Christmas is less that 12 weeks away, so now is the time to start on things like Christmas Puddings and Christmas Cakes. These can be made well in advance and the flavour develops and gets richer as they are left to mature. I did a three part video for Christmas cakelast year so I wont be doing one this time around. However I decided to make Christmas pudding, especially as I had received a couple of requests for it.
It is traditional in the UK to have a rich fruit pudding, sometimes maybe called Plum Pudding, at Christmas, and there are many variations, but all are very similar in that they use dried fruit as the main flavour ingredient, often with brandy as well. They are all usually steamed for hours to cook and can then be stored until Christmas.
For mine I have gone with what I really remember from my childhood and hope that it will be rich and flavoursome and ideal with custard, brandy butter, or brandy/rum sauce. I wont know until Christmas day though since it wont be tasted until then. But from the aroma that filled the kitchen when I unwrapped it after cooking it I am very optimistic.
Once cooked and cooled and then unwrapped the pudding then needs to be wrapped again, in fresh parchment paper and aluminium foil for storing.
- 110g suet
- 110g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 55g self raising flour
- 250g soft dark brown sugar
- 470g dried mixed fruit with mixed peel included(or 140g each of currants, sultanas, raisins and 50g chopped mixed peel)
- 100g glace cherries, halved or chopped(I used morello)
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 medium eggs(large in USA)
- 70 ml brandy
- 140ml cold black tea(or 140ml stout)
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp black treacle(or molasses)
- In a large bowl place all the mixed dried fruit and the chopped cherries.
- Add the black tea and mix together.
- Cover and leave to soak overnight, stirring occasionally to make sure all the fruit gets soaked and is able to absorb some of the liquid.
- Once the fruit as soaked overnight drain it and retain the excess liquid in a bowl.
- In a separate, large, bowl place the suet, flour, breadcrumbs, mixed spice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and sugar.
- Mix together to get everything eveny distributed.
- In the bowl with the excess liquid add the eggs and whisk to break them up and combine with the liquid.
- Add the lemon juice, orange juice, black treacle and brandy and mix together.
- Set aside while you add the fruit to the dry mixture and stir in to combine.
- Add the zests too and mix them to combine.
- Pour in the liquid and mix until all is well combined. The mixture will still be very wet and sloppy.
- Grease a 1.5 litre pudding basin or heatproof bowl and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
- Pour the pudding mixture into the bowl and press it down to level it off.
- Cover the top with a round of parchment paper that just covers the mixture.
- Take two sheets of parchment paper, pleated in the middle(to allow for swelling).
- Place a sheet of aluminium foil over the two sheets of parchment paper and place them all over the top of the basin pressing them down to cover it.
- Tie the coverings around the bowl, tightly, with string.
- Make a handle from more string, attached the that wrapped around the basin and going over it. This is for lifting the basin in and out of the saucepan you will need.
- Place an upturned saucer, or a trivet, in the bottom of a large saucepan and put the basin on top of it.
- Pour boiling water into the saucepan until it comes halfway up the basin.
- Simmer on the stove for 8 hours, topping up with boiling water as necessary to ensure it doesn’t boil dry.
- After 8 hours carefully remove the pudding basin from the saucepan and allow to cool a little.
- After 10 to 15 minutes remove the coverings so that you can check on the pudding. It should be cooked and springy to the touch. Check with a skewer if you wish to ensure that it is not uncooked inside.
- Take new parchment paper and aluminium foil and cover as before, for storage. Store in a cool place until required( you can feed with a little more brandy from time to time if you wish, always covering again afterwards).
- When needed place the pudding into a pan of water as before and steam for another three hours, or if you are feeling daring and can’t wait you could try microwaving the pudding though I have never done that.