In the Kitchen: Reynolds Tavern Christmas Pudding

In the Kitchen with

Marilyn Burge

Reynolds Tavern Christmas Pudding

Story & Photography by Christine Fillat

The flavors of delicacies in life transport you: the crunchiness of the fig seeds, the bite of citrus zest, the enveloping aroma of a generous pour of brandy; the moistness that can only come with hours of gentle steaming, the toothsome counterpoint of sweet hard sauce. This is the dessert that memories are made of. When I asked Marilyn Burge, of historic Reynolds Tavern, to create a fabulous holiday dish for us, she absolutely could make nothing less than her Christmas pudding.


Christmas Pudding


• 1 1/2 cups dried currants
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
• 1 cup dried figs, chopped
• 3/4 cup brandy
• 1 large Granny Smith apple
(peeled and cored) and finely grated
• Zest and juice from one orange
• Zest and juice from one lemon
• 3/4 cup butter
• 2 cups shredded white bread crumbs
• 1 1/4 cups finely ground almonds
• 1 1/4 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 large eggs
• 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

Grease a 2 1/4 quart, heat-proof ceramic bowl with softened butter. Make sure the bowl will fit onto a stock pot or Dutch oven for steaming. You can place a heat-proof trivet on the bottom of the pot to raise the pudding from the pot’s base, or if you have a large stock pot that has a steaming insert, this works great, too.

In a large saucepan, combine the currants, raisins, golden raisins, dried figs, and brandy over medium heat. Simmer about 5 minutes and let cool. When completely cool, stir in the grated apple and orange and lemon zest and juices.

In a separate bowl, toss together bread crumbs, flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices.

With an electric beater, beat together butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Gently stir in the dried fruit and brandy mixture into the butter mixture. Carefully fold in the bread crumb mixture.

Pour the batter into prepared bowl; cover the top with buttered parchment paper that fits inside the rim of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a double layer of aluminum foil, crimping it well around the rim.

Lower your pudding into the stock pot or Dutch oven. You want the water to come about one half to two thirds of the way up the side of the bowl. Simmer the pudding gently over medium low heat for about 6 hours. (Check the water level occasionally and refill if needed.) The top center of the pudding should feel firm.

Let the pudding cool a bit; remove the foil and parchment paper. Wrap well, and refrigerate once cool. To serve, you will need to steam it again as before (about 2 hours). Remove the pudding and invert onto a platter. Pour 1/2 cup brandy over the pudding, dim the lights, and ignite! Serve the pudding with Brandy Hard Sauce.

Brandy Hard Sauce:
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
• Grated zest from one lemon
• 1/2 cup brandy

Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in lemon zest, and slowly add brandy until well blended. Refrigerate; let soften just a bit at room temperature before serving with the pudding.

In 2004, Marilyn Burge and husband Wes, returned to Maryland with the opportunity to “Tavern Keep” in Annapolis. Their shared interest in history and passion for food has made them well suited to run Reynolds Tavern. Together, they ensure it is a lively and unforgettable part of Annapolis’ historic community.

For more information about Reynolds Tavern or to make reservations, go to,
or call 410.295.9555.

Christine Fillat lives on the Magothy River and is an aficionado of Chesapeake Bay cooking and living.

From Vol. 4, No. 6 2013
Annapolis Home Magazine