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Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding

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Serves 10 to 12.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe in Larousse Gastronomique Culinary Encyclopedia.

Although this pudding is typically made without plums, one of my encyclopedias says it got its name from being originally made with plums. As far as my research went, this is close to a traditional English recipe. The ingredient list is long, but this is a relatively easy dessert to prepare.

A pressure cooker is recommended to reduce cooking time.

Ingredients:

Note: I favored measurements by weight over volume when using this recipe.
Plums:
¾ cup (4½ oz./128g) dried, pitted prunes, chopped
Cold water or hot tea (tea bag & boiling water)
Dry Ingredients:
1 cup (4½ oz./125g) minced suet
¾ cup (3 oz./85g) chopped blanched almonds
2/3 cup (3½ oz./100g) each of raisins and currants
Scant 1 cup (4 oz./110g) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup (7 oz./200g) caster (super fine) sugar
1 cup (2½ oz./70g ) dry white bread crumbs (Panko)
¼ cup (1 oz./30g) chopped candied citrus peel
Grated zest of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon mixed spice (such as pumpkin pie spice mix)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
Wet Ingredients:
4 (large) eggs
4 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons rum
Caramel:
¾ cup (5 oz./150g) granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cold water
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250ml) boiling water
Optional for Serving:
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons rum, warmed
Hard Sauce:
¼ pound (110g) whole butter
1 cup (7 oz./200g) sugar (super fine okay)
1 pinch of salt (omit if butter is high in salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce (1/8 cup/30ml) rum or other liquor

Directions:

Place the plums in a heat-proof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover. Set aside to soak. (Some recipes recommended adding a tea bag.)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs and milk together. Add the rum and mix well. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring gently, until the syrup changes to a golden color. Remove from the heat and carefully add the boiling water. Blend well, then set aside to cool.

Add the two wet mixtures (milk-egg mixture and caramelized sugar) to the dry ingredients. Stir 15 minutes (#2 setting on a Kitchenaid).

Butter a large pudding mold (or stainless steel bowl) and place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom. Dust the bowl with sugar. Drain the soaked prunes, discarding the water, and arrange in the bottom of the mold. Add the pudding mixture and place a circle of parchment paper on top. Cover the bowl with a double thickness of foil and secure the foil firmly with string.

Place the mold on a rack in the bottom of a pressure cooker and add enough water to reach less than halfway up the side of the mold (about halfway up the height of the batter in the mold).

Steam 1½ hours, beginning the timing when the pressure cooker reaches full pressure. Alternatively, place the mold on a rack in a large saucepan or pot with enough boiling water to reach less than halfway up the side of mold. Steam 4 hours.

Remove the mold, wrap in foil and store in a cool place. This pudding can supposedly be stored for several moths.

To heat for serving, steam for 1 hour in a pressure cooker, or 2 hours in a pot or saucepan. Then turn the pudding out onto a serving dish and sprinkle with the optional 3 tablespoons sugar. Pour the warm rum over the pudding and set it alight.

The pudding can also be served cold or at room temperature.

To prepare the hard sauce: Combine all the ingredients and beat well until smooth and a little fluffy. Place a spoon of hard sauce on the warm pudding; it will melt onto it.