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My favourite Christmas Pudding recipe adapted from

Serves 12

Mixing time 30 minutes, resting time 8 hours, cooking time 8-10 hours + 2 1/2 hours on Christmas day

Ingredients: (add in this order)
  1. Suet, or butter 4 oz (110 g), chill first then use a grater or chop with a knife.
  2. Self-raising flour, 2 oz (50 g) sifted
  3. Fresh White bread crumbs, 4 oz (110 g) from the Bakery, not the Supermarket
  4. Salt teaspoon
  5. Nutmeg (freshly grated) 1 teaspoons
  6. Cinnamon, 1 teaspoons of freshly ground
  7. Ground Ginger, 1/3 of a teaspoon
  8. Ground Cloves of a teaspoon
  9. Soft dark brown Sugar 8 oz (225 g) (the darker the better)
  10. (Optional: (pinch of each); ground Allspice, ground Coriander, ground Mace)( I add them)
  11. Peel, mixed & candied 1 oz (25 g) chop finely
  12. Almonds 1 oz (25 g), peeled, blanched and chopped
  13. Mixed Fruit 2.2lbs (1KG )
  14. Dates (dried or fresh) or Prunes 4 oz (110 g) cut into pieces, removing the stones.
  15. Pear or Apple, 1 small, peeled and grated (remove core)
  16. Lemon Zest, from 1 large lemon
  17. Eggs 2, (large) fresh
  18. Guinness 5 fl oz (150 ml) you may use any dark beer or substitute the same amount of milk)( I use milk)
  19. Muscat, 2 Tablespoons or any fortified wine (Sherry, Tokay, or Port)

MIXING: Use a very LARGE mixing bowl and start by adding the suet or butter, well sifted flour, bread crumbs, salt, spices and sugar. Mix these WELL together, then gradually add & mix in all the Almonds Mixed Peel and Dried Fruit, then the Pear (or Apple) and the grated lemon zest. Make sure you have included everything, tick off the ingredients as you add them.

In another bowl break the Eggs and add the Muscat and Guinness, and blend or whisk them all together. Add this mixture into the large mixing bowl, and stir.

Make sure the mixture is well blended, it should look very light brown and should be fairly sloppy, you can test this by taking a spoonful of the mixture and tapping the spoon handle on the side of the bowl. If the mixture is right it will drop instantly from the spoon.

If in the previous test the mixture stuck to the spoon the mixture needs a bit more liquid. Add a trifle more Guinness until the test is successful!

Leave the mixture in the bowl, press the mixture down so there are no air-gaps, cover with stretch-film and leave overnight on the bench or, in the Fridge if hot or leaving for longer than overnight, this is important as it will allow the Dried fruit and Breadcrumbs time to absorb the liquid.

THE PUDDING BASIN: You will need a 2 litre clean, dry, pudding basin, lightly greased, especially at the bottom of the bowl. After greasing the bowl, sprinkle a small amount of caster sugar (or icing sugar) around the bowl to coat the bowl, then shake to coat and then remove the excess.

NEXT DAY: Pack the mixture into the prepared pudding bowl. The mixture should be within 1" 25mm of the rim of the bowl and cover it with a double sheet of Glad Bake and a sheet of foil. Tie these securely with string around the rim of the basin. Also tie string around the bowl like a parcel to make it easy for you to lift the pudding out of the pot.

COOKING/BOILING: You will need a large saucepan or boiler, add a trivet to keep the pudding off the bottom to stop the bottom burning.
Put the pudding in the large saucepan, add boiling waterto about half to three-quarters of the way up the bowl. Set to a high heat and when the water boils reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and steam the pudding for about 8-10 hours, make sure the lid is on the whole of that time.

Check the water level about once every 30 minutes, and top it up with boiling water as needed.

When the pudding is cooked, remove from the pot and let it get cold, then remove the paper and foil and replace with fresh ones, duplicating your previous wrapping.

Store in a cool dark place until Christmas day!

Reheating and serving: on Christmas day, steam for 2 hours. When time is up remove from the boiler and leave for a couple of minutes, then remove string, foil and paper, Shake to loosen and run a knife around the sides. Turn out the puddings onto a warmed platter and lightly dredge with caster sugar. Heat the brandy in a small saucepan and tip the pan towards the hob - the brandy should catch alight. Pour the flaming brandy over the puddings and serve straight away with the brandy butter or accompany with piping-hot creamy custard.

Brandy butter:
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 orange, grated rind
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp brandy

For the brandy butter: Beat the butter and orange rind until softened and gradually stir inthe icing sugar, followed by the brandy. (Caution: Don't add the brandy too quickly, or it may curdle). Turn the finished Brandy Butter into a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

  • 2 tsp caster sugar, for dredging
  • 4-6 tbsp brandy


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