Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the Fifth Day of Christmas My Parents Gave to Me...

....pluuuumm pu-uu-dding!

I found this recipe and decided since we sing about sugar plums during Christmas I'd try to make Sugar Plum Pudding. Brilliant!!
Did you know that most Sugar Plum Pudding recipes don't even call for plums? How does THAT work?
Anyway, the recipe I used did call for something called beef suet.
Hmmm...yeah, I had to look it up. According to Webster's Dictionary it's the hard fatty tissue around the loins and kidneys of cows and sheep. It looks like this:

Yummy! *staving off the gag reflex*
Seriously, I want to know who ever looked at this stuff and thought, "I bet this righ' c'here would be downright good-eatins' in some Plum Puddin'."

Well, I needed 2 full cups of the stuff! Shredded, because we can't digest it correctly if it's not shredded. I figured I'd been so good this far into the holidays about saying no to 2nds or 3rds on dessert that, heck!, let's just kill ourselves with an overdose of lard pudding!
Yes, brilliant idea. I keep telling myself that.
Well, immediately upon reading about "beef suet" I did what any good cook would do...I started looking for substitutes.
Every place I looked said I could use real butter instead but "it's just not the same" or "you'll be sorry you didn't go with the suet".
So, I made a phone call to our local slaughterhouse...

Me: "Yes, do have something called beef su-wet?"
Lady: "Huh?"
Me: *giggling nervously because I'm already feeling like an idiot.* "Um, I have a recipe that calls for beef su-wet. Do you guys carry anything like that?"
Looong pause. I felt like hanging up to save myself the embarrassment. Of course she didn't have su-wet. This is Durant, America!
Lady: "Oh! Su-it! Sure 'nough, we got su-it! How much you need?"
Me: I was so giddy with excitement I sounded almost shrill. "2 cups, shredded!"
Lady: "Ok. Well, we don't shred it but you can come by and pick it up anytime today, hon."
Me: "Thank you!"
I should have known - of course they have su-it! This is Durant, America!

When I went to pick it up the lady came out to greet me and gingerly asked if I was certain my recipe called for beef suet. (This did not give me hope.) I assured her I read it correctly and asked her how much I owed.
She handed me 3 pounds of the stuff and told me it was on the house.
Whatever hope I had of this 5th day of Christmas NOT being completely ruined was now utterly squashed. I had just been handed the leftovers, the what-the-slaughterhouse-dogs-don't-even-want leftovers, the I-have-no-idea-what-to-with-this-stuff- other-than-use-it-in-a-nasty-prank-on-my-worst-enemy leftovers.

(On a side note, had I known how very laborious and time-consuming actually trying to shred that stuff was going to be, I would've begged on my hands and knees, maybe even cried, for that lady to shred it for me or to at least have saved me the trouble and heartache and shot me right then and there! 1 1/2 hours of trying to shred hard, fatty tissue is not my idea of Christmas cheer.)

I drove home and skimmed over the directions for the recipe. They were not long instructions but they hid major details in seemingly innocent casual words like "boil", "mold", "foil", "steam", and "hours". I decided I needed to start immediately for it to be done by dinner time.
That was at noon.
It is now 5:30 pm.
I can't see the pudding under the layers of foil that are so carefully tied around it.
I have no idea whether it's actually making anything worthy of eating or perhaps planning to destroy the country by turning into the next generation Blob.
And the make shift rack I made turning a small plate upside down in the bottom of my "kettle" (i.e.: big red stockpot), shattered 2 hours ago.
At times it smells really good.
Other times I get a whiff of something burning.

So I can stop biting my nails to the quick, this might be a good time to share the recipe for any of those who dare try this at home.

Sugar Plum Pudding
4 slices of bread
1 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. mace
2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped dates
2 slightly beaten eggs
6 oz. (2 cups) beef suet
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Tear bread slices into pieces. Soak torn bread in milk; use a fork to break up well. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and the rest of the spices in a separate bowl; add raisins and dates. Mix well. To the bread/milk mixture, add the eggs, beef suet, brown sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. Stir bread-suet mixture into the flour mixture. Pour into a greased 2qt. mold; cover with aluminum foil and tie securely with string. Place on a rack in a deep kettle; pour in 1 inch of boiling water and put the lid on the kettle. Steam 3 1/2 hours, adding more water when needed. Cool about 10 minutes before taking pudding out of mold. Serve warm with Fluffy Hard Sauce (recipe to follow). Serves 12.

Fluffy Hard Sauce
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stiffly beaten egg white

Cream together butter and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Cream together until fluffy. Fold in egg white.

Here's a picture of the "mold" (i.e.: my 2 qt. glass Pampered Chef bowl) steaming in the big red "kettle".

Here is a slice of the finished product.
Drum roll, please...

TA-DA! It worked!! It came out perfect and I came out of it all alive!
(I didn't realize it's not like a creamy pudding at all, but more like a cake).
Despite the fact that I spent my entire day wrestling with a fabulously fatty and finicky pudding, it was all worth it in the end. It was amazing! The entire family and even our missionaries enjoyed it! I hope you do, too...
...because I'm NEVER making it again!


Ty's Adventures said...


It's Jennifer Wagoner (Steph Gibson's friend) and I just want to applaud you!!! When the lady came out and said it was free I believe that would have been my clue to leave it there!! But I am a very picky eater (just ask Steph!). Looks great though! Great job!

Candy Sorensen said...

WOW!!!! Only a mother would go through that kind of work for a treat.....more specifically, a good mother.

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