We always had one of these at Christmas, traditionally called a 'clootie' dumpling because they were boiled in white cloths. There are many recipes for clootie dumpling but I find this one easiest and not too rich.
I soak the fruit overnight in brandy or sherry, drain well and dust with flour to prevent fruit from sinking to bottom of pudding. P>Mix all ingredients and steam for 3 - 3 1/2 hours. I don't use a cloth. A bowl with a lid is fine (or cover it with greaseproof paper - quite a big bowl (3 pint)
Before serving, turn out and serve with hot custard (my favorite) and/or cream.
Can be made well ahead and stored to mature. Reheat in microwave.
Traditionally, small silver coins (threepenny pieces) were scattered in the dumpling for the kids but this would go against health and safety rules nowadays. :-(
Source: Many years ago from a co-patient in hospital.
By Skinnyjinny from Scotland
My family's Christmas pud came from a recipe handed down through the generations. It seems to be pretty well unchanged since I have checked it with "ye olde cookery bookes" and there is little difference. Compared to the above one, Nana emphasized not to use flour - only to "Dry clean" all the glaceed with flour in a tea cloth - i.e. put the fruit in a tea cloth, add flour and rub off the stickiness using the towel in your hands. Then the rest of the added starch was breadcrumbs, not flour. The fruit was glaceed pineapple, cherries, citron, peel, I believe a grated apple, and some lemon zest and juice all marinated in brandy of course - and she used some dandelion wine that she made every summer. Nuts were pecans and almonds. Flavouring was almond extract and vanilla as well as spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and mace.
Please use real vanilla, not the imitation - it makes all the difference - if you can't afford it, you can make your own with vodka and a vanilla bean in a jar and leave it for a few weeks - add some sugar. Share cost with a friend and it is really reasonable. There were quite a few eggs. Two sauces - one a brown sugar caramely sauce and one an icing sugar beaten with butter and brandy and rum -- good all on its own! The pudding was boiled - to boil a pudding without having everything go into the water, lay out the cloth and put a lot of flour on it, then the pud. Tie it up and into the boiling water. When the cloth hits the boiling water, the flour instantly turns to a cooked hard dough, preventing the flavourings from leeching into the water.
I made these with my Nana when I was a teenager. I didn't know then that it would be her last year with us - it was a very special time for us to be together and I will cherish the memories forever. I know I'm vague about the exact recipe but I recently moved and can't put my hand on it right now. But you talented cooked out there, and there are so many of you. You should be able to come up with a more than passable pud just from my notes. Enjoy and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
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By Robin from Washington, IA