What’s so Indie About Food? Christmas Pudding by Simone Walsh

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Australian jewelry artist Simone Walsh shares a recipe for Christmas Pudding for today’s What’s So Indie About Food?.  I’m always fascinated my customs and traditions that differ from my own and I have to say that a warm weather Christmas certainly is different than what I experience!  With Christmas fast approaching, I thought you all might enjoy this as well.

by guest contributor Simone Walsh

Christmas in Australia is markedly different to Christmas in North America or Europe, simply because the weather is usually hot—sometimes extremely hot! I suspect a lot of people have visions of Australians celebrating Christmas on the beach while trying to keep cool.  However, the reality is that most of us spend it at home with a hot meal – although sometimes we will eat it outside!  For Anglo Australians this often includes roast meat, roast vegetables and the all important Christmas pudding.

Having a Christmas pudding (or a ‘plum pudding’ although they never contain plums!) is an English tradition which is still observed by many Australians.  These puddings are a dark cake-like dessert which often contain dried fruit and sometimes lashings of alcohol.  It is usually served with a very rich, creamy brandy sauce or brandy butter.

An added old tradition, which my family has always followed, is to include silver coins in the pudding although some use silver tokens instead of coins.  The theory is that if you find a coin in your serving of pudding, you will have luck for the following year … unless of course you swallow a coin, which might be somewhat less lucky!

The lack of real silver coins still in my family’s possession inspired me to start making Christmas pudding tokens from pure silver using etched vintage Christmas illustrations to replace the coins.

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Christmas Pudding Tokens from Simone Walsh

I’m happy to share my family’s Christmas pudding and brandy sauce recipes with you.  The pudding recipe was clearly created when times were very hard.  There are no eggs in it and it has tea for flavouring instead of alcohol.  Yet it mysteriously cooks perfectly and is delicious – especially with dollops of brandy sauce on top.

Christmas pudding:

  • 3 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
  • 2 cups of mixed dried fruit (usually a mixture raisins, sultanas, orange peel and sometimes glace cherries if you are not able to buy this mix in a packet)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter – melted
  • 2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice (a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
  • 1 heaped cup sugar
  • 2 cups cold tea (strained or from teabags)

Mix all ingredients above with two cups of cold tea. It’s important to ask any family members at home to each stir the pudding mix for good luck. The mixture can be cooked as two smaller puddings if preferred. Put mixture into a greased steam pudding tin with a lid, or wrap with calico fabric and tie with string and place the calico bag into a large heat-resistant bowl and cover with foil. Place in a large saucepan filled with water to halfway and steam for 1.5 hours.  Test with a metal skewer. You can wrap the pudding in foil and keep in the refrigerator until Christmas Day then reheat in oven for around 160C (320F) for 15 minutes. Serves 10-12 people. Will keep in the fridge for at least five days, if not much longer.

Brandy sauce:

  • 2 well-beaten egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites, beaten to stiff froth
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup of cream
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Beat the egg yolks and egg whites in separate bowls. Gradually add 1/4 cup of caster sugar to the two egg yolks. Mix 1/4 cup of caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Gently fold this into the stiff whites mixture. In another bowl stiffly beat the cream. Flavour this with one tablespoon of brandy and half teaspoon of vanilla. Add the cream to the egg and sugar mixtures to form a single, consistent mixture. This recipe is best made the day before. Keep in it refrigerator, then serve over slices of traditional hot pudding on Christmas Day. Serves 10-12 people – although everyone will want more! If by some miracle you have any left after your meal, it should keep refrigerated for a few days.

2 thoughts on “What’s so Indie About Food? Christmas Pudding by Simone Walsh

  • December 11, 2008 at 4:46 pm
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    I know, right!?

  • December 9, 2008 at 5:42 pm
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    OK, this sounds absolutely delicious. And that brandy sauce? YUM!

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