I’ve often thought that we were weird children – from an early age, we all just loved Christmas pudding, Brandy and all! There was none of that ‘oh it’s too rich for the children’ stuff in our house. My poor Mother made at least 6 large Christmas puddings which did Christmas, New Year, ‘Little Christmas’ (6th Jan), St Patrick’s day, and finally Easter Sunday. She was a woman who knew her audience, my Mum
However, times change, and these days we make just one pudding, and this has fallen to the lot of my beloved Mr Saturday Night.
If you can, it’s best to start this the evening before you’re going to make it, to allow for the marinating time. Although I’m not too rigid about this, which is just as well because some years we just forget!
- A 2.5 pint/ 1.4 pudding bowl, lightly greased.
- A large mixing bowl.
- A fine grater or zester
- A strong wooden spoon
- Baking parchment, strong tin foil, string.
- A large cooking pot with lid, big enough to hold the pudding bowl.
- a trivet, if you have one; or an upturned saucer or jam jar lid if not..
INGREDIENTS: this recipe makes one family-sized pudding, with leftovers!
- 450g mixed dried fruit. This can be virtually anything you like. The traditional ones would be sultanas, raisins and currants, with perhaps a few glace cherries thrown in. We use dried cranberries, golden sultanas, chopped apricots, and dates as well as the more traditional fruits.
- 25g glace cherries. (We use dried cherries)
- a med-sized cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
- Brandy, 4 tablespoonfuls – plus more for feeding – the pudding, not you 😉 optional.
- 55g Self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon of ground mixed spice
- 1 and a half teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 110g Suet (we use Atora Beef or Vegetarian)
- 110g dark Muscovado sugar
- 110g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten together.
- Put the dried fruits, and the chopped apple into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Add the brandy, the zest and juice of the oranges and lemons and mix together.
- Cover the bowl and leave to marinade for several hours or overnight.
- Lightly butter your pudding bowl
- Sift the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon together into a large bowl.
- Add the suet, sugar and breadcrumbs to the marinated fruit, and mix well.
- Add the sifted flour, fold in.
- Lastly, add the beaten eggs and mix in.
- The mixture will be fairly soft at this stage.
- Grab the family and get them to stir the pudding and make a wish.
- Spoon the pudding mixture into the prepared bowl and press it down gently.
- Cover with a double layer of grease-proof paper; then a double layer of tin foil, and then tie it firmly in place with the string, making a double string handle to help you lift the pudding in and out of the saucepan. It’s useful if you have a bowl that has a ‘lip’ – that way you can tie the string underneath it. You will almost certainly need an extra pair of hands at this stage to tie the string for you (or be much more patient than we are!)
- Trim off any excess baking parchment and foil.
- Put the pudding into the saucepan onto the trivet and fill with boiling water until it’s about halfway up the sides of the bowl.
- Steam for 6 hours, remembering to top up the water regularly. I set the oven timer at 1-hour intervals to remind me, especially if I’m not in the kitchen. I also find it helpful to write down the finishing time, so I won’t forget it! Don’t forget that if you have a Pressure Cooker, you can halve your cooking time – just check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- When the steaming time is up, remove the bowl from the saucepan and allow to cool completely. In our house we leave it over-night.
- Remove the papers and have a look – it will be a dark brown colour, and it will smell divine! If you like, you can prick it all over and ladle in a couple of more tablespoons of brandy before you parcel it all up with fresh paper and foil exactly as before, ready to reheat on Christmas day.
- Keep it in a dry, cool place until required.
On Christmas day, steam it for an hour before serving. I tend to put it on as soon as the hob becomes less congested. Don’t panic about it – no one is ready for dessert straight after their biggest meal of the year!
NOTES: Mr Sat Night has given me these notes for you 😉
- If you’re not concerned about nut allergies, feel free to add your choice of nuts to this recipe (my dad loved almonds, and they suit Christmas pudding really well). About 25-50g.
- If you don’t have a trivet (we don’t) you can use a sturdy saucer or even a jam jar lid.
- There is a lot of advice about flaming the brandy on the pudding (have a look on-line) but we tend to just slosh it on (a tablespoonful or two) and light it with a long match. Be sure to turn the lights out, as this is the pudding’s moment of glory, and you wouldn’t want to miss it!