Tara Nanayakkara

The Proof is in the Plum Pudding

IMG_0451It took three tries and finally I think I got it right - making a plum pudding that is. For decades I saw my mother making plum puddings for the Christmas season. For decades I paid no attention to the process of mixing the ingredients and then steaming the mixture for hours into plum perfection as they're unmolded in their coin-studded glory. The tradition being that if you discovered a dime in your slice of pudding, it meant the following year would bring you good luck.

This year I thought I'd try making my own puddings. Even though I knew how to create a fragrant lamb biriyani and I have baked some pretty good birthday cakes for family birthdays, I had no concept of how to go about making a plum pudding; much less steaming one. I knew enough to realize that there are no actual plums in said pudding but the thing is, even if there were, how do you steam it? Better yet what exactly are you to steam it in? I had a vague recollection of a white ceramic bowl and the presence of aluminum foil when my mother did it, but then what?

I went around to all the shops asking if they had pudding molds. Most didn't. I found that strange considering all, and I mean all the church ladies at the fall fairs my daughter and I go to seemed to own them. That's it. They bought them all, lock stock and barrel, which meant they wanted me to keep buying their puddings rather than making my own.

Not happening this year.  I will pull this off with a plum...um I mean aplomb.

Eventually I did manage to find my pudding molds.  I couldn't find my mother's recipe so I improvised by going on-line and finding a pudding recipe created by a molasses company. In theory the recipe seemed fine but it's never a good idea to use cooking molasses when they specifically ask for fancy molasses. Who knew? What turned up was a dark behemoth of a plum pudding that could trigger an avalanche if someone decided to roll it down the steep side a snowy hill.

Not to be defeated, I tossed that recipe out the virtual window and went for a different one. The results of my second attempt would have been acceptable if I didn't forget the flour and then in a panic uncover the steamer, open the pudding mold cover and blend it in half way through cooking. The end result was a rather spotty looking pudding .

Now for my third and final attempt of the season, I have finally done it. I just pulled off the perfect Christmas treat and yes the proof is definitely in this plum pudding.