With Christmas well on its way let's take a look at a modern version of an old favourite dessert more often than not reserved for the day we celebrate the birth of Christ: plum duff.
It is just as well Christmas falls during the summer school holidays as a nipper this allowed me to be at my grandmother's home when the true traditional plum duff was made.
In those days my grandparents lived in Melbourne St and I was the one lucky enough to be allowed to place the three penny coins in the puds. At the same time we were at home preparing for the big day, granddad was busy at the bakery making dozens of the same for the many customers at the time.
Looking at my grandparents' recipes they were indeed time consuming puddings and very heavy with as much in weight of breadcrumbs as there was flour and suet. With additional ingredients such as eggs, raisins, sultanas, currents, peel, spices, brandy, caramel (for color) and lots of hand beating the mixture was placed into the muslin cloth and coins added prior to tying it off.
Traditionally steamed in muslin cloth, the rich, dark and full-of-fruit pudding was boiled for quite some time then left to hang in the safe until the big day. These days we tend to enjoy a much lighter and moist style of puddings, which are much easier and less time-consuming to prepare and present.
So for the busy people who still have a desire for a real Christmassy flavoured pudding try the following recipe. If you prefer a darker version, simply add some caramel colouring and flavouring. This one is great steamed and can also be baked in the oven as you would a muffin.
RECIPE: PLUM DUFF
110g brown sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 bitter apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp fruit mince meat
1/3 tsp ground mace
1 tsp lemon juice
Grated zest of one orange
Grated zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp candied mixed peel
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric beater until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time making sure you beat well between addition.
Very carefully fold in the flour, mace and salt. Now add the remaining ingredients, again carefully folding them through.
Prepare the basin if you are steaming the pudding by buttering it slightly. If baking as muffins, grease the muffin tins. If steaming steam for 2 hours. If baking bake for 18-20 minutes at 180degC.
Serve with real custard which has a little brandy added if desired.
» Graham Hawkes runs Flannagans Seafood Restaurant in Invercargill
- The Southland Times
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