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Title: Plum Pudding
 Categories: Desserts
      Yield: 6 servings
 
     12 oz Pitted prunes, chopped
     10 oz Dried currants
      8 oz Dark raisins
      4 oz Glace fruit (candied fruit
           -peel)
      1 lg Orange, zest only
    1/3 c  Orange juice
      1 lg Lemon, zest only
    1/4 c  Lemon juice
      1 tb Apricot puree
      1 tb Molasses
    1/3 c  Guinness stout
    1/2 c  Or more Cognac or brandy
    1/4 c  Tawny port
    1/4 c  Or more Frangelico liqueur
    1/2 ts (rounded) cinnamon
    1/2 ts (rounded) ground nutmeg
    1/2 ts Ground black pepper
    1/2 ts (scant) ground cloves
      1 c  + 1 tb dark brown sugar
      8 c  Fresh white bread crumbs *
      6 oz Butter, melted, + additional
           -as needed
           Holly sprigs and glace
           -cherries, for garnish
           Vanilla-flavored whipped
           -cream, lightly sweetened
 
  * from homemade-style sliced white bread
  
  This is the near-perfect Christmas dinner dessert, richly flavored
  with a dense but light texture. This pudding is successful made just
  one week out or even a few days before serving, and it's easy, in
  spite of its length.
  
  Combine the prunes, currants, raisins, glace fruit, citrus rinds and
  juice, apricot puree and molasses in a large nonreactive bowl. Add
  the stout, 1/2 cup Cognac, the port and 1/4 cup Frangelico. Mix well.
  Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Add the sugar and
  mix very well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 24
  hours, stirring occasionally.
  
  The following day, let mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  Fold in the bread crumbs with a rubber spatula, in batches if
  necessary, until crumbs are thoroughly combined and no white specks
  are visible. Mixture will be stiff. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  Thoroughly fold in the melted butter. There should be about 9 cups of
  batter.
  
  Lightly butter two 4-cup and one 2 1/2-cup steamed pudding molds,
  heat-proof ceramic bowls or stainless-steel bowls. Lightly pack 3 1/2
  cups of batter into the 4 cup molds and 2 cups of batter into the 2
  1/2-cup mold. Smooth tops with a rubber spatula.
  
  Press a lightly buttered round of baking parchment directly onto the
  surface of each pudding. Cover each mold with its lid or each bowl
  with aluminum foil.
  
  Place molds in pots with boiling water that comes 3/4 of the way up
  the sides of the molds; cover pots. Steam puddings for 4 hours over
  low or medium-low heat, so water boils gently. Replenish boiling
  water as necessary to maintain level.
  
  Transfer puddings to wire racks; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate
  puddings, covered with baking parchment and plastic wrap, for up to 6
  days. Brush them lightly once or twice with Cognac or Frangelico, if
  desired.
  
  To serve, let pudding stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Steam,
  covered with parchment paper and aluminum foil, for 2 1/2 hours. Let
  cool on a rack for 1 1/2 hours. Pudding should still be warm. Run a
  knife around the edge of the pudding. Invert pudding onto cake stand
  or platter. Decorate with holly sprigs and glace cherries.
  
  To flambe pudding: Pour about 2 tablespoons hot Cognac over the top.
  Carefully and immediately ignite it with a match. Blue flames will
  subside when alcohol has burned off.
  
  Slice the pudding and serve with whipped cream.
  
  Yields 2 large puddings, serving 8 to 10 each, and 1 small pudding
  that serves 6 to 8.
  
  PER SERVING: 230 calories, 3 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (3
  g saturated), 13 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
  
  Maria Cianci writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, 12/16/92.






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