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December 2004
A Kentucky Christmas
edited by George Ella Lyon

Dianne Aprile’s Plum Pudding

In Dianne Aprile’s contribution to A Kentucky Christmas, “All the Right Ingredients,” she describes the development of a Christmas tradition—the making of plum pudding. She writes:

Nobody in my family made plum pudding.

In fact, I grew up thinking of plum pudding—or figgy pudding, as it’s called in Christmas carols—as a culinary artifact, a dish that went out with the Cratchit family.

Then, a few years back, while planning a holiday party, I came across a pudding recipe that sounded, oh, slightly exotic. That appealed to me; it was that kind of Christmas.

If you would like to have “that kind of Christmas,” here’s the recipe Dianne reads about and demonstrates on the bookclub@ket holiday special. She says it takes nearly all day, but is really quite easy and well worth the time.

Dianne Aprile serving plum pudding Pudding Instructions:

Plump 1 cup dark raisins in 1 cup sherry overnight or several hours.

Heavily grease a 1-quart pudding tin with a tight-fitting lid.

Cream 1 cup room-temperature butter with 1 cup sugar in a large bowl.

Blend in 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Stir in soaked raisins with remaining sherry and the following:

4 lightly beaten eggs
2 cups chopped dates
1-1/2 cups grated carrots
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1 cup currants
1 cup dark molasses
1 tablespoon each grated orange and lemon peel
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves and nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace

Mix thoroughly, spoon into prepared mold, and cover tightly.

Place a small round rack in the bottom of a large, deep pot (or use a colander-type insert). Add boiling water to reach halfway up the side of the mold.

Cover the pot and steam pudding in gently simmering water on stovetop about 5 hours. Check the water level occasionally, adding more hot water as needed to keep at the same level.

Remove the mold from the water and uncover. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Carefully loosen the edges of the pudding with a sharp knife and invert onto a platter.

Allow to stand with mold over pudding until pudding releases. Let cool for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

The pudding may be made ahead and wrapped in foil and refrigerated. Before serving, warm pudding by steaming for 1 hour in well-greased 2-quart mold with lid, as above.

Hard Sauce:

1 cup room-temperature butter
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Combine and beat until fluffy.

Serving Instructions:

Place warm pudding on serving platter. Heat 1/4 cup brandy, ignite, and pour over pudding as it is brought to the table.

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