A pudding for Christmas

Christmas pudding

How does that saying go? ‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’. This year I had planned to make a homemade Christmas pudding. Not just any pudding, my ideal pudding, a pudding with all my favourite festive flavours. I was going to take some appealing photographs and share the whole experience on this blog. Ideally in plenty of time for Christmas.

Alas, everything did not go as planned. I researched and compared a whole range of recipes, old and new. Chose my ingredients, and left everything to the last minute.

So there I was last Sunday evening waiting for my pudding to finish steaming. Nothing written, and no time to take any photographs. On the up side, the pudding was delicious, moist, fruity and all in all very worth while.

If like me, the idea of a traditional Christmas pudding, is more appealing than the desert itself. Then this recipe may just be what you’ve been looking for. A moist and fruity pudding without the brandy, nuts or candied peel. Best of all there’s no need to make it months in advance.

Ingredients for my Christmas pudding:
Makes 2 medium puddings

75g (2.5oz) self raising flour
110g (4oz) white bread crumbs
110g (4oz) vegetable suet
225g (8 0z) dark brown caster sugar
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. five spice
110g (4oz) dried cranberries
110g (4oz) sultanas
200g (7oz) prunes (chopped)
80g (2.5oz) dates (chopped)
1 tbsp. treacle
2 tbsp. Muscat wine (or any white dessert wine)
75ml (2.5 fl oz) dark beer
Grated zest of 1 large orange
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

You will also need a two 570 ml (1 pint) pudding basins, lightly greased.

Take a roomy mixing bowl, add the dried fruit and finely chopped apple. Pour the beer, Muscat (or any white desert wine) and treacle over the fruit, add the grated orange and lemon zests and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and leave the fruit to soak for an hour or two.

Now add the suet, sifted flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar into a clean mixing bowl. Mix these ingredients thoroughly. Now combine the wet and dry ingredients. Pour the whisked eggs into the batter, and give everything a really good stir.

Pack the mixture into the lightly greased pudding basins, cover each with a double sheet of baking parchment and a sheet of aluminium foil and tie it securely with string (you’ll need to borrow someone’s finger for this!). It’s also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water, and steam the puddings for 6 hours. Make sure you keep a regular eye on the water level and top it up with boiling water from time to time.

When the pudding is steamed let it get cold, then remove the paper and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier handling. Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light.

To cook, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2.25 hours. Serve with vanilla custard or double cream.



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