It's not about the house.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Josephine Conroy’s Christmas Pudding Recipie

I found it!
Where? Why, tucked inside the Chinese cookbook, naturally:

Where else would it be?

Johnny said I could reprint the recipe, so I present it here verbatim with italic notes by moi. I’m not going to “sic” or make any smarmy comments on the spelling errors. I love them, they warm the cockles of my hardened heart. I leave them in here out of respect for the old girl, rest her soul, and my love for her seventh son. Who, I suspect, inherited his spelling gene from her.

Before you start, you’re going to need a really, REALLY big bowl. No, bigger. Bigger. Oh hell, you’re going to have to go out and buy one. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

No. Bigger.


This mixture makes approximately 2 Large puddings + 1 half the size

Johnny would here like to remind you that there were 13 children in his family. If you make this recipe into two puddings, (+1 half the size), you won’t be able to eat them. Or lift them. We tend to make five or six of varying sizes.

1 lb Currants + 1 lb Rasins + 1lb Sultanas

The first year we made this, I had no idea what sultanas were. Turns out they’re white raisins. Which I’d also never heard at that point. They’re yummy, but I don’t know why you need to use the white kind here, since everything turns out all raisiny-brown anyway. But you don’t question. You do what Josie says. If you know what's good for you. Goddamnit.

+ 1 Small tub of Candy Peel

You know what this is, right? The multi-colored so-called “citrus rind”? But we don’t know how much a “small tub” is. The smallest tub we found looks puny when you line it up with all the other stuff, so we’ve settled on using a pint.

(OK instead of bying seperatley 3 lb of Mixed Fruit)

Oh sure, now she tells us.

1 or 2 Table Spoons of Treacle

Do you know what treacle is? It’s this:

Do you know where it comes from? Why, you draw it from a well, of course. If you don’t have any treacle-wells in your area, try blackstrap molasses. If you have to use regular molasses, well, I don’t think it will suck. One or two tablespoons, though? That’s silly. You try measuring treacle by the tablespoon. We just plop in a healthy plop.

1 lb of Brown Sugar
1 tea Spoon of Cinnamon + 1 tea Sp of Nutmeg + 1 tea Sp of Mixed Ground Spices

We have no idea what "Mixed Ground Spices" are. I know you’re itching for the comment button to suggest that she meant allspice, but Josie knew what “allspice” was – and she knew it didn’t mean “all of the spices.” We usually wing it, adding a dash each from all the bakey-type jars, and figure it adds up to a teaspoon of Mixed Ground.

1 lb of Plain Flour

I once gave myself a stroke trying to figure out how many cups were in a pound. Now? I guess. Three or four, I think. Or you could buy one of those itty-bitty bags.

1 lb Loaf Stale Grated

That would be bread. Pound, shmound: use what you got. If you don’t got, go get, and leave it on the counter overnight. Don’t worry, the candy peel will be there in the morning.

1 Grated Apple + 1 Grated Orange

Core: no. Seeds: no. Peel: yes

4 Eggs 1 Packet of Suet

Again, no idea how much “1 Packet” is. We usually go with about a pound, since that seems to be the going rate here. You have to dice it up pretty small first. Try to ignore the smell.

2 Glasses of Guinness 1 Large Glass of Whiskey.

That would be Imperial pints all around. We’ve accidentally switched the quantities and it didn’t suck.

Method Mix all Dry Ingridients first then Add All the rest

Here’s where you really have to roll your sleeves up and get into it. There is just no way to stir it with a spoon. Don’t be afraid of the raw egg or the beef fat. You’ll wash when you’re finished, and the smell does come out. Eventually.

Steam for 5 to 6 Hours P.T.O.

We have absolutely no idea what P.T.O. stands for (anybody?), but here’s what we do: line a bowl with waxed paper, pack it full of pudding – I said PACK it! – then put another piece of waxed paper on top. Repeat until you’ve used up all your bowls. Then go get more, and repeat until you’ve used up all your pudding. Now go get yourself a bigger pot. In fact, while you’re out, get two. Put something in the bottom of them to keep your bowls off of the heat, then stack them in there any way you can. Now add as much water as possible without it going over the lip of your bottom bowl, and simmer the whole shebang for a half a dozen hours. You’ll have to keep adding water as you go along, but be careful not to get it in your pudding!

Allow at least 6 weeks for the Pudding to Mature 8 for best Result.

Just leave them in the waxed paper you cooked them in and put them in the cupboard. After the first few weeks or so, it’s time to start feeding the thirsty little buggers. You’ll have to figure out how to set this up yourself, but the point is to keep flipping them and pouring brandy over them every day (Josie always used the Christian Brothers) until finally one day you’ll discover that they haven’t drunk up what you gave them yesterday. Then they’re full. Wrap ‘em back up and let ‘em sit for another couple weeks.

Then, when it’s Christmas Day at last, heat them up, give them one more douse with brandy, and burn those motherf'ers down!

Ooh, I almost forgot about the hard sauce. How could I forget about the hard sauce? More brandy + sugar + butter. Mix it all up and pour it over your hot flaming pudd.

You can also buy it, but that's nowhere near as fun:

You didn't think I meant the pudding, did you? Shame. The pudding you absolutely have to make yourself, even if it means putting the leftovers in sucker bags and keeping them in the attic for a year.

And, for extra-festive goodness, you can garnish with a plastic dinosaur:

Congratulations, Sparkle, for identifying this cow pattie-looking thing! Enjoy! And god bless us, every one.

Especially Josie.


Charlie said...

You mean you PACKED UP Christmas pudding for AN ENTIRE YEAR????
What do you do with it now??
Eat it?

I think I will stick with my nice sterile American (extra preservatives, please) Christmas treats.

janice said...

PTO at the bottom of the page means Please Turn Over - but you did know that really, didn't you...

And we have mixed ground spice here in little jars - yes, mixed, I think cinnamon and ginger and umm, other stuff...

Ladyscot said...

Cups in a pound of flour? Seems to me I'd go grab my kitchen scale and weigh it! Uuh, you don't have a scale, then I guess you keep on guessing.

theotherbear said...

I use the recipe my grandma gave me, she used to make them. I had to work out what her instruction of "Add sufficient stout" was. heh.

PS I think mixed ground spice is is a mix of ground caraway, allspice, nutmeg and ginger; also cinnamon and sometimes coriander and cumin. It is usually used in fruit cakes and christmas pudds.

theotherbear said...

By the way, what was on the other side of the page? The P.T.O. makes me wonder what came next!

EGE said...

Aha! Please Turn Over! No, I really didn't know that -- we usually just write "(over)" in very small letters.

The other side has the last sentence: Allow 6 weeks etc.

And yes, we are going to eat it. I don't know if anybody else will, now that they've read this, but Johnny says they used to do it all the time -- and they didn't even have the Super Sucker Machine to seal it up with.

Me, I can only promise to have one bite, but if it doesn't suck I'll carry on. Marital harmony, remember!

EGE said...

PS Kitchen scale? KITCHEN scale? Don't be ridiculous!

jen said...

Oh my gad. No. Really. With all due respect to Josie, and you KNOW I love me some Johnny...
That totally sounds even more gross than even I could imagine. I know for a fact that I cannot imagine how gross that is. And, I am so very sad, because I always thought Christmas pudding was, I dont know...Full of hope, love and chocolate. Im depressed, now.
Im going to go have a pep peep... said...

There is no way in hell I have the patience to make this...but feel free to ship some to me cause the curiousity is killin' me!

EGE said...

ILU -- Do you jest? Because I have Johnny's permission if you're serious...

Anonymous said...

You've stored this "food" in yer attic for a YEAR, and you want to EAT IT??? DO NOT EAT IT! Call the Poison Control hotline (or the bomb squad). Or try it liek this: put in a fuse and toss it out into your ample backyard andsee what happen.

Anonymous said...

Oh hell, record what happens and post on youtube so we all can see.

janice said...

There shouldn't be a problem with eating this - its been well preserved in three ways - the high sugar content (lollies don't go off because of the high sugar content), the high alcohol content (you don't throw away your whiskey when its a year old) and the vacuum sealed bag as well! It used to be a tradition to save the top tier of the wedding cake (fruit cake, similar to this fruit pudding) to eat at the first child's christening - that could be a year or two but the cake was well preserved by the sugar (not just the added sugar but the sugar in the dried fruit) and any alcohol it may have been soaked in. said...

I'll eat it and blog it...I have an iron stomach and am curious!

PO Box 778371
Woodside, NY 11377

Bring it on!!


su said...

What????? no pudding soup, why the very idea! I was so counting on it.
Remember the 4 day old cooked room temp chicken on Grampy Jim's camp counter! rest my case