Twas the week before Christmas and all through the dwelling
Recipes for desserts were daunting and compelling
Buche de Noel, that old frosted wood?
Or the drunken conflagration of Christmas Pud?
I chose drunken conflagration. I made this decision for two reasons;
1) I was interested in it with all that history and ritual, tradition and lore
2) No one expects it to actually taste good, so when it was inedible, my skills wouldn’t be blamed. (though my decision-making skills might be severely questioned)
I read quite a few recipes, and narrowed it down to The Domestic Goddess/Devil’s Spawn, Nigella’s and Julia Childs’. I finally decided on Nigella’s because it has more stuff in it. I followed her recipe for the traditional one sans the suet. Butter is plenty traditional for me. Her Newfangled Christmas Pud wants dried blueberries and figs, yuck and double yuck!
Simmer and then soak the fruit in bourbon. Mix together some flour, bread crumbs, ground almonds, toss in an egg or two, some brown sugar, a mess of spices, a couple of finely chopped apples and some sour cream. Fold in all the lovely bourbon saturated fruit with the bourbon that remains.
Then fold in your coins or charms.
You are thinking, “You put coins, grubby, nasty coins, Who-knows-where-they-have-been, never mind who-has-touched-them coins, in the pud?”
I did. But first I soaked them over night in Coke-cola. They come out as sparkly as newly minted. Go figure. Then I scrubbed them with dish soap and rinsed them with boiling water.
I poured all this into a tall-ish Bundt pan, many people call it a Kugelhopf pan, that I had saturated with Pam. I sealed it with three layers of heavy duty foil, secured with twine. I poked out the center and then sealed all around the inner edge and I steamed it with water half way up the side for 4 hours.
At this point, the pudding is heavy and removing it from the pot of boiling water is not for the tired of body or weak of spirit. (Nigella probably has some stage hand do it for her.) After a few minutes of cooling, I turned it out of the pan, let it cool completely and then wrapped it and left it on the counter for 3 days. There is supposed to be some regular “feeding” with more Bourbon, but I think that is if you make it in November. Which is, of course, when I should have made it. But never mind, Never Mind!
The night of, I resaturated the pan in Pam, popped the pud back in its pan and went through the little OCD sealing ritual and steamed it for another 3 hours.
Once again it toppled right out of its pan, held its shape, and Bob’s your Uncle! The Armagnac (I didn’t have Brandy) was heated and set afire with that scary little whumpf! I poured the liquid blue flame over the whole thing and presented it. I was so worried about setting the house on fire that the presentation went more like a fire drill than a dessert course.
Hard sauce on the side. I thought it was amazing. I noticed a few people didn’t finish theirs, but I have to chalk that up to individual tastes. I would have liked it even if I hadn’t made it myself. I got a dime and a nickel, which I guess is auspicious.