Elevate your Christmas desserts with a generous dollop of brandy butter. The spiced butter adds a boost of flavour to pudding and minced pies.
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COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Use it up: Leftover orange rind can be used to make citrus dust rind. Check out our 8 ways to reduce food waste tips.
Smart swap: If you’re not a brandy drinker and don’t want to fork out for an entire bottle, you can use whisky, bourbon or rum if you have some on hand.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and with that comes an abundance of delicious desserts. One way to make your desserts more impressive is with the addition of this sweet condiment. What is brandy butter, you ask? Commonly known as ‘hard sauce’ in the US, it’s a tasty condiment that is somewhat like icing made by mixing butter with brandy, sugar and spices to serve on top of pudding or mince pies and to give an extra kick to your festive treats.
The history of brandy butter sauce dates back to the late 1800s or early 1900s in the UK. Similar in flavour to the Cumbrian delight, rum butter, it became a way to add a big lick of alcohol and fat to enhance the flavours of figgy puddings. Add a big dollop on top of your pudding or inside the lid of a fruit mince pie and you’ll enjoy a brandy flavour that packs a punch.
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This simple yet fabulous sauce only requires a few simple ingredients to create, resulting in a condiment that has more of an icing consistency, with a generous lick of brandy and orange juice for extra flavour.
Brandy gives the main flavour, so the sauce relies heavily on its fruity and subtly sweet flavour profile. In turn, this perfectly complements the flavours of citrus and mixed spice. You can choose any variety of brandy that you prefer, with the French cognac being one of the most common. However, if you happen to have Applejack, pisco or Armagnac, you can use any of these as well. If brandy is not to your taste, then you could replace it with rum, whisky or bourbon depending on preference. Be mindful that using too much alcohol can cause the condiment to curdle or split.
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Brandy butter came about when Christmas puddings were made less sweet and therefore the brandy butter ingredients added a lovely combination of sweetness and extra flavour. The sweet condiment works well on both hot and cold Christmas desserts, but most commonly with fig puddings or easy fruit mince pies.
While this sweet spread is generally only busted out at Christmas, it has other applications that can be used year-round. Slather it across pancakes or crumpets, or why not try it out on hot cross buns for something a little special?
To serve, place a dish of your prepared homemade brandy butter in the middle of the table for everyone to serve themselves. However, make sure to advise the kids that this is an adults-only condiment! Garnish with a curl of citrus rind if you so desire.
Whether you choose to make enough Christmas brandy butter to serve on the day or you want to make a big batch and give it to friends and family as an edible gift, it's important to store brandy butter correctly. For best storage, keep it in clean and sterilised jars. Simply wrap it with a ribbon for gifting.