The first time I tried to make Christmas puddings, I was terrified. We were not married long and my husband kept telling how much he loved to have traditional pudding for desert at Christmas, how well his mother made them (them!) so no pressure then. Looking at the long list of ingredients can seem a bit daunting but as I found out that most of these ingredients sit beside each other at the supermarket anyway. The original recipe I started with called for barley wine and rum as the wet liquids and a s I had neither in my cupboards I have stuck with a can of stout (Guinness) and it has worked perfectly!
– 110g white breadcrumbs
– 110g shredded suet
– 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
– ½ teaspoon nutmeg
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– 225g soft brown sugar
– 25g chopped candied peel
– 25g chopped almonds
– 110g self-raising flour
– 1 small apple chopped and cored
– Grated zest of one lemon
– Grated zest of one orange
– 2 large eggs
– 150 ml stout
– 110g sultanas
– 110g raisins
– 275g currants
Begin the day before you will be steaming the puddings.
Into a large mixing bowl put in your breadcrumbs, suet, sugar and spices. Mix together well and gradually add in the peel, nuts and dried fruit, followed by the apple, lemon and orange zest. Add the sifted flour. Stir well.
In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add in the stout. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Now is the perfect time to enlist the help of the rest of the family – my children especially love to stir the mixture and make a wish! They never eat any but love the tradition of making the puddings, stirring the mixture, making a wish, and of course licking the spoon afterwards!
The mixture should fall easily from the spoon, so keep adding the stout until this is achieved. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
The following day divide the mixture into the pudding bowls. I usually get 3 different sized bowls and fill these. Cover with a double layer of parchment paper, secure with foil and string, allow for enough string to fashion a handle across the top of the bowl to lift it. Place bowls into steamer and steam on a low heat for 8 hours. Keep an eye on the water (several times!) and when finished allow to cool completely and replace the parchment and foil with fresh ones and store in a dark place until Christmas morning. Steam again for 1hr 30 minutes (depending on the size of your pudding bowls) until ready to serve. Remove from the bowl and place on warmed plate. Warm 30ml brandy and pour over the pudding. Turn off any lights and light the brandy. Your guests will applaud! Serve with brandy butter, custard, whipped cream or rum sauce to taste. Sit back and enjoy – you deserve it!