I love making Christmas pudding. Guaranteed, you cannot buy a shop-bought pudding nearly as delicious as making one yourself. It also enables you to add or remove any ingredients. For instance, I’m not a fan of glacÃ©d cherries so they are not going any where near my pudding! I also don’t put coins in my pudding just because I think that no matter how much you sterilise them they are never that clean – they’ve been in far too many dodgy places!
If you feel inclined to make a Christmas pudding, now is a good time as you still have enough weeks left to let all the flavours infuse before Christmas day. And if you do make one, I really hope you enjoy the simple pleasure of it as much as I do.
The ingredients listed make two puddings in a 2 litre bowl – I like to make two and give one as a gift (at least that’s one present ticked off the list!)
- 200g beef suet
- 110g self-raising flour
- 225g rye breadcrumbs (you can use white bread but I like the molasses-ness of the rye)
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground mixed spice
- a good grating of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 450g soft brown sugar
- 250g golden sultanas
- 250g raisins
- 500g currants
- 50g mixed peel
- 75g chopped whole almonds
- 1 bramley apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 4 free-range eggs
- 4 big tablespoons dark rum
- a large glass Marsala (or another fortified wine or Cherry Brandy works well)
- 300ml stout
- In a large bowl add the sugar, suet, breadcrumbs, flour and spices. Give it a good stir then add the dried fruit, mixed peel and chopped almonds. Again stir well then add the apple and fresh zests
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the rum, stout and Marsala and stir well to combine. Now add pour this over the dry ingredients.
- With a large spoon, stir well making sure that the fruit, flour and egg mix are well combined. Add more stout if you think the mixture is a little dry – it should be fairly wet like a thick batter.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave overnight so all the flavours infuse.
- The next day, grease two 2 litres pudding bowls and pack the pudding mixture tightly into each bowl. Cut four, large squares of greaseproof paper and cover each bowl with two layers of the paper.
- Fold the paper down around the edges of the bowl and tie with string to secure the paper in place.
If you have a steamer, steam the puddings for 8 hours.
I don’t have a steamer so using my stock pot I place an upside down plate on the bottom of the pan and pour in some water to just come to the rim of the plate. Put the pudding bowl on top of the place and the put on the lid on the pan. Set over a very low heat and let the water gently simmer and steam. Keep an eye on the water level, you may need to top it up.
When the pudding is ready remove from the pan and leave to cool. When it’s cold, replace the paper topping and leave in a cool, dark place until you need it on Christmas day.
By Fleur Sladan, The Food Stork