Crockpot or Slow cooker method
(This is the email I received from Barbara Southward)
Yes, a 'slow cooker' is the same as a 'Crockpot' and cooks things, like stews very slowly.
A 2 pint /1 litre pudding takes about 13 hours to cook on 'high'. Smaller ones would need to have less time. I find it's best done overnight. It creates a wonderful aroma to come downstairs to in the morning! To reheat, it is 4 - 6 hours. on 'high'. As I said before, I just put the pudding in the slow cooker, pour in boiling water, to about 2/3 up the side of the basin and then cover and leave. It will not boil dry or spoil. A 2 pint bowl is slightly too tall for the lid on my cooker to fit properly, so I cover the top of the cooker and the pudding with a sheet of foil and tuck it under the rim, then I put the lid on top to weight it down. It always works.
If you want to use any of this on your web site please feel free to do so. I hope it will help others with a space problem.
Barbara Southward xmas 2003
I have never tried this recipe using a pressure cooker, anyone with experience using this type of cooking with a similar recipe (if not mine) your feedback would be welcome (and with your permission, will be added to this page).
Kathi Behncke writes;
I don't know what other pressure cookers are like but mine has no mechanism for adjustments - you just pop it onto the gas top and get it going full steam to set off the rattle unit on top - when it got to full steam I just lowered the gas so that it was gently rattling.
I popped the pressure cooker's trivet in with it so it held the pudding off the bottom - when I cook them in a normal saucepan I usually just thrown an old saucer under the pudding bowl. It was a bit of trial and error with the first one I cooked as I discovered that the water was getting close to being fully evaporated after 2.5 hours so next time I just threw a bit extra in.
You can easily stop the pressure cooker mid-process to check on the water levels if you are concerned - just cool it off under a cold running tap - top up the water and get it up and running again.
I will probably use the pressure cooker method for smaller puddings I make as gifts for friends so that it all "happens" a little quicker.
I am too much of a traditionalist when it comes to my "own" Xmas pudding on Xmas day and "my" Boxing Day pudding and they will be done on the gas top for 8 hours
My pudding tradition - I love cold Xmas pudding with cream for breakfast on boxing day but with my niece and nephew growing up and deciding that they now have a taste for it too I gave up on being able to count on leftovers. So my sister gets given her own large Xmas pudding for a present and I make myself a spare pudding for Boxing Day to make sure that I get to have breakfast (and lunch and dinner and snacks).
Hope this helps, Kathi
David Bell writes;
PRESSURE COOKED CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS.
I have pressure cooked christmas puddings for over 10 years and since 2004 have used it on your recipe with good results. The secret is to properly estimate the cooking time;
for 15 Lbs. use 1/3 time, 2:40 hrs.,
for 10 Lbs. use 1/2 time, 4:oo hrs.,
For 5 Lbs. use 2/3 time, 5:2o hrs..
Use six 500 ml wide mouth jars with lids. Spray the inside with PAM or other non-stick spray. Spoon the batter into the jars, lids on, not tightened. Use a quick cool-down method. Remove the jars and screw the lids down tight.
Reheat the puddings normally. The puddings will slip out of the jar. Cut into the appropriate sized round. One jar will serve 4 to 6.
Last year I cooked them at 10 lbs. This year I cooked them at 5 lbs. Looking forward to seeing if there is difference.
David Bell New Westminster. BC. CANADA
I added this just to say......NO, not on any account, and NO, not for reheating either (unless it's on boxing day, and just don't tell anyone).The reason I am so adamant? Microwaves spot heat, one part of the pudding is being subjected to great heat (fruit sugars, suet) other areas will be cool, so, you will end up with a partly fried, partly baked and only half-cooked pudding. Rant over now ;o)
Boil in the bag method (Thanks to Janine Dickens)
I wasn't expecting a personal email - thanks. I am not sure where I got this method from and I can't properly claim it as my own, but everyone tells me my puddings are the best they've ever tasted. My mixture recipe is very close to your own so will just give you the boil in the cloth instructions:
Get the pudding mixture ready.
I use a square of unbleached calico roughly 60cm (24 inches) square. [For new calico soak in cold water for about 10 hours (overnight) and then boil for at least 20 minutes and then rinse - no detergent should be used].
Have ready a good size pot of rapidly boiling water, about 3 metres (10 feet) of string, a cup of plain flour and clean rubber gloves. Also find a rod (broom handle, wooden spoon, or similar) for suspending pudding once cooked and two points where you can rest the rod for hanging the pudding.
Wearing the gloves, dip the cloth into the boiling water, boil for about a minute and then remove, wringing out the excess water. Working as quickly as possible, spread out the cloth and then rub flour into the middle (diameter about 2/3's of cloth). The flour should be thicker in the middle of the cloth where the pudding will rest. Place the cloth in a medium bowl, put mixture in the middle, gather up the sides (try to avoid deep gathers) keeping the pudding as round as possible. Using the string, tie top close to pudding, leaving ends long.
Gently lower pudding in large pot of boiling water, tying ends of strings around handles to suspend. Water must cover pudding. Put lid on tightly and boil for 6 hours (Paul's note; using my recipe, 8 hours please), making sure to keep boiling water topped up as needed.
Remove pudding after cooking and hang using the rod. The pudding must not touch any surface and the wet parts of the cloth top need to be twisted around the string to keep them off the pudding. Leave pudding to hang for 10 minutes, patches of the cloth should dry out quite quickly.
Remove pudding from cloth put into a bowl, cut string, peel back the cloth a little and leave to stand for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Wrap in plastic or airtight container and refrigerate or freeze as necessary.
Soak cloth overnight, wash, rinse and dry (no detergents).
To reheat: Retie cloth (no flour) around pudding and boil as above for 2 hours, hang as before for 10 minutes, remove cloth and stand for 20 minutes to allow skin to darken.
I love making Christmas pudding this way, it just feels right.
Janine Dickens, New Zealand
EDITORS NOTE; I have had a reader say that using this method, the whole pudding fell apart (see guestbook letters) but a recent guest book visitor, Jacinta, mentioned that it does need to be left to dry, for a time, please just have a quick read of those before trying this method, thanks, Paul, Nov 2007