28 Nov My favourite Christmas pudding recipe
My favourite Christmas pudding recipe
The last Sunday before advent is ‘stir up Sunday’, the day when homemade Christmas puddings traditionally start their journey from bagged dried fruit to alcohol soaked yumminess a few weeks later.
As I stirred on Sunday I thought you might like to try a recipe that has served me well for many, many years. And hey, what’s to stop you having a stir up Tuesday…or any other day for that matter?
I found this Christmas pudding recipe when the fabulous David Herbert included it in a recipe round up. He borrowed it from the late Katie Stewart. I am now sharing it with you. Which seems wholly fitting given the communal joy of a ‘stir up’.
East to West
Since the start of every pudding’s life begins with simply mixing in a bowl, even the youngest chefs can get involved. You are supposed to mix East to West in honour of the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus.
The one tradition we don’t stick to in this house is the hidden coin – I don’t want to be billed for emergency dental bills come the New Year!
I know this pudding is delicious because I have tasted it. I know this pudding is delicious because every year I get asked to make more of them, for loved ones, neighbours and for my mum to give as gifts to her French friends, who are ever curious about our Christmas grub.
I know this pudding is delicious because my neighbour – a Cordon Bleu-trained professional caterer – gets me to make it for her Christmas Day table.
The secret is the butter, which takes the place of suet. There is no beating. There are no tricky steps. You just stir – and steam.
The steaming happens in a water bath in the oven, rather than on the hob, so no boiling dry of pans….just a rich, lovely pudding. And did I mention that it’s delicious…?
What you need
- A large mixing bowl
- Heavy-bottomed (tee hee!) saucepan for melting butter
- 1.2l pudding basin
- Greaseproof paper & tin foil
- String to tie paper onto pudding bowls
- Large, deep baking tin
- 110g self-raising flour
- 1tsp mixed spice
- Pinch of salt
- 75g fresh breadcrumbs (the recipe states ‘white’ but I use granary)
- 30g flaked almonds
- 350g mixed dried fruit
- 1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
- 2 large eggs
- Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1tbsp black treacle
- 110g butter
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 2tbsp brandy or rum (although I prefer a ‘free-pour’ method)
Serves 8. Preparation time = 90 minutes. Cooking time = 7 hours
What you need to do
- Sift the flour, mixed spice and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, flaked almonds, dried fruit and apple.
- In a jug, combine the eggs, lemon juice, zest and treacle.
- Melt the butter and sugar over a low heat, then mix with the egg mixture and the dry ingredients. Cover with a cloth and set aside for an hour.
- Grease a 1.2l pudding basin with a little butter. Stir the mixture again and spoon it into the basin, ensuring the top is level. Cover with buttered, pleated greaseproof paper, then cover the top of the basin with pleated foil and secure with string.
- Heat the oven to 150°C (gas mark 2). Place the pudding in a deep baking tin and pour boiling water into the tin to a depth of 2.5cm. Cover with a tent of foil and cook for 4-5 hours.
- Let the pudding cool completely. Remove and discard the coverings. Spoon over the brandy and cover with fresh greaseproof paper and foil. Keep cool in the fridge.
- To serve, bring it back to room temperature, re-cover with buttered greaseproof paper and foil, secure it with string and steam for 2 hours.
- Invert the pudding onto a plate and remove the bowl. Pour brandy into a ladle, warm it over a candle, then let the flame lick over the warm brandy. When it lights, pour over the pudding. Serve immediately with brandy butter.
I usually double or treble the ingredients at mixing stage and then put them into a series of smaller pudding basins. They make wonderful gifts.
If you can bear to part with them!
Do you have any favourite Christmas recipes to share?