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Christmas Plum Pudding and Hard Sauce

Christmas Plum Pudding is the stuff of legend. It appears in many traditional Christmas stories. Its not the easiest dish to make, but as an activity for the children, its a real blast and scores high on the fun meter.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c currants
2 c raisins
3/4 c prunes
2 c mixed candied fruit
1 lb beef suet, cleaned
juice and zest of one lemon
juice and zest of one orange
5 c bread crumbs
2 1/2 c flour
1 c chopped almonds
2 c cooking apples, chopped
1 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 t ginger
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
2 t salt
1 qt cooking rum or cognac
4 eggs

HARD SAUCE

1 c unsalted butter, softened
2 c confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
3 T cooking brandy
1 nutmeg


Directions:

Start this pudding well ahead of when you plan to serve it so that it has time to sit and absorb alcohol before Christmas.

Wash the candied fruit, raisins and prunes. Chop the prunes. Mince the candied fruit and the suet.

Add all ingredients except liquor and eggs to a large bowl. Stir to mix very well. Add 1 cup of the liquor and stir again. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and put in a cool place.

Uncover every day, add 2 tablespoons run or cognac and stir will. Recover. Continue until all but 1/4 cup of the liquor is added.

At this stage, pudding can stand 2 to 4 weeks.

When you are ready to cook it, add the eggs. The mixture may be thinned a little with milk if it seems necessary. Butter and flour pudding mold (a metal mixer bowl works well). Add pudding mixture and cover with clean cotton cloth, tying securely with string. Set mold in large pot of boiling water and boil at least six hours.

Remove and let stand 30 minutes. Unmold onto serving platter, then heat remaining run or cognac, pour it over the pudding and light it. Serve with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce:
Thoroughly cream butter. Beat sugar in gradually, as if making mayonnaise. Add vanilla and brandy, beating gradually. Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle nutmeg over the surface. Chill until needed.

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