The proof in the (Christmas) pudding

A week late, as always, we stirred the pudding.

Our ingredients:

750g mixed dried fruit, bought at the market in Urgup, Capadocia, including currents (i.e. 'Corinthian' grapes) Sultanas (or 'Smyrna', i.e. 'Izmir grapes'), black and white raisins, that had to be seeded, prunes, soaked in Jameson so they're soft enough to stone (yes, not because I want to up the alcohol content. No, not at all), figs, dates, black apricots. Then there's the usual: sugar, bread crumbs, a bit of flour. Some butter (I'll be f****d if I use beef fat or margerine), eggs, black beer, our own limoncello imbibed candied peel, some white grapes pekmez (molasses) bought in Urgup. And spices: allspice, cinnamon, and, my favourite, mango armchoor powder. Don't ask.

So now it's boiling. It needs to be in for ten hours. We'll do five tonight and another five tomorrow. Then it sits on a shelf till Christmas day when it has to be boiled again (only three hours, though).

But before wrapping it (greaseproof paper over the bowl, tied with string, foil covering it), it had to be stirred, by all the family.
Starting with the youngest: our very own (very literal) Jamie Oliver:

And of course you have to have a sixpence in the pudding. They're not that easy to come by here, so we use a nazar boncuk: a bead for chasing away the evil eye.

So now, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. But the nice thing about traditions is that you do the same thing over and over again - so we're not overly concerned about how it will come out. Now all we need is for our friends from Istanbul to get going with the brandy butter!


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm that sounds delicious. Never made a xmas pud before, but I would love to try... However, in order to try this, I'd need a few more details about how much of sugar and the other stuff. What is black beer?
The boiling is in a pan on the stove? needs stirring all the time?
and then, what is it with this brandy butter, what is it and what do I do?

@jencull (jen) said...

Jameson and 'black beer', go on, you have a bit of Irish in you :) Jen

Sandrine said...

Hippocampa: fair enough -difficult to intuit that sort of thing!
bread crumbs: 175g, flour: 85g, sugar: 250g, butter(or the nasty beef fat that they use in the UK): 200g, 3 eggs, fruit: 750g, black beer (stout like guiness is best, but we have to use Efes Dark: an abomination if there ever was one): 100ml, 1 tbspoon of molasses of some sort. Spices to taste.
When it's mixed you bang it all in a pudding bowl, which is basically a roundish bowl that you can heat. We fill up the bowl more or less to the brim, as the pudding doesn't rise. It just sort of gets heavier. Not an appetizing thought.
Then the 'boiling' is some sort of bain-marie. You place the tightly covered bowl (I use grease proof paper and foil) in a pan and pour water in the pan that comes up to half the bowl, cover, put it on the hob and bring to boil, and let the water boil for 10 hours if you have one big pudding or six if you have two smaller ones. I know it doesn't add up. It's pudding maths. You just need to make sure it doesn't boil dry, so check every now and again, when you remember.
I think that's it. But let me know if I've forgotten something.
The brandy butter: that I don't know. A friend makes it and brings it to our Christmas dinner. His father's recipe, I believe... But you serve it with the pudding, as you would ice-cream (if you were american, that is).

Sandrine said...

Jen: I'm sorry to say, the only reason I used Jameson is that I couldn't find brandy, and I had a big bottle of Jameson which I am not very fond of (and my husband wasn't looking). As for the black beer, as I just said to Hippocampa, it's unfortunately not the real thing. We used to be able to get Guinness here for a while, and then the company had an argument with the people in charge of letting interesting things in the country... Otherwise, I would gladly go Irish on that one. (Especially as you only need to use 100ml of the stuff, so in order not to waste you need to finish it up!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the details! I can get guiness here, so that's not a problem then.
Still have a bit of a question about the "to taste", I love things to be well spiced so do I put in entire tablespoons of everything or is that over the top? That's what I'd go for though.
And I was wondering, shouldn't christmas pud be sort of dried out first and then fed with some alcoholic beverage to remoisten it every day until christmas?

Anonymous said...

Only now realised you put the ingredients in their appropriate measurements (grs for solids, ml for fluids for those who wonder) and not in cups, so happy with that! :D

Sandrine said...

I put in a small handful of allspice, and about a table spoonfull of cinammon and of mango armchoor powder (although I wrote 'a pinch' in my recipe book as my husband believes there should not be any armchoor powder in christmas pudding...)
I don't know anything about re-hydrating the pudding. But then again I'm not actually British so what do I know!

'Im Indoors said...

That's Christmas cake, which is a rather different kind of beast

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