Coming back to Melbourne in winter after a tropical holiday has been a shock to the system. I’m not sure if it is the cold or getting back onto germ-laden public transport but I have come down with a whopper of a cold. Sore throat, blocked nose, and a head that feels like it is about to explode. When I have not been in bed this weekend, I have been craving comfort food and what better way to rally one’s flagging spirits than with a Brigade Pudding. And not just any Brigade Pudding but a Bourbon laced Brigade Pudding! Because alcohol kills germs right?
To quote The Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need”. Such was the case with the recipe for Brigade Pudding. There I was flicking feebly through the A-Z of Cooking, trying to muster the energy to get out of bed / the house / my sense of lethargy. And to quote Marcy Playground (who knew illness would bring out my musical side, or maybe it was those weeks of Balinese cover bands).
“And then there it was, Like double cherry pie, Yeah there it was, Like disco superfly, ”
Right in the sweet spot of L (Leave it to Cook) in the A-Z of Cooking, Brigade Pudding.
Definitely what I needed!
Not even the Lemon Pond Pudding debacle of last year was going to stop me from making the Brigade Pudding. Yes, the number of suet puddings I have made to date is 1 and the number of failures I have had making suet puddings is also 1 but due to that disaster and a yet untouched bottle of fruit mince from a Christmas hamper I also had all the ingredients for the Brigade Pudding in the house. No need to shop! Yay to making food in one’s pyjamas! Yay to comfort food! Yay to The A-Z of Cooking providing just what you need!
I am not sure which Brigade, if any, the Brigade Pudding was named after. I did some cursory research but please see above for head that feels like it is about to explode. What I can tell you is that it consists of layers of apple and fruit mince sandwiched together by layers of suet pastry and then steamed to pudding perfection. I added a little Trans Atlantic twist to my Brigade Pudding by adding in a good splash of bourbon into some warmed golden syrup to help give that lovely shiny glaze and also allowed my apple and fruit mince to soak in another good splash of bourbon whilst the pastry chilled in the fridge.
The verdict? The Fussiest Eater in the World who grew up with stodgy British suet puddings loved it! My opinion was not quite so positive. Personally, I found the suet pastry a bit heavy going. I would have preferred the apple, fruit and bourbon mix with a lighter sponge pudding. He also liked it as is, whilst I really thought it needed a little something-something to go with it. Custard would have been super but we didn’t have any. What we did have some was some of Sabrina Ghayour’s Pistachio, Honey and Orange Blossom Ice Cream which gave it just the lift I felt it needed. Pudding perfection! I also love that combination of hot pudding and cold ice cream! So good.
- 200g self raising flour
- pinch of salt
- 100g shredded suet or butter
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 200g mincemeat
- 3 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, grated
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and add the suet or butter. Rub in well then add enough water to make a soft dough. Leave this to chill in the fridge for around an hour.
- Put the golden syrup in a small pan and gently heat with half the bourbon. Set aside.
- Take your pudding bowl and place it on a piece of baking paper, small side down. Trace around the bowl and cut the paper to size. Then, turn it over so the widest part of the bowl is on the papder. Cut three circles this size. You will now have one small circle and three large. Trim two of the large circles down so you now have four circles of varying sizes.
- Mix the mincemeat, the apples and the rest of the bourbon and allow to sit for half an hour so the flavours can develop.
- Grease the pudding bowl and our the golden syrup & bourbon mixture into the bottom, swirl around so it coats the sides.
- Now, roll pastry out thinly. Using your paper circles as templates, cut four circles from the pastry. Place the smallest in the pudding bowl and top with a third of the apple and mincemeat mixture. Repeat until all the apple is mixture is used, topping with the largest circle of pastry.
- Cover the basin with greased paper and foil tied on with string.
- Steam over boiling water for 2.5 hours.
- Serve with custard or ice cream.