Published December 7, 2006.
Plum pudding was once the star of Christmas dinner, but its old-fashioned flavor and heaviness has caused it to fall out of flavor. Could we make it shine again?
We found most recipes for plum pudding to be too exuberant—containing too much of everything. And do you really need to make it a year ahead?
We wanted a modern plum pudding, without suet and months of aging.
First, we tackled the suet, finding that substituting a little less butter for the suet made for a still rich-tasting, but substantially lighter-textured pudding. We decided we needed both raisins and currants for depth of flavor—simmering the fruit briskly allowed it to become plump and soft. A simple combination of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves provided the classic spice taste, and we also found the traditional brandy (or cognac) to be necessary to cut through the sweetness and intensify the spices, (a little sherry also helped). For those who couldn't find or want to invest in a classic pudding mold, we patched together a makeshift mold from a mixing bowl and heavy-duty foil. 3 1/2 hours of simmering yielded a pudding with a moist, tender texture. Finally, we cut the aging time by storing the pudding in the refrigerator (not the pantry), for at least three or four days to allow the flavors to blend and mellow, (although we did find that the puddings stored for more than one month were the most complex and subtle).list of recipes