Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Putting the Coffee into Christmas.

Well folks, I usually have a week’s worth of stories posted ahead, but these have now been all used up. I am rather busy and pre-occupied with non-bloggy stuff at present, so my posts may be rather more brief than usual over the next week or so. On top of that there has been no Internet access in the local area for 24 hours (although our provider is assuring its customers that it will be restored by this afternoon).

But, dear readers, rest assured, there will be posts – cant spoil a four-year old record, can we? Today’s story is reaching you – albeit belatedly - via a USB stick and my daughter’s computer in another suburb.

So - why are there no ‘plums’ in plum pudding? Because Once Upon A Time, the word ‘plums’ was used generically for any dried fruit, that’s why. The idea of ‘plum pudding’ can therefore be interpreted very widely indeed – if you need proof, just go over and browse the offerings in the Vintage Christmas Recipes Archive.

It seems that the word ‘Creole’ can be interpreted widely too. Here is a ‘new’ plum pudding recipe from a wartime edition of an Australian newspaper (the Melbourne Argus). Please do not be reticent with your theories as to what is ‘Creole’ about this dish!

The pudding is a nice take on the old standby, methinks, and happily also a new addition to the coffee recipe archive (go to the link in the sidebar - until I can regain Internet access I cannot find the direct url – sorry!)

This ‘new note in plum puddings’ won a prize of £1 worth of war savings certificate and 5/ worth of war savings stamps for the contributor (Mrs Cecile Besnard). The recipe for Creole Coffee Pudding was, according to the cookery columnist ‘succulent enough for the all-important Christmas festival dinner. Here it is.

Creole Coffee Pudding.
Take 3 oz. of light brown sugar, 4 oz of maple or golden syrup, 4 oz. sultanas, 2 cups of flour, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon carb soda dissolved in a little warm water, ½ cup of chopped almonds, 2 tablespoons black coffee, 1 tablespoon brandy (can be omitted). Unsweetened coffee essence can be used instead of the ordinary black coffee.
Heawt the butter, syrup, and coffee, and stir until melted not hot. Add the egg, sift in flour, then add sultanas, almonds, brandy, and lastly soda. Beat thoroughly, and steam 2 ½ hours. Serve with the following sauce:
Take one cup of milk, 1 dessertspoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of syrup, I tablespoon of coffee. Heat these ingredients in a saucepan, and thicken with 1 tablespoon of cornflour blended in a little cold milk. Bring to the boil, stirring well. Mask the pudding with this, or if preferred, serve in a sauce-pan.
[The Argus, Nov 21, 1944]

Quotation for the Day.

The discovery of coffee has enlarged the realm of illusion and given more promise to hope.
Isidore Bourdon.


greenapplesorbet said...

hi Janet,
love your blog. I've just made a traditional plum pudding, complete with a sixpence (http://greenapplesorbet.wordpress.com). can't wait to try it!
happy cooking!
Green Apple Sorbet

Shay said...

New Orleans was at one time celebrated for its coffeehouses; the coffee/brandy mixture may have inspired the recipe title.

Otherwise it sounds like a pudding knockoff of cafe brulot.

Celeste said...

Perhaps the combination of sugar syrup as a sweetener and coffee as a flavoring made it "Creole"? I'm conjecturing a New Orleans connection here. Coffee with chicory is a New Orleans staple, and I know that chicory was used to stretch coffee during rationing. Cane syrup-(similar to Lyle's Golden) is also a common Louisiana ingredient.