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Classic Christmas pudding
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250g vine fruit mix
125g flame raisins
175ml brandy, plus extra to feed and flambé
Butter, for greasing
3 British Blacktail Free Range Medium Eggs, beaten
125g vegetable suet
175g dark muscovado sugar
125g fresh breadcrumbs
125g self-raising flour
2 tbsp black treacle
1 eating apple, grated, core discarded
1 tsp mixed spice
1 Mix together all the dried fruits in a bowl and pour over the brandy. Stir together, then cover the bowl and leave to soak for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight, so the dried fruit becomes nice and plump.
2 Grease a heatproof 1.5L pudding basin (one with a lid works best) with butter and put a small disc of baking parchment in the base. Set aside. Half-fill a large saucepan with water (make sure it’s big enough to hold the basin), then cover and bring to the boil. (Alternatively, fit an appropriately sized steamer over the top and cover.)
3 In a large bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until well mixed. Pour in the steeped fruit and all the liquid in the bottom of the bowl, then stir to combine.
4 Spoon the pudding mixture into the prepared basin (and secure with a lid if you have one), then wrap the basin in foil. If you don’t have a basin with a lid, cover the top with a double layer of buttered foil and seal with string to hold it in place. Place the pudding into the pan of simmering water (or into the steamer above it) and cook for 4 hours. Make sure you top up the water every so often to stop the pan boiling dry.
5 When the pudding has cooked for 4 hours, remove from the pan and unwrap. Keep in a cool, dark place wrapped in clean foil until ready to eat, feeding it with brandy every couple of weeks. The pudding will keep for around 2 months and will improve over time.
6 On the day of eating, either steam for a further 1 hour 30 minutes, or microwave for 10-15 minutes on low, until piping hot throughout. Turn the pudding out of the basin onto a good-sized serving plate with a rim around the edge. Gently heat a good splash of brandy in a small saucepan or metal ladle, until really hot but not boiling. Pour over the pudding, then carefully and immediately light the brandy to flambé. Serve with custard, cream and/or brandy butter, if liked.
To flame the pudding for serving, warm 100ml brandy in a small saucepan but make sure you don't allow it to boil. Pour it over the pudding and, keeping it at arm’s length, quickly ignite.
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Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in November 2021.