At Christmas time Ada Zara and her chef-husband, Luigi, who commands the kitchen at the Georgetown Club, please family and friends with Christmas puddings. They distribute them with a generosity worthy of Santa and Mrs. Claus, but for those beyond their reach with a do-it-yourself urge here is the recipe. ADA ZARA'S CHRISTMAS PUDDING (6 to 8 servings) 1/2 pound stale bread, ground into crumbs Pinch salt 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/2 pound (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour 1 pound butter, chopped 1/2 pound (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar 2 pounds mixed dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins 1/4 pound blanched almonds, chopped 1/4 pound candied fruit peel, lemon, orang or both 1/4 pound glazed cherries Grated peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange 8 eggs 4 ounces brandy 1 cup milk (about)
In a large bowl or an electric mixer, work bread crumbs, salt, allspice, flour, butter and sugar together until well mixed. Add dried fruit, almonds, candied peel, cherries, lemon and orange peel and blend in. Add the eggs, one by one, until well mixed. Moisten with brandy and milk, adding a bit more milk if mixture seems too dry.
Divide the mixture between two ovenproof bowls, each about 1 1/2 quart capacity. Cover with a napkin or towel and tie. Cover towel with foil wrap. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bowls into a deep pan, place in oven and fill pan with boiling water to come part way up sides of bowls.Steam for 1 1/2 hours, then tests to see if a toothpick comes out dry. Remove from pans, let cool, then refrigerate until the day of serving.
To reheat return to oven in pan with boiling water and repeat steaming process for 1 to 2 hours, depending on whether you want to serve pudding hot or tepid. Turn pudding out onto a serving plate. At the table pour warm brandy over the pudding and ignite. Serve with hard sauce. BRANDIED HARD SAUCE 4 ounces softened butter Squeeze of lemon juice 1 pound box confectioners' sugar 4 ounces brandy
Beat softened butter in a bowl or mixer until fluffy. Add lemon juice, then add sugar and brandy alternately, beating well after each addition. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
Note: This Christmas Pudding will keep in the refrigerator for a long time. Merely uncover and moisten with brandy about once a month.