Cookery Rhymes: A Plum Pudding

plum pudding

Flour of England, fruit of Spain,
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag tied round with a string;
If you’ll tell me this riddle,
I’ll give you a ring.


1 1/4 pounds  fresh bread crumbs. (Please use a good loaf of bread. See A Strange Old Woman pg.
1 cup scalded milk
1 cup sherry or port
12 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)

2 pound seedless raisins
1/2 pound currants
1 cup thinly sliced citron
1 cup chopped candied peel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound finely chopped suet – powdery fine
1 1/4 cups cognac

1. Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day that passes.
2. Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.
3. To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. Serve with hard sauce or cognac sauce.

Hard Sauce ain’t so Hard.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
1 dash almond extract

In a small sauce pan melt the butter and add the sugar. Add the  almond extract. Remove the pan from the stove and add the brandy. Ignite with a match. Be careful not to learn over the pan you will burn your face or worse ignite your hair. And this recipe is not for children. So imagine when you are at the BBQ on the forth of July, you have the glory of cooking the meat. ( A time honored right of American passage.)The coals aren’t burning fast enough, and you squirt more lighter fluid on to the smoldering coals. Yes yes I know no one ever does that. But just follow me on this. As you reach your hand in with the lit match; how careful you are to be ready to pull away when it burst into flame. Use the same caution here.  With all that said, maybe hard Sauce is really hard after all.

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