Christmas pudding

This recipe is for christmas pudding, often referred to as christmas pud and xmas pud.  However you name it, this christmas food recipe tastes fantastic.

 

Ingredients – Serves 6/8 portions | Cooking time several days

  • 125g raisins
  • 125g currants
  • 50g cut mixed peel
  • 125g sultanas
  • 150ml dark stout
  • 1 large Bramley apple
  • 1 orange, grated rind and juice
  • ½ lemon, grated rind
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 125g shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 125g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1 good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • A little butter, for greasing
  • Pinch salt
  • Approx. 4 tablespoons brandy or rum (optional, if you wish to flame your pudding)

Mise en place

This to be prepared the day before:

  1. Put the raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel in a large clean bowl.
  2. Stir in the stout, mix well, cover with cling film and leave in a cool place (not the fridge) overnight to allow the fruit to plump up.

On the day of cooking

  1. Sift the flour, mixed spice, nutmeg and pinch of salt together in a clean bowl.
  2. Beat the two eggs together in a clean jug.
  3. Grate the rind from the orange and half a lemon into a clean bowl.  Squeeze the juice from the orange into the bowl.  Peel and core the apple and grate it into the bowl.
  4.  Use a touch of butter to grease a 2-pint pudding basin.
  5. Cut a small circle of greaseproof paper to fit the base of the basin.  Grease this also and place in the base of the basin.  This will hopefully help to turn the pudding out at Christmas lunch.
  6. Cut out circles of greaseproof paper and tin foil about 4 inches larger than the top of the pudding basin.  Grease one side of the greaseproof paper.

Method

  1. Uncover the dried fruit mixture that has been marinating overnight.  Using a large wooden spoon, gradually add the beaten eggs and stir well.  Next stir in the rind and juice of the orange and lemon and the apple.
  2. Next add the sugar and suet and mix well.
  3. Add the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time and stir well.  Now is the time to get all the family into the kitchen to give the pudding a stir while they each make a wish.
  4. When everyone has had a stir and made a wish, spoon the mixture into the pudding basin to about 2cm from the brim to allow the pudding to rise.  Place the circle of greaseproof paper on top with the greased side down.  Make a pleat in the centre of the paper, which will allow the pudding to expand.
  5. Place the tin foil circle on top, also with a pleat, then tie tightly around the basin and trim off any excess paper and foil.
  6. Finally, place a pudding cloth on top and tie this tightly around the basin.  Then, bring the corners together to form a handle.
  7. Choose a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and large enough to take the pudding basin.  Fill the saucepan to around a third full with boiling water and place on the stove over a low heat so the water will continue at a gentle boil.
  8. Carefully lower in the christmas pudding.  Then, place the lid on the saucepan and allow the christmas pudding to gently boil for about 6–8 hours.  The longer you boil it, the darker it may become.  Make sure you keep an eye on the water in the saucepan – it will need topping up from time to time.  Always use boiling water from the kettle for this purpose.
  9. When the christmas pudding is well cooked, remove from the saucepan and allow to cool.  Then, remove the cloth, tin foil and greaseproof paper and allow the christmas pudding to go completely cold.  Re-cover with fresh greaseproof, tin foil and a clean pudding cloth and store in a cool place (not a fridge) until the big day.
  10. When the big day arrives, prepare your large saucepan once again with the boiling water and continue to cook the christmas pudding for a further 2 hours.

After the turkey has been eaten and everyone is ready for the christmas pudding, carefully remove from the saucepan.  Remove all the coverings and turn the christmas pudding out onto a large warm dish.

Flame the pudding

If you so wish, try to flame the pudding by pouring a little brandy or rum into a small saucepan and heat it on top of the stove (an old, well-used milk saucepan would be ideal for heating the spirit).  Turn off the lights and then set fire to the spirit in the saucepan – it should burn with a lovely blue flame.  Very carefully pour over the christmas pudding.  Bet people will be impressed!  When the flame has died down you could add a sprig of holly before serving.

Christmas pudding – hints and tips

It is nice to serve a brandy sauce with your Christmas pudding, or brandy butter, a lightly whipped double cream or even a thin custard.  If you decide to use custard, try grating in a little touch of nutmeg – it will give the custard a more seasonal flavour.

There is quite a lot of tradition with christmas pudding.  They were very often made on what is called Stir-up Sunday, which is the last Sunday before Advent, which would give the christmas pudding about 5 weeks to mature.  Everyone in the family would have a stir of the pudding and make a wish before it was put on to boil.

Years ago, silver coins or charms were also added to the christmas pudding, which can be rather dangerous if swallowed!

In the years before extractor fans, grannies and great grannies would cook their christmas puddings in an outhouse on paraffin-heated primus stoves or such like, otherwise the house would be soaking wet with condensation for days!

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