Apologies for the early Christmas post but this Sunday is Stir-up Sunday and I, along with many other suckers for a bit of tradition, will be making my Christmas Puddings. I like a rich, dark pudding so I will be using my recipes for Christmas Pudding which I posted this time last year (before this blog was even officially launched and was still in the learning/testing phase). I have been using this recipe for years and it always goes down well on Christmas day. This year, as in the past, I’ll be serving it with brandy butter.
What to serve with the pud
Brandy butter was not part of my Christmas before I left my parental home. Christmas pudding was served with custard or cream and sometimes both. Perhaps it was because my dad (who was never a beer man) was partial to a drop of brandy or cognac and considered it too good for using in recipes. I have never developed my dad’s taste for brandy as a drink, but I do like to use it in both sweet and savoury recipes. So when I started cooking my own Christmas dinners brandy butter became part of my Christmas Fare and has been ever since. I’ll still have a big jug of custard too! What do you serve with your Christmas pudding?
The Perfect Brandy Butter
It is a very simple recipe with very few ingredients. I like mine made with light muscovado sugar for the additional caramel flavoured elements that the sugar brings. Mr B, on the other hand, prefers it made with icing sugar. Brandy butter made with muscovado sugar has a slight grainy texture, where as when made with icing sugar it has a lovely creamy smooth texture. It’s so quick and easy to make that I don’t mind making two batches so we are both happy. It will keep for up to a week or two in the refrigerator or a couple of months in the freezer, so it’s not as if I have to make it on the day. I also like brandy butter with mince pies warm from the oven, so some will get eaten before the big day.
I like to add a little orange zest to the butter too. Use one of those really sharp extra fine microplane graters if you have one to get maximum flavour from the zest. I think it is a must when using icing sugar but you could leave it out of butter made with the light muscovado sugar as that has plenty of extra flavour. When making and serving straight away, you can garnish the butter with a few thicker strips of zest if you like.
You can make brandy butter by beating it with a wooden spoon but a hand held whisk will take the effort out of it. Beating the butter first to soften will make adding the sugar easier. You can add the muscovado sugar in just one or two stages. Icing sugar, however, will need to be added slowly to avoid clouds of sugar dust. I like to push the amount of brandy to the max, but take care not to add too much or it will curdle. If it does accidentally curdle, add some extra sugar and beat again.
Not keen on brandy? Try making it with rum or an orange flavoured liqueur. Just change the name accordingly.
Brandy Butter step by step
- 125g butter, softened
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 250g icing sugar, sieved or
- 250g light muscovado sugar
- 3-5 tbsp brandy
- Beat the butter until really soft. Beat in the orange zest and then gradually beat in the icing sugar or muscovado sugar until well combined, light and fluffy. Finally gradually beat in the brandy to taste, adding a tablespoon at a time, taking care not to let the mixture curdle.
Freeze for up to 2 months thaw overnight at cool room temperature.
A Foodie Gift
Brandy butter packed into pretty jars can also make a great gift, especially if given along side a home-made Christmas Pudding. Disclosure: The Christmas pudding, and the mince pies in this pictures for this post were not homemade. Well, it is still November! Ill be starting my Christmas planning and baking at the weekend in line with tradition.
I’m linking up to the food calander hosted at Charlotte’s lively kitchen