As I was soaking some dried fruit for Christmas cakes and puddings I thought about how much more important it is to look for frugal options these days. And yes, I know most of you have made your Christmas cakes already. I’ve been soaking fruit in November and making cakes at the beginning of December for some years now … no one has complained yet … grin …
As I was stirring the fruit and alcohol, I was reminded of a pudding recipe that I inherited from my Scottish aunt who had probably used it since WWII rationing. Half Pay Pudding was made all year round but by making it slightly richer it makes just the best Christmas pudding.
Half Pay Pudding
1 tea cup bread crumbs
1 tea cup plain flour
1 tea cup brown sugar
1 tea cup of mixed dried fruits [ all kinds of raisins, currants, chopped apricots, lemon peel, dried cranberries, other dried fruits finely chopped]
1 tea cup of vegetable fat, or lard
3/4 cup milk, soya milk, or almond milk
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1] Mix bread crumbs, flour, sugar, dried fruit, fat, spices in a bowl
2] Add the baking soda to the milk then mix into bread crumb mix
3] Pour into a greased pudding basin, cover with several sheets of waxed paper tied around the lip of your pudding basin with string and steam in a covered pot half full of water for 3 hours. [I use a Pyrex bowl as a pudding basin … anything heat resistent that will hold 3 cups of mix and a bit of room for it to rise]
4] Turn out onto a serving plate and serve with brandy butter … oh, sheer luxury … or lemon sauce, ice cream etc.
Take the recipe above and substitute 1/2 cup of sugar and 1.5 cups of mixed fruit that you have soaked in the liquor of your choice.
Note: To make a large family size pudding use a mug instead of a tea cup and double the amounts of baking soda and spices. The recipe is very forgiving as long as you keep the ratios consistent.
Check the water in your steamer from time to time, adding as necessary.
Enjoy~!!!! …. S.