishing the water every 30 minutes or as necessary. (To make two puddings, divide the mixture in half and wrap each in a 40cm square of dusted calico, then steam or boil as above in separate pans for 4 hours.)
4 Suspend the boiled pudding in a cool, airy place to mature before serving. (Christmas puddings certainly mature with standing, but the main issues are having the right