This has become a very traditional Thanksgiving dessert at our house. It's a steamed pudding, and very easy to make.
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup brandy
12 ounces white bread, bottom crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 cups light cream or whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace or any spice you like
Soak the raisins in the brandy overnight or for several hours.
Butter and sprinkle with sugar a 2 quart covered metal pudding mold, including the inside of the lid. I put a bunch of sugar into the mold, secure the buttered lid, and then shake and shake. This covers everything nicely.
Layer the bread alternately with the plumped sultanas in the mold, ending with the bread.
Beat the eggs with the sugar until light. Gradually pour in the cream. Add the nutmeg. Pour over the bread. This can now be stored in the refrigerator over night if you like. Or left to sit out on the table for an hour or two to soak and come to room temperature.
Secure the lid and place the mold on a rack in a covered kettle with enough water to come two thirds up the side of the mold. Steam the pudding for 1 hour over gently simmering water. I have also put it in the top of Nigella's big pot, with the water in the bottom, not actually touching the pudding mold. This worked quite nicely. It's all about steaming the pudding.
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbl cornflour
1 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
juice and zest of two tiny lemons
Combine the sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Add the hot water and bring slowly to a boil. Add the butter, lemon juice, and zest and continue cooking until smooth, just a bit longer.
To serve, unmold the warm pudding onto a serving plate and serve with a bowl of lemon sauce that has been slightly heated.