I sat in the Brit’s dimly lit dining room and leaned back against the upholstered chair. We started the evening in the sitting room munching on starters, sipping Trappist beer, listening to Mr. Brit’s HiFi at deafening volumes and exploring the differences in holiday music from across the pond. I adjusted the paper crown on my head and wondered if I could possibly eat any more. The food seemed endless. Turkey, stuffing, parsnips, sausages, rosemary potatoes, and on and on.
My thoughts were interrupted by Mrs. Brit entering the room with a domed-shaped cake-like edible on a plate. She poured spirits over the top and promptly lit it on fire. As the flames fluttered out, they exclaimed with a long “Hey!” and we joined in.
She served us the tiniest bit on a plate – about a tablespoon’s worth – and introduced the options of brandy butter or brandy sauce along side. I was slightly confused by the small amount on my plate. Can’t I have more? Why so little? Did she only have this bit left to share?
I gingerly took a wee bite on my fork and eagerly tasted it. WOW. This was unlike anything I had ever eaten before. This had all the notes of a fruit cake, but oh, so much better. Stronger. Tastier. It hit my taste buds like a steam roller and filled my mouth with a deep, blooming flavor. How was it possible that such a small bite had such a big impact? I immediately understood the serving size. So rich, so bold, I would only need a little before my already full stomach begged me to stop.
Since that fantastically British Christmas evening, Mrs. Brit has thoroughly educated me on the traditions of Christmas Pudding. The translations of ingredients, quirky preparation, lengthy days of steaming, the meaning of Stir Up Sunday… they all culminated to fill my new found holiday craving. She patiently took me through the whole process several years ago, and I have tweaked and adjusted since then. After all, Mrs. Brit says “there are as many recipes for Christmas Pudd as there are Brits.”
Here is mine, and I hope you take the time to make it as least once. Just be warned, it could be your new found holiday craving.
Stir Up Sunday is November 22nd this year. You have a week to gather the ingredients and work up the nerve. You can do it – I believe in you!