A Chat with Curtis Stone over Boozy Christmas Pudding
Curtis demonstrated how to make his version of Christmas Pudding with his wife, Lindsay Price, in their kitchen. Curtis has extensive culinary and international media experience, which is why you may know him.
“Stone has appeared on a number of cooking programs in the UK, including Dinner in a Box, Good Good Live, and Saturday Kitchen. He also hosted the first season of My Restaurant Rules in Australia. Stone hosted Take Home Chef...which went on to become an international hit for TLC.”
During the time period of Take Home Chef is when I met Curtis at a party in Hollywood Hills, California. Quite the tall guy.
Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere has a brilliant advantage over Christmastime in the Northern Hemisphere. Fresh fruit. Chrissy pudding, or Australian Christmas pudding, is a steamed dessert made with a variety of fruits.
I asked Curtis if the pudding is available at his restaurant. Maude, his restaurant in Los Angeles, California, is named in honor of grandmother and serves seasonal tasting plates. Unfortunately, the pudding is not available at the restaurant. Although the recipe is manageable for home cooks.
Christmas Pudding with Brandy-Vanilla Custard Sauce by Curtis Stone
You will need a pudding mould or 2 litre basin for this recipe.
1 1/2 cups Coles Brand Australian Currants
3/4 cup Coles Brand Sultanas, finely chopped
3/4 cup Coles Brand Pitted Prunes, finely chopped
1/3 cup Candied Orange Peel, well drained from syrup, finely chopped (see recipe)
3 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons ground Coles Brand Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground star anise (from 2-3 whole star anise)
1 teaspoon Coles Brand Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Coles Brand Ground Cloves
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
3 cups fresh rye or white breadcrumbs
2/3 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Coles Brand Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
20g Coles Brand Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, plus 125g melted (1/2 cup), cooled slightly
1/4 cup almonds, toasted, finely chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husks removed, finely chopped
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large Coles Brand Free Range Eggs
1/4 cup full cream milk
1 cup Coles Brand Thickened Cream
1/2 cup full cream milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
6 large Coles Brand Free Range Eggs- yolks only
1/3 cup Coles Brand White Sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
To make the pudding: In a large bowl, mix the currants, sultanas, prunes, candied orange peel, fresh orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in 1 cup of the rum. Stand for 30 minutes.
Stir the breadcrumbs, brown sugar, flour, and salt into the dried fruit mixture. Cover and stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Generously coat a 2-litre pudding mold with a lid with 1 tablespoon of the room temperature butter. Stir the almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and baking powder into the soaked fruit mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs, and milk to blend, and then stir this mixture into the fruit mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared pudding mold and smooth the top. Cover the pudding mold with the lid.
Place the pudding mold on a rack in a large pot. If you don’t have a rack, invert a small wide bowl and place it in the pot, then set the pudding mold on the bowl. Add enough boiling water to the pot to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Cover the pot and simmer gently and steam the pudding over medium-low heat for about 2 hours, or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, adding more boiling water to the pot if necessary. Transfer the mold to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Turn out the pudding onto a cake plate.
Meanwhile, to make the custard sauce: In a heavy large saucepan, heat the cream and milk to a near simmer over medium-high heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the cream-milk mixture; add the vanilla bean.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and thick. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture. Return the mixture to the same saucepan and stir over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (do not allow the mixture to simmer or get hotter than 79°C). Remove from the heat and pour the sauce into a bowl. Cool slightly, stirring often, for about 8 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold or serve it warm.
Mix the brandy into the sauce and season to taste with nutmeg.
To serve: Following tradition, you can flambé the brandy, if desired. To do this, be sure to place the warm pudding in a well-ventilated place and away from any flammable material. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons rum over the pudding or form an indentation in the center of the warm pudding and pour the brandy into the indentation. Using a long match, carefully ignite the brandy and allow the flames to burn off before serving.
Serve the pudding warm with the custard sauce.
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Credits: facebook.com/ChefCurtisStone, wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Stone, taste.com.au/recipes/34110/christmas+pudding+with+brandy+vanilla+custard+sauce