Friday, December 21, 2012

Aussie Christmas Puddings.

Every year at this time in Australia, we suffer (or enjoy) a terrible mismatch between the traditions of our prevailing culture and the exigencies of our climate. The first wants hot roasts and hot puddings in a room with an open fire, the other needs cold prawns and very cold ice-cream in a room with air-conditioning (if a picnic at the beach is not possible.)

For many decades, cookery columnists have suggested alternative recipes for Christmas fare that are more in keeping with the heat and humidity. As the percentage of the population with no personal memory of a British or European Christmas dwindles, these are being taken up with more enthusiasm. 

I decided to take a glimpse back into the newspapers, to see what was offered in earlier times, in the name of an Aussie Christmas pudding.

This one is really just a patriotic variation on the same hot steamy theme:

West Australian Christmas Puddings.
The following are recipes for real West Australian Chri;tiuas puddings: —
No. 1. - Take ½ lb. suet, ½ lb. coarse sugar, ½ lb.stoned West Australian raisins, ½ lb. West Australian currants, 2oz. Plaistowe's candied peel; a breakfast cupful of West Australian flour; one [?] breakfast cupful of West Australian bread crumbs; half a nutmeg, a little
salt, four West Australian eggs.
Mix all the dry ingredients, add the eggs, beat lightly. Boil in floured cloth four or five hours, two days running.
No. 2. - Take 1lb. stoned West Australian raisins; ½ lb. West Australian currants; ½ lb. West Australian sultanas, 1oz. Plaistowe’s citron peel, 1 oz. Plaistowe’s lemon peel, half a nutmeg, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, ¾ lb. sugar, ½ lb. West Australian butter, ten West Australian eggs; 1 ½ pints West Australian bread crumbs, 1 breakfast cup West Australian flour, I teaspoon carbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat butter and sugar to cream, add eggs well beaten, add other ingredients, mix well, and boil six hours. Half quantities used, steamed five hours make a good pudding, sufficient for a family of six or eight
Geraldton Guardian (West Australia) December 8, 1928

And now, one more in keeping with our climate:

Australian Christmas Pudding.
1 ½ cups mixed fruit (chopped) such as prunes, if available, raisins, sultanas, currants; ¼ cup grated mixed nuts; 1 ½ cups whole meal bread crumbs or plain cake crumbs; 1 dessertspoon warmed honey; ½ cup orange and lemon juice.  Mix well and place in wetted mould. Take a packet of strawberry jelly crystals, pour over when almost set. Chill. When ready to turn out, place a cloth over the pudding and basin, then holding with both hands, plunge into a basin of very hot water for a second. The pudding will leave the basin without any trouble. Serve covered with custard, or mock cream and chopped nuts. Decorate with small sprigs of holly. If a larger pudding is required, double the quantity of ingredients.
Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania) November 17, 1945

And a similar idea, this time with the very Aussie inclusion of candied pineapple:

Australian Christmas Pudding.
Ingredients: 2 oz. plain chocolate or 1 dessertspoon cocoa, 2 ½ cups milk, 1 dessertspoon coffee essence or black coffee, ½  cup each of sugar, diced candied peel, stoned dates, prunes, muscatels, sultanas, drained cherries, preserved ginger, pineapple and ground almonds, 2
tablespoons brandy, 3 dessertspoons powdered gelatin, 1 cup cold water, ¼ pint cream, pinch of salt, hard sauce or whipped cream, chopped jelly*.
Method: Melt the chocolate over hot water or blend cocoa with a little hot water, add sugar and milk and heat to boiling point. Add prepared dates, prunes, peel, muscatels, sultanas, cherries, ginger, pineeapple, and simmer mixture for five minutes, then remove from heat. Moisten gelatine with cold water and dissolve over boiling water, stir into fruit mixture and add coffee, brandy and almonds. Stir occasionally till beginning to thicken, then add whipped cream. Pour into wet mould and leave till firmly set. Serve on glass dish, garnished with drained cherries, chopped Jelly, whipped cream, and top with a sprig of holly.
[Note to my American friends: this means ‘Jell-O’, not ‘jam’!]
Sunday Times (Perth, WA) of December 17, 1939.

And finally, the perfect idea - ice cream plum pudding!

Ice Cream Plum Pudding
Ingredients: ½ lb. drained-cherries, ½ lb. stoned chopped dates or prunes, ¼ lb chopped preserved figs, ½ lb seeded muscatels, ½ lb chopped preserved pineapple, 2 oz. itron peel, ¼ lb blanched chopped almonds or shelled walnuts, ½ cup brandy, ice cream mixture as chosen.
Method: Mix the sliced or chopped cherries, dates, figs, muscatels, pineapple, peel and nuts in basin. Add brandy, cover with plate and leave overnight. Prepare a rich ice cream mixture and freeze it to a mushy thickness, then combine with the chilled brandied fruits, and continue freezing until mixture is firm and smooth. Pack in ice and salt, or leave in refrigerator tray to mature for an hour or more before serving with wafer biscuits.
Sunday Times (Perth, WA) of December 17, 1939.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love number two. But all are great, thanks Janet and a hot and happy Christmas to you-