For years, I've made a steamed suet pudding at Christmastime or New Years, depending on when we were having a gang in to eat the thing! You see, steamed pudding is one of those holiday treats that has earned the comment, 'A little bit goes a long way.' It IS very rich ... not as cloying as a fruitcake, not quite as heavy, but it 'sticks to your ribs', so to speak. Eating it right after a full Christmas feast is like dropping a brick ... you know where I'm going here. It's saving grace is it's warm steaminess and the warm sherry sauce that is drizzled over it, just before serving. Because of the aforementioned, we have always tended to have it later in the evening with a cup of tea or a glass of warm milk or eggnog, when we can appreciate it ... because despite the harangue, it is truly delicious.
I always thought it had to be made in an old coffee can because that is how my mother-in-law made it. Jane Allbee Lindquist made it every year. It would appear on the Thanksgiving table with the pies, to the appreciating sighs of Silent Bob and his brothers and sisters. She would press it out of the coffee can and onto a platter, slice it into rounds, and drizzle it with warm Sterling sauce. Delicious!
Years passed and we lost Jane. There were no more Thanksgivings at the farm, as we all started staying at our own homes for the holidays and having rafts of children. Gradually, SB started asking me to make it around holiday time, as we would always have folks visit at some point between Thanksgiving and New Years. The traditional pudding returned! One year, I found a proper steaming mold that made a picture perfect suet pudding. I would make the pudding and dust it with confectioner's sugar, stick the traditional holly sprig in it and make a big deal of presenting it to SB ... just like Mrs. Cratchit does in 'A Christmas Carol' ... and of course, SB's traditional response was, 'Another triumph, my dear!' The kids would clap and we would toast old Scrooge and holler 'Merry Christmas'! or 'Happy New Year!' or 'God bless us, every one!'
Fast forward to 2003 ... we moved. The pudding mold was lost in the shuffle along with various and sundry.
Christmas came and ... where is the pudding mold?! has anyone seen it?, absconded with it?, sold it at a flea market? No, no, and no, again! Well, I can't make the pudding without the mold! It just wouldn't be right! So... there has been no pudding during the holidays for the Lindquists for quite a while. Until ...
Ah, the wonders of Ebay! I found a mold at auction that is exactly like my old favorite! So, this year the pudding returns! Huzzah! Huzzah!
Let's make suet pudding! On the twelth day of Christmas, Ebay sent to me ...
Christmas Suet Pudding - printer friendly
Christmas Suet Pudding
Whisk together in a bowl:
3 c. flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. each: allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg
2 tsp. lemon zest
Add and toss to coat:
¾ c. golden sultanas
¾ c. dried currants
In a separate bowl, whip together:
1 c. molasses
1 c. finely ground suet OR 1 c. Crisco shortening
2/3 c. eggnog
1/3 c. whole milk
Add all at once to the dry ingredients and mix well.
3 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other good quality brandy
Turn into a well-greased pudding mold. Fill no more than 2/3 full.
Steam for three hours, keeping the water level up past the level of the pudding in the mold. I use a large stock pot with a rack in the bottom to keep the mold off the bottom of the pot and away from direct heat. I also tie a string to the cover’s ring to make lifting the pudding easier and safer. The pudding is done when a cake tester comes clean when inserted midway between the inner and outer rings of a ‘Bundt-like’ mold or from the center of the oval or circular molds.
When the pudding is done, remove it from the steam bath and set it on a rack to cool a bit. After ten minutes, remove the cover and turn it onto a pretty serving platter. Let it set a few more minutes and then gently tap it to remove the pudding.
Serve the pudding warmed with whipped cream, ice cream (Rum raisin is a good option.), or the traditional Sterling Sauce.
Cream together in a bowl:
1/3 c. butter
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Add a bit at a time:
3 tbsp. warm cream
2 tbsp. sherry
Drizzle over warm slices of suet pudding just before serving OR drizzle over the whole pudding and allow the sauce to firm up well before slicing.
Notes: ... Grand Marnier in the Sterling sauce instead of the sherry ... my gift to you.