One final holiday post to share one of the new desserts I tried making this season, a traditional English Christmas pudding.
I'll admit it was more the Anglophile in me than anything else that prompted me to try making this. The ingredients and process, as well as the use of term "pudding" itself, are all quite unusual compared to the typical American dessert. The pudding preparation actually began several weeks before Christmas. I combined a laundry list of ingredients--everything from dried fruit, flour, and shortening to grated carrots and apples to brandy and Guinness-- in a mixing bowl and steamed it in a stove top water bath for a whopping seven hours. Then, after sitting in the back of the fridge until Christmas Eve, I steamed it for another two hours before unmolding and serving it. The prominent flavors in the finished pudding were sweetness from the fruit and Bradny, and the overall consensus was positive. I'm not sure if it will become a yearly tradition, but it was a fun project to try at least once.
The pudding recipe I used came from a source that some people might actually be skeptical of: Celebrate, Pippa Middleton's cookbook/ entertaining book.
I picked this up for a look out of pure curiosity when I saw it in the bookstore and was so pleasantly surprised by what I found inside that I ended up buying it. Divided into four seasons, the book offers recipes, party themes, and decorating suggestions for a a variety of holidays and occasions. The ideas may not be anything that Martha Stewart hasn't already covered in her day, but I found them to be festive and inspirational in an accessible way. I've tried out several of the other recipes besides the pudding so far, including bean stuffed peppers, butternut squash lasagna, and a chocolate coffee cake with a buttercream icing, and all have turned out delicious and have met with rave reviews. I'm not naive enough to think that Pippa herself necessarily created all of these on her own without the help of recipe developers and food stylists, but I do think the overall collection is a worthy book that can be enjoyed by an audience beyond just curious Royal-watchers.