I first made Christmas Pudding more than 25 years ago. Back then us Brits were presented with a choice – ‘Mrs Peeks’ or Very Posh ones from upmarket shops or you make your own.
It’s certainly different today. You can get the basic ‘bog standard’ ones, medium quality, top quality or artisan products. I have tried some of the better quality ones (when in the post-Christmas clearouts at a supermarket) but none comes close to making your own.
For the recipe below steep the dried fruit overnight in a couple of tablespoons of whisky / brandy / rum or if you’re not into alcohol use the orange juice from the recipe. In the past I’ve 1 tbsp of Glayva and 1 tbsp of Jack Daniels, just because that was what was in my cupboard.
The beer required to mix the pudding can be anything from a stout, bitter or lager. I used to buy a small bottle of Guinness or Mackeson but ended up with half a bottle of something no-one in the house drinks! Nowadays I use a dark bitter ale.
I also find it best to use vegetarian suet as it’s lighter and healthier.
If you want a darker pudding add a couple of tablespoons of black treacle to the mix. I don’t use it anymore as this is the only recipe I’d use it for.
There are of course many recipes and different ways of cooking them. I use an adapted recipe from one of my recipe books and cook it in a microwave. Microwaves are really good at cooking steamed puddings and are much quicker than having a pot steaming away for hours. But of course there is the new alternative – the slow cooker. You can of course steam this pudding on your stove top for 5 to 6 hours or place pudding in a slow cooker, pour boiling water three-quarters of the way up the basin. Cook for 8 – 10 hours on Low.
I make 2 large puddings and 2 teacup size puddings with this mixture! The 2 teacup ones are cooks perks! (cook them on same setting as large ones for about 4 minutes.
Oh one last thing… Make them around 6 to 8 weeks before Christmas so they have time to mature.
This recipe makes 2 x 1.5 pint puddings
- 150g Plain Flour
- 3 tsp Mixed Spice
- 175g fresh breadcrumbs
- 225g Dark Soft Brown Sugar
- 225g Shredded Suet
- 625g Mixed Dried Fruit
- 50g Glace Cherries halved or quartered
- 1 large orange – grated rind (use juice to steep fruit if not using alcohol
- 1 Dessert Apple – grated
- 4 eggs – lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp Milk
- 150ml Stout or other beer.. see preamble above
- 2 tbsp whisky or brandy or rum
- Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and stir in the whisky / brandy / rum or orange juice. Leave to steep for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
- Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl and add all the other dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Mix in all the other ingredients.
- Cover and leave in a cool place for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
- Grease 2 x 2 pint (1 litre) basins and place a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom.
- Divide the mixture between the 2 basins. Press mixture down well. They should be about three-quarters full. Any left over mixture can be used for teacup puds..see preamble.
- Cover basin with cling film and pierce a few times.
- Cook on medium setting for 8 minutes (1000watt microwave).
- At the end of cooking time the top of the pudding should be set. Push a skewer into the centre it should come out reasonably clean. If not then cook for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Leave in basin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- Cover basin with a pleated layer of greaseproof paper and put a pleated layer of foil on top; tie securely with string.
- Place each pudding in a large, heavy bottomed sacepan on a trivet or upturned saucer. Fill the pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the puddings.
- Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Cook at a gentle simmer for 5-6 hours, topping up with water every couple of hours if you need to.
- Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- Place the pudding in a slow cooker. Make sure your basin fits!!
- Fill the crock with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the pudding.
- Cover with a lid and cook on LOW for 8 – 10 hours
- Remove from pan and allow to cool.
When completely cold, wrap each pudding in double thickness greaseproof paper and then in foil. Store in the bottom of a fridge to mature.
- Cut portions and reheat in the microwave for 30 secs to 1 minute per portion.
- Or you can reheat the whole pudding by heating in a Microwave or resteaming.
- Serve with Brandy butter / cream/ custard
Hope you’ll give it a try. I’d love to know if you do.