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    Christmas Pudding 2005

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    Christmas Pudding 2005

    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 6 hours, plus 2 hours on the day of serving
    • Total time: 8 hours 20 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 20 minutes


    • 300g mixed dried fruit
    • 100g dried cranberries
    • 100g Agen prunes, chopped
    • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
    • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
    • 200ml stout
    • 2 tbsp brandy or Grand Marnier
    • 50g plain flour
    • 125g suet
    • Pinch of salt
    • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
    • 50g flaked almonds (optional)
    • 1 medium cooking apple, cored and grated
    • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
    • 1 tbsp treacle
    • 200g dark muscovado sugar
    • 2 large eggs, beaten


    1. Put all the dried fruit, citrus juice and zest, spice, stout and brandy in a large bowl. Mix well, cover and leave overnight. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Butter a 1.5-litre pudding basin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Pack the pudding mixture into the basin.
    2. Cut 2 squares of baking parchment big enough to generously cover the pudding basin. Cut a piece of foil the same size. Lay the foil and parchment together and fold a large pleat in the centre. Put the foil and parchment on the basin, foil uppermost. Tie string tightly under the rim of the basin to secure the foil and paper. Take one long end of the string and pass over the top of basin and under the string on the other side, leaving plenty of slack, so you have a handle. Secure with a tight knot. Put the basin in a large pan. Pour in boiling water to come half way up the basin. Cover, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 6 hours, topping up regularly with more boiling water. To make mini puddings, use mini basins and steam for 2 hours.
    3. Leave the pudding to cool then lift from the pan. Replace the string, foil and paper with a fresh lot. Store in a cool, dark place until needed. Before serving, steam in exactly the same way for 2 hours (1 hour for mini puddings).

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    Drinks recommendation

    Muscat-based wines suit Christmas pudding. Try Asti, which is light and beautifully balanced. Gancia Asti, Italy. Bin 83800; £5.49.


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    5 stars