Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 8 hrs
This may seem a lot of work but BOY is it worth it! Christmas Pudding is pure tradition and worth doing from scratch if only once, for first-time pudding makers this is foolproof! Make and cook the pudding 6-8 weeks before Christmas. Also as it does take a fair time to steam, make things easier for yourself by preparing the pudding up to the end of *** stage the day before. Keep the pudding in a cool place overnight, and steam as directed the next day. Cover the cold pudding with fresh greaseproof paper and foil and store in a cool place until Christmas. It is quite useful to use a see-through bowl for the pudding as you can then check the colour as it is cooking, the longer and slower the simmering the darker and richer the pudding will be.
- 75 g butter, softened, plus extra
- butter, for greasing
- 450 g dried fruit (use a mixture of sultanas, raisins and snipped apricots)
- 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (about 175g/6oz)
- 1 orange, juice and rind of, finely grated
- 50 ml brandy or 50 ml rum, plus extra
- brandy or rum, for feeding and flaming
- 100 g light muscovado sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
- 40 g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 40 g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
- Lightly butter a 1.4-litre (21/2-pint) pudding basin.
- Cut a small square of foil and press into the base of the basin.
- Measure the sultanas, raisins, apricots and apple into a bowl with the orange juice.
- Add the measured brandy or rum and leave to marinate for about one hour.
- Put the measured butter, sugar and grated orange rind into a large bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric whisk until light and fluffy, gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
- Sift together the flour and mixed spice, then fold into the creamed mixture with the breadcrumbs and the nuts.
- Add the dried fruits, apple and liquid and stir well.
- Spoon into the prepared pudding basin, pressing the mixture down, and level the top with the back of a spoon.
- Cover the pudding with a layer of greaseproof paper and foil, both pleated across the middle to allow for expansion.
- Tie securely with string and trim off excess paper and foil with scissors***.
- TO STEAM, put the pudding in the top of a steamer filled with simmering water, cover with a lid and steam for about eight hours, topping up the water as necessary.
- TO BOIL, put a metal jam-jar lid into the base of a large pan to act as a trivet. Put the pudding on to this and pour in enough boiling water to come one-third of the way up the bowl. Cover with a lid, bring the water back to the boil, then simmer for about seven hours, until the pudding is a glorious deep brown colour, topping up the water as necessary.
- Remove the pudding from the steamer or pan and cool completely.
- Make holes in the pudding with a fine skewer and pour in a little more brandy or rum to feed.
- Discard the paper and foil and replace with fresh. Store in a cool, dry place.
- On Christmas Day, steam or boil the pudding for about an hour to reheat. Turn the pudding on to a serving plate.
- To flame, warm 3-4 tablespoons brandy or rum in a small pan, pour it over the hot pudding and set light to it.
- Serve with Rum Sauce or Brandy Butter.