Yanked™ Recipes, History of Food and Much More!

..........It's Just That Simple!

Yanking tough recipes out of a chefs kitchen and converting each into
something everyone can prepare, with a little Yankee flair and flavor.

  
  
  

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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

Trying to get to the bottom of this classic Christmas dessert is like explaining to children how Santa comes in the house when you have not fireplace.

But there is one thing that is certain. There is only one place in all of America that these words relate to during the Holiday season, and that is New England.

The preparation of any Christmas Pudding(aka Plum Pudding) always started on the first Sunday of Advent, universally referred to as 'Str up Sunday' by our colonial ancestors. They were gently reminded by their minister, while attending Sunday meeting, when he began to preach, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people....". Nobody would ever have attempted to serve Christmas Pudding without letting it sit for at least 3 weeks in order for all the fruit flavors to mingle all together.

 

But even before the popularity of Plum Pudding, was the, now forgotten, Plum Soup. In the early days, Plum Pudding was slowly cooked and stirred much like mincemeat, but then bagged in muslim and set in a large copper kettle to simmer for hours on end. The richer folks would use elaborate plum pudding molds. Plum Soup was the still liquidy mixture before being bagged and steamed.

 

Another forgotten dish was Dumb Cake. As the men were dragging in the monstrous Yule log, the single girls of age in the household were busy making and baking this fruit-laden cake. They were forbidden to talk while preparing and baking it. Once made, baked and cooled, she would then stay up until midnight when her future husband was to walk into the kitchen and turn the cake.

 

The earliest example of Plum Pudding being served, that I can find, is when King Henry VIII served it during his reign, 1509-1547, but most assuredly it was made far before. It was made with true plums at that time as well, only deviating to raisins around 1700 here in New England.

 

By the mid 1700s in New England, Hunting Pudding was a popular type of boiled pudding. So named because it was often carried by the husbands as they spent days on end hunting for their Holiday feast.

At the same time, a fun book was published in 1740 titled Christmas Entertainments. For those who can't read the entire title of this book in the picture, it reads in total:

 

"CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENTS: WHEREIN IS DESCRIBED ABUNDANCE OF FIDDLE-FADDLE-STUFF, RAW-HEADS, BLOODY-BONES, BUGGYBOWS, AND SUCH LIKE HORRIBLE BODIES; EATING, DRINKING, KISSING, & OTHER DIVERSIONS; WITCHES, WIZARDS, CONJURERS, AND THEIR MERRY PRANKS; FAIRIES, SPECTRES, GHOSTS, & APPARITIONS; A RIGHT MERRIE TALE:- THE STORY OF JACK SPRIGGINS AND THE ENCHANTED BEAN; CURIOUS MEMOIRS OF OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS"

 

It is suggested that the recipe for "plum porridge" was first printed herein. It was around this period in England that the term Christmas Pudding was being generally used for plum pudding/plum porridge, with Eliza Acton first calling it Christmas Pudding in print in the late 1700s.

 

So as you can see, it is difficult to separate one pudding from another porridge, regardless of the nomenclature. The name and origin is just as diluted as the recipe itself. But the same premise stays with us, steamed slowly with fruit and weight.

 

Of course, one may think these types of puddings are too heavy(much like fruitcake), some may think too time consuming to prepare. Others will instantly think of all the fat and calories that must follow such a rich classic.

 

Well I have Yanked™ this recipe without upsetting the great balance of taste and texture for a dessert we can all enjoy. Not only simplifying the preparation and bringing the ingredient list to todays tastes, but replacing the Hard Sauce, that has turned many faces alee as well.

 

Old Fashioned Christmas Ginger Pudding with Bog Sauce

Such a fantastic Christmas Pudding, serve this delicious classic with a much lighter version of hard sauce below. Although traditional hard sauce has a ton of butter and powdered sugar, I think you will find the pudding is elevated in a delightfully fruity way using Bog Sauce instead.

 

 

1(10.5-ounce)empty coffee can, 1 quart measure

Oil to grease

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup eggnog

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda

1 cup ginger preserves, divided

Boiling water

Bog Sauce, recipe below

1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

 

Use your can opener to remove any lip on the open end of the coffee can, keeping one end intact. Being very careful, place some oil on a napkin or paper towel and liberally grease the inside of the can; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until creamy. Add eggnog and continue beating until smooth. In a separate, bowl, blend flour, baking powder and soda. Add to butter mixture and beat, on low, until smooth. Fold in half the preserves Transfer to prepared can, it should come halfway up. Gently tap the bottom on the counter to even out. Place a foil over the top, held by an elastic. If your coffee can came with a plastic lid, use this in place of the foil.

Place in crockpot, pour boiling water to come up about a third of the way, cover and turn the crockpot on high. "Steam" for 2 1/2 hours, or until it is firm in the center when you remove foil or lid. If you find the water boiling, simply reduce heat until it is just barely simmering.

Remove from water and let cool for a few minutes without removing lid or foil before transferring to refrigerator to completely cool while still in can. Open both ends and run a knife around the inside to loosen. Push pudding out with a flat-bottomed glass or tumbler. Slice pudding in any fashion you desire with warm Bog Sauce for dipping. for the Bog Sauce, place remainder of preserves and cranberry sauce in a small saucepan and heat, stirring well.

 

Enough for 4 servings.

 

Note: If you would like to serve this warm, it is best to cool completely first, then remove from can. Then just simply microwave, covered with film wrap on a plate, until hot throughout.

 

 

Dark Chocolate Steamed Pudding  

A much lighter version of the infamous Plum Pudding of old, yet just as flavorful. Who says you need fancy molds and steamers to create a delicious steamed pudding? Not me!

 

1(10.5-ounce)empty coffee can, 1 quart measure

Oil to grease

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Boiling water

Creamy Peppermint "Soft" Sauce, recipe below

 

Use your can opener to remove any lip on the open end of the coffee can, keeping one end intact. Being very careful, place some oil on a napkin or paper towel and liberally grease the inside of the can; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until creamy. Add yogurt and continue beating until smooth. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cocoa baking powder and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and beat, on low, until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips Transfer to prepared can, it should come halfway up. Gently tap the bottom on the counter to even out. Place a foil over the top, held by an elastic. If your coffee can came with a plastic lid, use this in place of the foil.

Place in crockpot, pour boiling water to come up about a third of the way, cover and turn the crockpot on high. "Steam" for 2 1/2 hours, or until it is firm in the center when you remove foil or lid. If you find the water boiling, simply reduce heat until it is just barely simmering.

Remove from water and let cool for a few minutes without removing lid or foil before transferring to refrigerator to completely cool while still in can. Open both ends and run a knife around the inside to loosen. Push pudding out with a flat-bottomed glass or tumbler. Slice into desired sizes and serve with Creamy Peppermint "Soft" Sauce.

 

Place 1 cup Greek-style yogurt, 1/4 cup honey and 1 teaspoon peppermint, spearmint or mint extract to a bowl and beat until smooth.

 

Enough for 6(1-inch thick)slices

 

Note: If you would like to serve this warm, it is best to cool completely first, then remove from can. Then just simply microwave, covered with film wrap on a plate, until hot throughout.

FYI: According to a BBC news article from November, 2011, the world's oldest Plum Pudding was found intact 112 years after it was first made and canned. A woman from Poole, England says that it had been in her late husband's family for years with the message "For the Naval Brigade, In the Front, With Miss Weston's Best Christmas. New Year 1900, Wishes".

The lable on the can itself suggests "This pudding is ready for use by may be boiled for an hour if required hot." And if you are wondering, it is not edible because of the deterioration of the can. But nonetheless, quite remarkably well preseved. It is now being conserved at the Portsmouth(England)Historic Dockyard.