There are a few classic comedy staples in our household. Always sure to get a laugh: ANYTHING involving a rubber chicken, a banana peel, an ottoman in a footpath, or the pinnacle of holiday hilarity — Fruitcake.
Plum Pudding, a traditional holiday fruitcake, absolutely cracks me up. The hard outer shell, the incredible effort involved in it’s making, the anvil-like weight, the look of terror in the eyes of anyone who is about to take their first bite… My interpretation of this fruitcake is actually quite tasty — which I attribute to top-shelf brandy or rum, the addition of gingersnaps, and the omission of store-bought, neon, chemical-laden fruit (unless specifically requested).
Since medieval times, plum pudding has been made in many varieties, typically without any actual plums. My Mom-in-law submitted her hilarious version to the family cookbook which I now use as a guideline for my own vision. I love that I married into a family with such long-standing traditions, their original recipe is quite delicious, and is a must at Christmas gatherings in the Midwest.
My recipe alters the family version a bit by including a variety of dried fruits (I am a rare one to include plums, apricots, tart cherries, golden raisins, and candied ginger) that I chop roughly and simmer in booze before folding into the pudding. I also make a very spicy gingersnap cookie that I crush and use as a substitute for part of the bread crumbs. After boiling and drying for 24-48 hours, I transfer the puddings to spirit-soaked linen and allow the plum pudding to cure for at least two weeks (up to a year or more for laughs and an extra-special, vintage flavor). I then slice the cakes into adorable wedges either to be soaked in booze once more, or wrapped in parchment and red twine for the perfect holiday gift… Which should always be served with yet more booze, typically rum in a mixture of melted butter, fruit juice, and sugar.
As the best recipes are, this one is but a general guideline for cooks to instinctively alter to their taste and the season or region…
Here is this year’s Von Kroug Plum Pudding photo diary with recipe: