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Step by Step - Christmas Pudding
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Making a pudding is guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. The aroma of fruits and spices that fills your home as you mix the ingredients seem to conjure up the spirit of Christmas. The secret of a successful pudding, with its dark colour and rich flavour, is the quality of the ingredients and the length of time it is cooked. So begin the day before and don't be tempted to cut corners. Here we have added cherries and cranberries for a twist to a traditional recipe.
Serves: 6 - 8
White or brown bread can be used to make the breadcrumbs. They can be stored in the freezer and used from frozen.
Instead of one large pudding, make several small ones. Make the mixture and divide it into individual pudding basins. Cook them together in the same way for about 2 hours. Use the smallest size basin you can find, as a large serving can be too much after a filling meal.
As an alternative to the fruits in this recipe, use Waitrose Luxury Mixed Dried Fruit. If you like a Christmas pudding with nuts, take out some of the dried fruits and substitute with the same weight of nuts. Flaked or chopped almonds are traditional, but you could use pecan and pine nuts.
If you prefer a lighter-coloured pudding, use light brown soft sugar and reduce the cooking time to 5 hours.
You can replace the stout and brandy or rum with a fruit juice such as orange or apple.
Measuring scales, spoons and jug
Grater and juicer
Large mixing bowl
Fine nutmeg grater
Clean tea towel
1.2-litre pudding basin or heat resistant glass bowl
Foil and parchment paper
Trivet or heatproof plate
Large pan with lid
This recipe was first published in November 2002.