Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Preparing for Christmas- Dishes to Make in Advance - Christmas Pudding, Mulled Wine Sorbet and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Christmas Pudding

Todays Christmas Pudding of today was completely different at its origin. It started life as a 14th Century 'porridge' called frumenty. This combined the unlikely ingredients of boiled beef and mutton with fruits, wines and spices and was more like soup than a pudding. It tended to be eaten as a fasting dish in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

By 1595 it had evolved into the more recognisable dessert we know today. It was thickened using eggs and bread crumbs, more dried fruit was included and the addition of ale and spirits gave it much more flavour. In the 1700s King George I developed a taste for plum pudding and established it as part of the Christmas feast.

l lb of each: raisins, currants, golden raisins, breadcrumbs, brown sugar
8oz suet
4oz each: mixed peel, glacé cherries chopped, almonds chopped
1 lemon - grate rind
1 orange - grate rind
1 carrot – grated
1 apple - grated
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp salt
6-8 eggs
10oz stout or 5 oz each brandy & milk.

Mix dry ingredients first then mix with lightly beaten eggs and liquid. Grease the bottom of a bowl large enough to hold pudding and press mixture into it. Place wax paper over the top and then foil over that, crimping it around the edges to keep firm. Either cook for 2 hours in pressure cooker with about 2 inches water or put in pan with water on stove for 4 hours. Keep checking water in pan to prevent burning. Store well wrapped for as long as possible for better flavour. Some people make them one year to eat the next.

To light your Christmas Pudding make sure you heat your steel ladle so that when your pour the brandy in it ignites straight away. If it doesn't just touch the tip of the lade to the flame . . . then pour over the Pudding. Please be very careful!

Mulled Wine Sorbet

Mulled Wine – see our Recipes section for recipe
100g caster sugar
100ml water

Heat water and sugar together until dissolved and leave to cool. Add the sugar syrup to the mulled wine. Pour into a container and freeze until mushy. Mash with a fork to break up the ice crystals and place back in the freezer.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

225ml milk
1 cinnamon stick
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
450ml whipping or double cream

Put the milk in a pan with the cinnamon stick and bring to the boil. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and ground cinnamon. Discard the cinnamon stick, then strain the hot milk over the yolks, whisking continuously. Pour the custard mix back into a pan and cook on a low- heat for 10 mins, stirring constantly until thickened. Whisk the custard into the cream, then cool, chill and freeze until mushy. Remove from freezer, stir well, repeat process twice more until the mix is smooth and place back in freezer.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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