St. Clement’s Sauce

by Harry on December 23, 2006

If, like me, you find that Christmas Pudding is already heavy enough without the brandy butter or clotted cream, you might want to try this much lighter sauce which cuts the richness with a nice tangy citrus flavour (taken from Katie Stewart and sharing its name, I suddenly notice, with my son).

4oz butter
4oz caster (baker’s) sugar
Juice of one orange
1 tsp cornflour
Rind and juice of one lemon

Slowly bring the butter and sugar to a boil. Mix the orange juice and cornflour together, then add to the butter and sugar with the lemon juice and rind. Keep mixing to ensure a smooth sauce. Serve warm.

I said it was less heavy than brandy butter. Don’t worry, its not healthy or anything. You can use more juice or less butter and sugar if you like. Adding brandy is nice too, though redundant if you serve the pud properly.

Have a happy Christmas, those of you to whom its relevant. The rest of you — well, have a great December 25th anyway. I’m off for a few days to enjoy myself with my family.



Laura 12.23.06 at 4:34 pm

Sounds delish. merry christmas, harry!


Carrie 12.23.06 at 5:27 pm

I feel the same way about brandy butter. Your recipe sounds good. Marscapone can be a fresh alternative too. There is an arrowroot sauce that I tried once which was good, but I had forgotten about it until I read your idea.

It is in an article by Richard Ehrlich (The Guardian, 2003)who is very rude about brandy butter:,,1109648,00.html

Wishing you and your family a great festive season.


Scott Spiegelberg 12.23.06 at 7:58 pm

My mother-in-law offers a lemon sauce that sounds like this, as an alternative to her hard sauce that sounds like the brandy butter. Are these just the American names of the same types of sauce?


Brautigan 12.23.06 at 8:47 pm

As a midwestern yankee I can only ask: WTF is ‘christmas pudding’?


Alex Earl 12.23.06 at 10:46 pm

No Brandy Butter? Why even eat christmas pudding? Why even celebrate christmas?

The horror… the horror…


John Quiggin 12.24.06 at 2:16 am

I’m with Alex on this one. I’d rant more in sympathy but I’m due to start making the brandy butter, and whipping the cream for the brandy snaps.


Erin 12.24.06 at 12:34 pm

So, I stumbled across your blog looking for ways to make a suitable mince meat pie. I may be only two years late, but would like to strongly object to your categorization of all pumpkin pies as revolting. While the traditional seasonings are pretty bad, I’ve found that using a bunch of vanilla and a very little bit of cinnamon can make a great pumpkin pie. I’ve managed to convert quite a few pumpkin haters…

Happy Holidays!

P.S. So far, I’m a fan of the site and postings, just wanted to throw in my 2 cents about pumpkin pies….


kid bitzer 12.24.06 at 3:37 pm

St. Clement Dane’s, on Fleet Street, is the home church of the Royal Air Force.

Couldn’t you start with this recipe and *still* add some brandy to it?

I don’t think they’d approve of a sauce that allowed you to avoid getting bombed.


KCinDC 12.25.06 at 11:08 pm

As long as you’re providing a translation for “caster sugar”, you might also tell Americans that “cornflour” is cornstarch. Wouldn’t want anyone to use cornmeal.


vivian 12.26.06 at 8:57 pm

I thought the rule was brandy butter on mince pies (bite size), and custard on Xmas pudding (or bits of pudding floating in a sea of custard to make it even lighter). My Brit relatives have never heard of hard sauce, though it sounds like brandy butter sans butter. But then they don’t agree on whether Xmas cake should be pickled in alcohol or not. I’m a little vague on the differences between Xmas cake, fruitcake, wedding cake, Xmas pudding (it’s cooked differently but seems almost identical) and probably other variants. They all seem to be fifty-eight kinds of raisins in a moist, sweet cake (pauses for a bite – mmm! even without the brandy).

Gotta love a society that venerates the five basic food groups – alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, butter. (Chocolate is thus perfect.)

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