An un-Nero Wolfe Christmas, part 3 December 31, 2009Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Sweet things.
Tags: All day feasts, Dessert
While Nero Wolfe may not have approved of us celebrating Christmas in such an excessive manner, surely we should get points for staying power?!
For dessert, I made gingerbread, christmas pudding and eggnog. I found an easy recipe for christmas pudding that said it could be done overnight, rather than having to be prepared weeks in advance. The night before, I prepared the fruit by soaking it in rum. I then mixed in eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, flour (and probably some other things I’ve forgotten now) to make the batter:
The recipe said you had to steam the pudding for 4 hours in calico cloth. Well, I didn’t have a calico cloth, nor could I find one when I went hunting. So I improvised – using teatowels! New teatowels, I should add, washed in advance for this purpose only. I had thought in advance about how I was going to steam these puddings – since I’d be using the oven and stove at the same time to cook the rest of our meal. I decided the easiest way was to use our chinese bamboo steamers, monitoring the water level to ensure it didn’t dry out:
OK I do realise this is not the most orthodox way to cook christmas puddings but you know what? It worked just fine! However, I did forget to take a shot of the final cooked puddings – apologies.
I made gingerbread the night before, madly icing the things at about 10pm. I had been curious about these mini gingerbread houses by not martha and wanted to see if it was possible to make them. I ended up making 4 only but I was impressed that any of them worked! They were time-consuming to put together but if I’d started earlier I think I would have made more of them. As it was, I made 4 houses and cut the rest out in christmas tree shapes, which I then iced:
My icing wasn’t the neatest – as I said it was nearing 10pm when I started icing – but I thought that added to their homemade charm…right? right?! I know my houses aren’t as pretty as Not Martha’s but I was pretty impressed that they worked at all. I thought I’d have broken walls and a cracked roof! I might try them again using a shortbread recipe so hopefully they’ll be prettier the second time around.
I also made eggnog using a simple recipe involving milk (no cream), cooked egg yolks, spices, and a healthy dose of rum. I’m never going back to that stuff you can buy in the supermarket again!
So: the result. The christmas puddings were nice enough but I believe would have benefitted from a longer preparation time. They were certainly edible and tasty, but the flavour wasn’t as deep as I was hoping. Next year I’ll have to start earlier. The gingerbread was very nice (I’ve used this recipe a lot before so I was fairly confident of the outcome) and the houses were a big hit with our friends who came around to eat leftovers on Boxing Day. The eggnog was rich, thick, boozy and delicious.
While this meal may not have been something Nero Wolfe would have approved of due to its link with Christmas, I do think it was Wolfe in spirit, thanks to the quantity and quality of food consumed – and who can resist a beautiful ham?!