Whether you love or loathe it, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a traditional Christmas pudding to adorn the table, ready to be served with white sauce or a brandy butter. It’s surprisingly easy to make, and made well in advance this pudding can even be gifted at Christmas to loved ones.
Serves Many hungry people Prep 45 minutes Cook 8hrs, plus 60 minutes
2 large cooking apples
50g blanched almonds
200g mixed candied peel
1 nutmeg (whole)
140g plain flour
120g light brown sugar or muscovado
100g fresh white breadcrumbs (not shop-bought)
3 large free range eggs
Bottle of brandy (2tbsp for the pudding, 4tbsp for the butter and a good splash for flaming)
250g slightly salted butter (not spreadable), cold from the fridge
For the butter
175g unsalted butter, softened
Zest of ½ large orange
4tbsp icing sugar
2 chunks of stem ginger, chopped very fine
Stir Up Sunday is the day to get mixing up your Christmas pudding! So, prepare for puddings mixing on the last Sunday before Advent.
Start off by prepping all the fruit and nuts. Peel and core the apples. In a food processor, plus the almonds with the apple until roughly chopped. Chop the candied peel using a sharp knife and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the apple and almond and grate ¾ of the whole nutmeg into the mix.
Now add the remaining pudding ingredients (excepting the butter) and mix well.
Remove the butter from the fridge so it’s still hard, and then use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the bowl. After a third of the butter is grated in, mix well before grating the next. Once all the butter has been grated in stir well for 5 minutes. Now is the time to get everyone involved with the mixing and wish-making involved with the Christmas pudding. Please avoid the tradition of putting a penny in the pudding though – choking hazard ahoy!
With the mixture well and truly stirred up, you can prepare the pudding bowls. Don’t be shy when buttering 2 large pudding bowls (approx. 2pt capacity each). Place a disc of greaseproof paper at the bottom of each bowl before pouring in the mixture. Make sure you pack each bowl fully before covering with 2 layers of greaseproof or baking paper. Put a pleat in the top of the paper to allow for the pudding to expand while steaming, then tie to paper tightly around the top.
Now to watertight your puddings before steaming. Lay a large sheet of kitchen foil on a work surface. Place one bowl in the centre of the foil and raise the edges so they are over the top. Take another sheet of large foil and place over the top, folding it down to the underneath of the pudding bowl. Tie with more string to make a handle so you can lift out of the pan with ease.
Steam your puddings in a large bowl of water – topping up when necessary – for 8 hours. When the time is up, remove from the pan and leave overnight to cool on a wire rack.
The next morning, remove all the cooking wrapping used and replace with fresh baking paper or parchment and foil and keep in a cool spot in the house until ready to eat! For Christmas day all you will need to do is boil the pudding again for 1 hour before unwrapping and turning out for serving. In a small pan heat up the brandy (5tbsp should suffice) before pouring over the pudding and setting it alight. And of course, to serve you need your Brandy Butter. For this, simply cream the butter with orange zest and sugar before very slowly adding the brand and chopped ginger to the mix. Then place in a small dish, cover with cling film and store in the fridge until Christmas day.
& inspiration from the