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    Christmas Pudding (for 8)

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    Christmas Pudding (for 8)

    This is the pudding we'll be eating this Christmas, just as we have done every year for nigh on a decade. As figgy puddings go, it's light and has a particularly good flavour. I love the slight crunch of the fig seeds, and the darkness that a shot of rich, black, full-tasting stout brings to the pudding.

    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 7 hours, plus 2 hours on Christmas Day
    • Total time: 9 hours 30 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 6 - 8

    Ingredients

    • 150g brown or white breadcrumbs
    • 75g dried apricots, chopped
    • 50g dried figs, chopped
    • 100g currants
    • 125g seedless raisins
    • 100g sultanas
    • 50g candied peel, chopped
    • 50g almonds, chopped
    • 100g muscovado sugar
    • 125g suet
    • Pinch salt
    • ½ tsp mixed spice
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • Pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
    • ½ orange zest and juice
    • ½ lemon, zest and juice
    • 1 eating apple, peeled and grated
    • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
    • 150ml stout
    • 150ml milk
    • 4 tbsp brandy
    • Butter for greasing moulds

    Method

    1. Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add the wet ones and mix well with your hands (stirring may be more genteel, but it doesn't work half so well). Divide the mixture between two well-greased 1.2-litre pudding basins, filling almost to the rim. Smooth down. Cover each basin with a large square of greaseproof paper, and over that a large square of silver foil. Tie tightly into place with string, leaving long ends of string trailing. Loop one of these over the pudding basin and slide underneath the taut string on the other side, then bring up and knot with the other trailing end, to form a handle for lifting the pudding in and out of the water. Leave overnight before cooking.
    2. Stand the puddings in a deep, heavy-based pan (or two if that's easier). Pour enough boiling water around them to come about halfway up the basins. Cover the pan(s) with a lid or dome of foil and boil for 7 hours. Check regularly and top up with boiling water as necessary. Cool, re-cover with clean greaseproof paper and foil, and store in a cool, dry place. To reheat them at Christmas, steam again for 2 hours.

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    Drinks recommendation

    Sweet sherry or fortified dessert wine.

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