Plum Pudding For Christmas
Thursday December 14th 2006, 11:20 pm

Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my grandmother made several steamed plum puddings. She would keep a few for our family and give the rest away to friends. After we ate our turkey dinner on Christmas day, she served the delicious plum pudding covered with a white vanilla sauce and it was so good. Unfortunately I never got the recipe before my grandmother died in 1969. I could figure out how to make the sauce but not how to steam the pudding which was tied tightly in cloth, put in a bowl and steamed in water for a few hours. I remembered some of the ingredients such as suet, raisins and peel but I didn’t feel confident enough to make it so I made other desserts for Christmas for the first ten years of our marriage.

Shortly after I got my first microwave in 1980, I found a recipe for a microwave plum pudding which was easy to make. It was good but not as moist as a steamed pudding. My mother-in-law had also made a steamed plum pudding and every one in their family raved about it. She made a sauce made with mixed spice. I preferred my grandmother’s sauce, but because my husband loved his mother’s sauce and I liked it too, I compromised and made his mother’s sauce with a few changes to suit me. Plum pudding is a traditional English dessert for Christmas and both my grandmother and my husband’s ancesters were from England. My mother-in-law’s sauce seems to be a variation of nutmeg sauce, which is an old English traditional sauce. It has the same ingredients except the mixed spice has replaced the nutmeg.

For the past five or six years I haven’t made the pudding but I think we are ready to have it again this year. I plan on making it tomorrow but the sauce will be made on Christmas day, just before serving the pudding.

Here is the recipe for the
Microwave Plum Pudding
2 T. brown sugar
4 cups soft white bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teas baking soda
1 teas cinnamon
1/4 teas salt
1/4 tead nutmeg
1/4 teas allspice
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brandy or rum
3 T. molasses
2 eggs
1 teas lemon peel
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants

Grease an eight cup mold. Sprinkle the inside with brown sugar. Mix ingredients together and pour into the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and place on an inverted saucer. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 12 to 17 minutes. Let stand for five minutes.

Plum Pudding Sauce
Boil together 1 cup sugar and 4 cups of water, add 1 teas salt. Mix 1/2 cup of flour with 4 teas of mixed spice and a little cold water and shake together in a gravy maker until lump free. Add to the sugar mixture and heat to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until thickened, add 1 teas of vanilla and 2 T of butter.

Mixed spice is also called pudding spice and is an English blend of sweet spices used in plum puddings. It typically contains cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and may also contain mace, cloves and ginger. I could substitute mixed spice for the spices in the plum pudding recipe. This spice was made by Schwartz but you can no longer buy Schwartz spices in our area. None of the other spice makers have it, but I have a few bottles left, which should last me for years. I love the smell of this being made on Christmas day. To me plum pudding means Christmas.