My aunt makes the best Christmas Pudding. No, no arguments, it’s true. So when I was trying to decide on a festive infusion and I threw the decision out to a Twitter vote between Christmas pudding and mince pies I was really hoping the pudding would win. Granted a mince pie infusion would have been slightly easier (add mincemeat to bourbon and wait) but you can eat mince pies for pretty much an entire month or more, Christmas pudding is really only a once a year, or twice if you’re lucky, treat.
So once the decision was made – democratically – the next question was how to combine a Christmas pudding with a bottle of bourbon. One option – following the 69 Colebrooke Row panettone bellini model – was to take a blender to a pudding and dissolve it as much as possible. That required a whole pudding, so instead of starting at the end and deconstructing I opted to start with the ingredients and flavours of a Christmas pudding and build up. To make 350ml (half a bottle of bourbon):
- Add 125g dark brown sugar, 50g mixed peel, 125g sultanas and 75g raisins to a mixing bowl.
- Grate the zest of half an orange into the bowl and add the juice.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond essence, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice.
- Finally add a cinnamon stick, the scraped contents of a whole vanilla bean and 350ml bourbon.
- Stir well and cover the bowl. Leave in a cool place for about a week, stirring once a day.
At this stage, the brown sludge looks distinctly unappetising, but smells incredible: orange, vanilla and bourbon – perfect winter flavours.
After a week, strain the mixture through a fine sieve – mash it right down to get all the juices out (and retain the fruit as an accompaniment to vanilla ice cream) then filter through a coffee filter paper. Store the infused bourbon in a clean bottle and it will keep for six months or so.
And serve..? You’ll have to wait til next week for that…