Every year Christmas creeps up on us like that unwanted spider in the bathroom while you’re…uh…indisposed. You don’t hate spiders, but you kind of wish they would stay hidden because they can be quite stressful. Also, will someone please explain why we are seeing Christmas decorations come out in September these days! It’s a harsh reminder that soon going to the shops will be even more painful that normal! Plus, I have to start planning the presents I want to buy.
At least there is one good thing about this time of year – Christmas pudding! If you’re like me, and can barely find the time to have a cuppa uninterrupted, you’ll find it difficult to find the time to prepare and steam the pudding too. That’s why it’s a planned affair for me. Traditionally, Christmas pudding needs to be made a few months before the big day, two months is good but you will get away with a pretty decent pudding even one month before. Apparently pudding is made on ‘Stir Up Sunday’, which is about five weeks before Christmas, so I guess I wasn’t too far off when I made this one a couple of weeks back!
My Nanna Pat has been making our family Christmas pudding for as long as I can remember. As far as Christmas traditions go, this is it. In my family, people come and go, we are all getting on with our lives and are so busy doing different things that we actually have very few ‘traditions’, except Nanna’s Christmas pudding.
Five years ago, my Nanna taught me how to make the family recipe. While I would love to share this incredible recipe with you I’m afraid if I told you I’d have to kill you… I think I’m the only one in the whole family that has a copy of the recipe, thank you Nanna!
So the pudding takes two days. The first day involves prepping the fruit and the second is boiling.
Now, the first time I learnt how to ‘prep the fruit’, I tried to argue my way out of it (no I didn’t argue with my Nanna, I just offered other diplomatic suggestions), she absolutely insisted that I did not skip this step and it was imperative to the outcome of the pudding. You know when your Nanna makes you a cup of tea? And it just tastes so much better than any other tea you have had before? Then she says because it was ‘made with love’. Well this is the same thing, and believe me my damn pudding is made with so much love that each and every single raisin, currant and grape has seen my fingers in search for a single stalk! Don’t worry, I wash my hands!
So the first step is washing the 1.5kg of fruit. Have you ever washed sultanas before? I was surprised how brown the water turns, and how many leaves and twigs get caught up in the stickiness of the fruit! Once you have washed the fruit you must (see above) search through the fruit to find any stalks. This is painstaking, your fingers will be brown and sticky and you’ll be surprised how many sultanas, raisins and currants still have their stalks attached…
Made with love…made with love…
The second day it’s time to get hot. Clear your calendar. You must be prepared to be at home for at least 8 hours. The fruit needs to be mixed in with all of the rest of the ingredients (secret ingredients …remember!) and then you have to do the most important thing..make a wish. Since I don’t yet have a family of my own I try and make sure I have a few friends around so they get to have a stir and make a wish as well, because these form some of the greatest memories of my childhood; cooking with Nanna.
Before you put the mixture into the pudding tin for boiling you can add some coins! I did have a sixpence which I threw in the mixture, but last year my mum decided since it had her birth year on it she would claim it as hers. Good one mum! I remember Nanna always putting coins in her pudding when we were kids to encourage us to eat it (not me though). One year my Uncle Graham was eating his pudding and pulled out a $50 note out of his mouth, it was safe to say all the kids demolished that pudding within seconds.
Lastly, you boil the pudding for 6 hours and then pop it in the fridge until Christmas Day! On the day it needs to be boiled for another 2 hours before serving and you MUST serve it with lashings of brandy butter and brandy custard! Yum!
Some say the traditional Christmas pudding is not as popular with many preferring a lighter, healthier, dessert. Others say its too hot to have this type of dessert during our Australian hot Summers. I say Christmas is not Christmas without a large bowl of pudding followed by a swim in the pool with your loved ones.
What is a traditional Christmas recipe in your family? What gets you excited about Christmas Day?
Please follow and like us: