Of course, I nearly gorged myself on food at the family Christmas dinner yesterday. It was the second family feast this season, having had a Christmas feast with the Melbourne branch of the family a couple of weeks ago. For both, I made what is for me a traditional condiment for the pudding. It’s very easy, no doubt about it, but something that’s become absolutely essential: the brandy butter. (It also goes by the name “hard sauce“.) Drop it on the steaming hot pudding, watch it melt, and eat it as it soaks in.
I base my recipe on how I remember my grandmother’s brandy butter tasting. While some recipes suggest icing sugar (a.k.a. confectioner’s sugar), I prefer caster sugar (a.k.a. baker’s sugar) because of the texture. Also, I’ve got a fairly light amount of brandy in this recipe, and even my three-year old is known to have eaten it. You can probably double it, if you like a stronger taste.
- 250g unsalted butter
- 1 cup (250mL) caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40mL) brandy
- ground nutmeg, for decorating
- Bring the butter close to room temperature, so it has become soft. Place in a bowl and using an electric beater, whisk on medium-high until it has become creamy.
- While continuing to whisk, slowly add the sugar. The mix will become whiter and fluffier.
- Continuing to whisk, slowly add the brandy. Stop when mixed through (should take 15 seconds or so).
- Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into an ice-cube tray. When the tray is full, tap it on the bench to level, and then lightly sprinkle the top with the ground nutmeg, before placing in the freezer to set (should take an hour or so).
- Just before serving, remove from the freezer, and run the back of the tray under a hot tap. A couple of gentle whacks should now dislodge the brandy butter.
Makes ~20 large cubes of brandy butter.