Normally I wouldn’t start a post off with a picture, but “Plum Duff” isn’t really going to tell you much all by itself. And the Wikipedia article will re-direct to “Spotted Dick” and then you’re REALLY going to need a picture. It’s a dessert, people. A lovely, delicious, traditional dessert created by people for whom the term “Spotted Dick” was a fond endearment.
For this recipe you’ll need a few specialty items. I always hate running across that in a recipe I perhaps haven’t read closely before starting out; “You’ll need a flugelhorn!”, announces the author, brightly. “These days you can find one easily on Amazon!”. So, advance warning, for this recipe you will need a pudding mold or basin with a lid or cover, a metal trivet to rest the mold on the bottom of a pot, either tall enough to enclose it, or close enough that a collar of aluminum foil will do the trick.
My Great Aunt Margaret’s Plum Duff
* This used to be a very messy process – cutting the prunes with a sharp pair of sewing scissors, cooking and then mashing the results. Now we can throw the cooked, drained fruit in the cuisinart and have done with it.
Now mix in the prunes, add the flour. . .
And spoon the whole mess into the greased pudding mold. Now would be a good time to mention that the pudding is going to be a solid mass in the bottom of this mold after you’ve cooked it and allowed it to cool. It will look like it is solidly glued in there, but no – set the pan in very hot water for a few minutes and then invert over a plate. It should fall right out – if not feel free to repeat the process. It’s not like this stuff is fragile.
To the left in this photo is my aluminum trivet, useful for keeping the mold off the bottom of the pot. It is stamped “1820 Cincinnati” on the bottom, so hey – an antique! I expect modern trivets would work just as well. Also, please ignore the Goya Black Bean Soup can. I’m not making anything from this product placement – the can was there for our supper of huevos rancheros later on that night.
I didn’t think I had a photo of the pot with its aluminum collar, but here it is. Evidently I’d thought I’d blog my recipe for huevos rancheros, because there’s all the fixin’s, but thought the better of it. Everybody already has a favorite recipe for those. But waaayyy in the back there you can see how to make your stew pot a steamer for your pudding mold.
Steam the pudding at a low to moderate temperature for about an hour. You shouldn’t be able to hear it boiling madly, and check about half way through to see that the water level still comes close to 3/4 of the way up the mold.Add more hot (from the tap) water if you’re getting low. The temperature may drop below simmer for a minute but it’s not going to bother your Duff.
Cool the pudding in the mold overnight in a cool place, then unmold it and decorate for the season. I used horehound, lavender and geranium because this is Thanksgiving and you can never tell when someone is going to eat the garnish – better to make it all edible.
Now go check out all the interesting steamed dishes out there, like The Bitten Word’s Persimmon Cake (which they did w/o a pudding mold).