It’s Time to Stir-up the Christmas Pudding!

Want to try your hand at making a traditional Christmas pudding this year? Now’s the time to prepare. The pudding ingredients are stirred together and set to rest for several weeks to let the flavors blend before serving at the holiday. It’s more fun if a family or group of friends do the stirring (there’s a lot involved), making the work more meaningful.

Unlike last year, we won’t be sharing a food post every day in Advent, but we will add some new delicacies and re-post favorites like this one throughout the season.

Since this Sunday marks the last of the Pentecost season, it’s time to start the mixture. As long as you’re shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, you may want to stock up on what you’ll need to make your pudding. And give thanks for good food, the loving hands that prepare it, and wonderful, rich traditions like our stir-up pudding.

Enjoy!

The Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Loudon’s Christmas Pudding 
Makes two 2-pint puddings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups or 1 220g package suet (in the US, ask your grocery store butcher if suet is available; suet may also be purchased online)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of mixed spice (make your own or use a mix like pumpkin pie spice)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ white breadcrumbs grated from stale loaf (about 1 1/3 slices of bread)
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • 1 ½ cups sultanas (in the US, can be purchased online, or substitute dried cranberries)
  • 4 cups dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup candied citrus peel finely chopped whole
  • The grated rind of 1 lemon
  • The grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of a strong ale (personal preference)
  • ½ cup stout (Ellen uses Guinness but, again, personal preference)
  • 4 tbsp rum

Other Needs: Baking string, pudding basins, baking paper/parchment, aluminum foil

 


Put suet, flour, breadcrumbs, and spices in a bowl, mixing in each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next.

Gradually mix in all fruit, peel, and nuts, and follow these with the apple, orange, and lemon peel.

In a different bowl beat up eggs, and mix in the rum, ale, and stout.

Empty all of this over the dry ingredients, and then stir very hard. (This mixing is vital, so recruit some help!) You may find you need more stout; it’s difficult to be exact with liquid quantities, but the mixture should be dropping consistency, that is, it should fall from the spoon when tapped sharply against the side of the bowl.

After mixing, cover with a cloth. Leave mixture over night.

Grease two 2-pint basins, and pack mixture tightly to the top.

Cover each with one sheet of aluminum foil with baking paper/parchment inside. From the inside make a pleat in paper and foil to allow the pudding to rise. Tie the foil and paper tops around the basin with sting, cutting away some excess and tucking the rest underneath the string. You can tie another few pieces of string on the ends to make a handle.

Place pudding on top of a heat safe plate in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, and steam for 8 hours. Be sure to keep an eye on the water now and then to make sure it doesn’t boil away.

When cooked and cooled, remove foil and paper and replace with fresh foil and paper.

Traditionally, the pudding is stored in cool, dry, dark place throughout Advent (3-4 weeks).

Before serving, steam for 2 hours.

Submitted by: Emily Kirk (Diocese of East Tennessee ) and Kate Jewett-Williams (Diocese of Dallas and Diocese of Oklahoma), Young Adult Service Corps Members serving in Liverpool, UK

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, visit: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/documents/traditional_christmas_pudding.pdf

Haitian Akra Fritters

Ready to make fritters out of something other than corn? Try Haitian Akra fritters, made with pureed malanga, garlic, scallions, pepper, and herbs fried to perfection.

Unfamiliar with malanga? It’s a tropical root vegetable from South America that’s good baked, mashed or roasted (or made into fritters). Malanga can help you meet your daily fiber and potassium needs. It’s also considered one of the world’s most hypoallergenic foods, making it a good choice for anyone with severe food allergies.

Ingredients
• 4 medium malangas (look for white or purple yautia in vegetable stores, local grocery, or specialty food stores)
• 1/4 green and red bell peppers, chopped
• 1 tspn salt to taste
• 1 tspn black pepper to taste
• 1 scallion, chopped
• 1 shallot or 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves crushed
• 1 seeded Scotch Bonnet pepper, chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
• 1/4 tspn baking powder
• 2 cups oil

Instructions

Peel and grate malangas in small bowl.

Pound or blend scallion, garlic clove, hot pepper to obtain a pulpy consistency.

Chop onion or shallot, bell peppers, and parsley.

Add chopped and ground spices to grated malangas. Put all other ingredients to taste, such as salt, black pepper, and baking powder. Combine entire mixture thoroughly.

In frying pan heat oil on medium heat. Take sample of mixture with knife, then fry as many as you can.

Once fritters get golden brown, turn other side and let fry.

When other side golden brown, drain on paper towel and serve hot.

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, click: Haitian Akra Fritters

Submitted by: Nadyne Duverseau, Banking and Operations Assistant, Finance, The Episcopal Church

Perfect for Your Picnic Basket: Roast Beef Po’ Boy

St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans, uses its sandwich-making skills as a fund-raiser during the Mardi Gras season, but you don’t have to save this deliciousness for next February. A traditional po’ boy travels well, making it a perfect crowd-pleaser for your Independence Day picnic basket.

St. George’s parishioner and master sandwich-maker Ed Brown shows the best way to cook the beef, what kind of bread and fixings are needed, and how to build this tasty meal.

 

Submitted by: Ed Brown, St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans

Macaroni Gratine (Because Who Doesn’t Love Macaroni & Cheese?)

For all you mac ‘n cheese fans out there, here’s a Haitian twist on an old favorite. Macaroni Gratine is a Sunday tradition in Haiti. Enjoy!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese (Macaroni Gratine) Serves about 10 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. macaroni (ziti)
  • 3/4 lb. grated Gouda cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pinch ground pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion and green pepper
  • 1 scallion
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • 1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup margarine butter

Instructions

Preheat oven at 350° F.

Prepare glass baking pan (square or rectangle) by spreading a little bit of butter in it.

Bring to a boil on medium heat 10 cups of water with macaroni, oil, scallion, garlic clove, parsley, and 2½ teaspoons salt for 30 minutes. From time to time, stir macaroni so it doesn’t stick in the pot. Turn off heat, strain macaroni, rinse with cold water, and put aside.

In a saucepan, sauté onion and green pepper in butter on medium heat (5 minutes).

Reduce heat, add 1 cup grated cheese, stir, then add 1 cup evaporated milk, garlic powder, mustard (optional).

Mix flour with remaining milk and continue to stir until thickened. Turn off heat!

In large bowl, quickly combine macaroni with the creamy sauce, stir, add some grated cheese, pinch of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ketchup (optional).

Put macaroni mixture into glass baking dish, and sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top.

Bake for 45 minutes.

When top is golden brown remove, let cool off, then serve.

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, click: Baked Macaroni and Cheese Haitian Style

Submitted by: Nadyne Duverseau, Banking  and Operations Assistant, Finance, The Episcopal Church

 

If It’s Monday, It Must Be Red Beans and Rice

It’s Monday morning, the traditional wash day in times before washers and dryers came on the scene. So how will you feed a hungry family and get through that wash load? Just set a big ol’ pot of red beans and a big ol’ pot of rice on the stove, and forget about ’em. A delicious meal will be ready for you whenever the laundry’s done!

 

 

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, click: Red Beans and Rice, New Orleans Style + Creole Seasoning

Submitted by: Brian Reid from St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans. Brian has contributed recipes that have appeared in The Times-Picayune and other local publications.

Hot Cross Buns, a Holy Week tradition

Want to try your hand at making Hot Cross Buns this Holy Week? The Rev. Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer, The United Thank Offering, offers a little history and several recipes to get you started. According to Heather:

“I first decided to make Hot Cross Buns because I had this amazing experience at my field education parish during seminary of Good Friday.  At Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, the service ends in silence, but when you walk outside folks with giant baskets of Hot Cross Buns greet you.  They are delicious after a long service and welcome hospitality after the depths of Good Friday prayers, Holy Week and reflecting on the sacrifices God makes and the depths of God’s love that we are asked to respond to.  Here’s the issue, I hate raisins and candied peel but love cinnamon. I wanted to create a Hot Cross Bun that would appeal to folks like me…raisin-haters.  (Before raisin fans get upset, this recipe shows you how to make Hot Cross Buns in the traditional way as well as two alternative ways.)  What I found when I started making these was that often the dough was tough, dry or too sweet.  I decided to go to the experts, the British, to see how they make theirs (they have flavors from Earl Grey Tea to marmalade) and what might be going wrong with mine.  What follows is an adapted recipe from Paul Hollywood of British Bake Off fame (if you like to bake and haven’t seen this show, I highly recommend taking off the week after Easter and watching them all.) with some additions I learned from a failed King Arthur Bread batch (I was tempted by the word “easy” in the title) and a halfway successful Pioneer Woman batch.  In case you are a purist, the links to each of those recipes is below.

In case you’re wondering where the Hot Cross Bun come from, there are a few stories floating around.  The one I go with is that a 12-century Anglican monk who made buns marked with a cross in honor of Good Friday.  It wasn’t until the 16th century that the buns became popular in Elizabethan England.  Queen Elizabeth I pass a law limiting the sale of Hot Cross Buns to funerals, Christmas and the Friday before Easter.  At that time, folks were fairly superstitious and they believed that sweet buns had medicinal or magical powers ant that those powers were being abused.  Limiting the sale was to help decrease these beliefs.”

Here are some of the stories of Hot Cross Buns from Smithsonian Magazine:

They stay fresh for a whole year.

If you hang a hot cross bun from your kitchen rafters on Good Friday, legend has it that the bread will remain fresh and mold-free throughout the entire year. This harkens back to the body of Christ, which, according to the Bible, did not show any signs of decay after his crucifixion and prior to his resurrection. The bun should be replaced each year on Good Friday. Later in the year, the buns were sometimes broken up, mixed with water and treated as a medicine, FoodTimeline reports.

They expel bad spirits.

Due to the blessed cross on top, hot cross buns hung in the kitchen are supposed to protect from evil spirits. They’re also said to prevent kitchen fires from breaking out, and ensure that all breads baked that year will turn out perfectly delicious. Likewise, taking hot cross buns on a voyage at sea endows the boat with some protection from shipwreck, according to legend.

And cement friendships.

Those who share a hot cross bun are supposed to enjoy a strong friendship and bond for the next year. A line from an old rhyme captures this lore, says Irish Central: “Half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be.”

They’re too sacred to eat any old day.

In 1592, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that hot cross buns could no longer be sold on any day except for Good Friday, Christmas or for burials. They were simply too special to be eaten any other day. To get around this, FoodTimeline explains that people baked the buns in their own kitchens—although if they were caught they had to give up all of the illegal buns on their premises to the poor.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/five-great-myths-about-hot-cross-buns-traditional-pre-easter-pastry-180951130/#JYFsmpp4W81638ED.99

How To Make Hot Cross Buns

Be aware that this is a fairly labor-intensive recipe, don’t start making them an hour before Good Friday services and expect them to be ready.  This would be best done on Maundy Thursday, iced (if doing it the American way) on Good Friday and eaten before Holy Saturday.

The best method for making bread is to weigh your ingredients, so I’ve included the weight in grams.  The Pioneer Woman recipe is close to this one and has cups if you don’t have a kitchen scale.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 1 1/2 scant cups of full-fat milk
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¼-1/2 t. Nutmeg
  • vanilla
  • 100g sugar (you can add more if you like a sweeter roll, if you’re not adding dried fruit)
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used grapeseed, you can also use sunflower or vegetable)
  • 1 Packet of Yeast
  • 1 egg

“Filling” Options:

  • 75g sultana
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple: peeled, cored and finely chopped, or
  • 1 apple: Peeled cored and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup of pecans chopped, or
  • 1 apple: peeled cored and finely chopped
  • 75g of dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds

For the cross

  • English Style: 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • American Style: 1 heaping cup powdered sugar

For the glaze: 3 tbsp apricot jam

Directions:

  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then quickly remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches 100-110 degrees. (I pour mine into a liquid measuring cup and put it in the fridge checking the temperature and stirring often.) Once it reaches the desired temperature, add the yeast to proof.
  2. Put the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, vanilla and then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a very sticky dough.
  3. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for no more than 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  4. With the dough still in the bowl, add your filling ingredients. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hour more, or until doubled in size, again covered by a tea towel to stop the dough getting a crust.
  5. Divide the dough into even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hour more.
  6. ENGLISH STYLE CROSS: Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
  7. Heat the oven to 375. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your buns, until golden brown.
  8. Once you remove the buns from the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
  9. AMERICAN STYLE CROSS: Once the buns are completely cool, mix the powdered sugar with milk or water, about 4 tbsp in all, but do it slowly so that you get a thick paste. (If it’s too runny just add more powdered sugar). Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

For the original, unadulterated Paul Hollywood recipe go here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2066661/hot-cross-buns

For the Pioneer Woman recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/hot-cross-buns/

And in case your baking luck is better than mine, the King Arthur Easy Hot Cross Buns: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/easy-hot-cross-buns-recipe

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, click: HOT CROSS BUNS

Submitted by: the Rev. Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer, The United Thank Offering

 

Calling All Recipes for Hot Cross Buns!

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!

Do you have a hot cross bun recipe, memory, or legend to share with Make Ready the Feast for this traditional Good Friday bread? We’d love to fill the blog with your offerings during Holy Week! Any and all traditions and recipes for Holy Week and Easter are welcome. If sending a recipe be sure to include a photo or two. Email to: Mary Brennan, mbrennan@episcopalchurch.org.