Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
Brandy Butter (Hard Sauce)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup brandy (or whiskey, Irish or otherwise)
Soften butter. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until itís fluffy. Slowly add an equal amount or more of confectionerís sugar to the creamed butter. You will see that the sugar changes the texture of the butter. Slowly add the brandy after this textural change in the sugar/butter blend. Beat further until the mixture again becomes light and fluffy. Spoon the brandy butter into serving dishes and chill until firm. When turning the mixture into the serving dish, finish off the top by swirling it into a circular pattern with the bottom of the spoon for a decorative effect. A bit of holly on top adds a decorative touch.
Brandy Butter will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.
While Plum Pudding may be served without this delicious "condiment," Brandy Butter is as traditional as the steaming of the pudding itself.
Small pieces of berried holly are often used to decorate the plates on which the pudding and brandy butter are served.
The plum pudding, after steaming, is placed on a heatproof serving platter. Then it is drizzled with an ounce or two of brandy. The brandy on the plate is lit and the plum pudding is carried into a darkened room. The ring of blue fire that flickers around the plate of a fragrant, fruity plum pudding is as appreciated as the fireworks on the Fourth of July.
There is no holding back the "oohs" and "aahs" when the plum pudding arrives at the table. Everyone in the family knows that making the pudding is part of the internal clock of the homemaker, and it is an art that is handed down from one generation to the next.