A Solstice Pudding

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King Arthur Flour


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Lightly grease a two-quart pudding mold or a large coffee can. In a large bowl, mix the flour, bread crumbs, suet, fruit, carrots, candied peel, salt, sugar and spices together thoroughly.

In a smaller bowl, beat together the milk, eggs, lemon juice and zest until light.

Mix the liquids into the dry ingredients. (The easiest way to do this is with your hands.)

Put the combined ingredients lightly into the mold, making sure it is only two-thirds full. Cover tightly. (aluminum foil and a large rubber band will do as a lid.)

You'll need a kettle or pot that is large enough to cover with a lid with the pudding mold in it. You will also need something to keep the mold off the bottom of the kettle; a vegetable steamer or even a crinkled-up piece of aluminum foil will do.

When you're ready to steam the pudding, place the mold in the kettle and pour boiling water around it until it comes about two-thirds of the way up the side of the mold.

Cover the kettle and, when the water has come back to a boil, turn the heat as low as you can and steam for 5 hours, adding water when necessary.

When the pudding is done, remove the lid and sprinkle with the rum or brandy. Let it cool a bit to allow the pudding to set before removing it from the mold. When it is thoroughly cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a cool place.

To reheat for serving, place the pudding back into the mold and steam it for about 2 hours. Turn it out onto a serving dish with a lip.

Heat 1/4 cup of brandy in a small saucepan on the stove until it is close to a boil. Pour it over the pudding, carefully(!) ignite it with a match and carry the flaming pudding to the table. (It has the most impact with the lights off, but watch your step

Serve with the following sauce:

Hard Sauce 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter at room temperature 1/2 cup packed brown (or 1 1/2 cups confectioners') sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 or 3 tablespoons brandy or rum (or to taste)

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and brandy or rum. To adjust the consistency, add either sugar or liquid. Cover and chill before serving.

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