Here's a delicious and reliable Christmas pudding recipe. Also known as plum pudding, this is
traditionally served with brandy butter or rum sauce (both recipes below) and flamed with brandy in
the kitchen, then carried in, covered in its blue flame, for a spectacular Christmas desert! And of course, if you
are lucky, you might find a sixpence or other Christmas pudding charm in your serving.
Traditionally made on "Stir Up Sunday" - the last Sunday of the year before Advent, it was traditional that the
family gathered together to give the pudding mixture a stir and make their own secret wishes. Allowing
Christmas puddings were originally made with chopped prunes (hence the name "plum pudding") but now they are
usually made with a variety of dried fruit.
The earlier you can make your Christmas pudding the better, but you need to allow at least one month for it to
mature and up to six months is fine as long as you wrap it well and store it in a cool, dark place.
Our Christmas pudding recipe serves 6-8
You will need:
A 1.2 litre pudding (2 pints) pudding bowl
Trivet or large saucer
Large saucepan with a lid
100g (3 1/2 oz) stoned prunes
300ml (10 fl oz) cold tea (brew, remove the tea bags, and leave to cool)
50g (1 3/4 oz) glacé cherries
25g (1oz) chopped mixed peel
50G (1 3/4 oz) blanched almonds
50g (1 3/4 oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
75g (2 3/4 oz) suet or butter (if using butter, freeze for 10 minutes and then grate using the course setting
on your grater)
75g (2 3/4 oz) soft dark brown sugar
50g (1 3/4 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
175g (6 1/4 oz) sultanas
175g (6 1/4 oz) raisins
50g (1 3/4 oz) currants
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon, beaten
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tsp black treacle or molasses
150ml (5 fl oz) dark beer
1 tbsp brandy
To serve: an additional 4 tbsp brandy
The night before making the pudding:
Soak the prunes in the cold tea.
Grease and line the base of your pudding bowl (see sizes above) with a circle of greaseproof paper.
Make the pudding:
Drain the prunes and chop them. Also chop up the cherries, peel and almonds and throw into a large
mixing bowl. Core the apple and then grate coarsely into the bowl.
Sift the flour and spices (list 3) together into the bowl. Then add all the ingredients in list 4 and
stir well together. Now is the time to get the family in to make their wishes!
Pour the mixture into the pudding bowl and level the top. cover with another circle of greaseproof paper and a
large piece of foil, which you have pleated in the centre to allow room for the pudding to rise. Tie the pudding
under the rim of the pudding bowl. You can add more string as a handle to make lifting the pudding into and out of
the saucepan easier.
Cook the pudding:
Boil the kettle. Put the trivet or upturned saucer into the bottom of the saucepan and place the pudding bowl on
top. Pour in boiling water to come half way up the sides of the bowl. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until
the water simmers gently and cover the pan so that the pudding steams.
Set your timer for 30 minute intervals and check the pudding, adding more water to the saucepan as necessary so
that it doesn't boil dry. The pudding will take 3 hours to steam in total.
Store the pudding:
Remove and leave to cool completely. Cover with fresh greaseproof paper and a double layer of foil. Store in a
cool, dark place.
You have two choices for reheating your pudding. Either steam the pudding as before for 2 hours. This is seldom
practical on Christmas day, with all the other cooking going on and a busy hob! Or simply reheat the pudding in the
microwave. Your settings will vary but you should allow 7-8 minutes on full power to get the pudding piping
While the pudding is heating, warm the remaining 4 tbsp brandy in a small saucepan.
Turn out onto a warm serving platter. Make sure that there is an edge to contain the brandy! Pour the warm
brandy all over the pudding and set alight. You can spoon the flaming branding over the pudding for flavour if
you wish, but please be careful!
Serve when the flames have gone out, with brandy butter or rum sauce.
Flaming Christmas pudding!
Brandy Butter Recipe
225g (8oz) butter
225g (8 oz) light soft brown sugar or icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
4 tbsp brandy, or a little more to taste!
Cream the butter and sugar together until very light. Beat in the brandy, a little at a time, tasting as you go.
(Editor's note - this is probably my favourite job at Christmas!) Bear in mind that the taste
will strengthen if you leave the butter for any time. Chill until ready to serve, but make sure you remove it from
the fridge at least half an hour before the pudding is ready to soften.
Rum Sauce Recipe
40g (1 1/2 oz) butter
25g (1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
450ml (16 flo oz) milk
25g (1 oz) caster (superfine) sugar or light brown sugar
3 tbsp rum or more to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and cook gently, stirring, for a minute or so. Remove the pan
from the heat and gradually stir in the milk, using a whisk as you incorporate it to prevent any lumps forming.
Return to the heat and bring slowly to the boil, whisking all the time until it has thickened. Sprinkle in the
sugar and rum and stir gently for a few more moments until the sugar has melted.
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