This recipe instruction is for enthusiastic beginners or for cooks who
give food gifts at Christmas.
The full Christmas Pudding recipe check is
at the bottom
of this page.
With 6 pints of pudding mix you can make these
pudding or your own combination
1 X 2 pint pudding using a rounded Pyrex basin
2 X 1 pint puddings using a rounded Pyrex basin
1 X 1/2 pint pudding using a tall ceramic basin
6 X 1/4 pint mini puddings (equivalent to 11/2 pints and
using 1/4 pint metal pudding tins)
Weigh the dried fruit
20 oz currants
20 oz raisins
20 oz sultanas
4 oz best quality candied peel you cut yourself
4 oz apricots
2 oz dates
Tip - You'll need a 'large' bowl or container for
70 ounces of dried fruit.
A. Preparation of the dried
Clean and prepare your currants,
raisins and sultanas by washing each batch in a clean bowl of hot
water. Drain for a minute or so using a sieve.
Place, first the currants, on a clean tea towel
covered in 2 layers of kitchen roll paper. Roll the currants in the
tea towel/paper. Discard the mucky kitchen paper which will be
covered in bits even if you bought pre-washed currants. Roll
the currants yet again in the tea towel alone. You will be amazed
how many more picky bits of twig are removed and which makes eating
any fruit dessert much more pleasant.
This is faster and just as effective as picking over
the currants individually. Repeat the process on the raisins and
sultanas. Generally the worst offenders are the currants.
Due to their smallness, the stalks often retract into the berry.
Next prepare your fruit soaking liquids.
Fruit Soak Fluids
½ cup of sherry (8 tablespoons)
½ cup of port (8 tablespoons)
½ cup of whisky or brandy (8 tablespoons)
Grating and Squeezing
3 lemons, use all the finely grated zest. Do not include the
bitter white pith. Squeeze out the juice of the three lemons. Warming
them in a microwave for 20 seconds helps release more juice.
1 orange, use all the finely grated zest plus the juice of the
B. Now SOAK the cleaned dried fruits in the alcohol, orange and lemon zest
plus the citrus juices, for about 4-8 hours before mixing the
Give all the fruit and liquid ingredients a big stir.
Cover the bowl with cling film or a lid.
Tip - Make sure you have a 'large' enough bowl for 70 ounces of the
Sometimes I just put all the
fruit/alcohol/juices in a closed Tupperware style container like this shown
right. Just turn it over a couple of times a day for
a few days until the right moment comes for the next stage. Having a
container lid enables you to turn the bowl upside down and stops
evaporation of the alcohol.
start this soaking in the morning and make up the recipe in the evening,
leaving the raw mix to marinate further overnight before 6 hrs of
soaking helps plump and hydrate the fruit and absorb the flavour of the
C. Prepare your basins
Butter either 4 x 1 pint pudding basins and 1 X 2
pint basin, or any other combination your prefer.
Butter your selected basins well using one of the
Line the base with a
buttered circle of greaseproof paper and then an inner band of
greaseproof paper which has been split every two inches almost to
the base. Shape it to the basin with overlaps.
Or - an easy way to do this, is to take cake liners
from a packet of mixed 'Lakeland' cake non stick paper circles, or
just cut a large circle. Then
cut small wedges from it to make it fit in the basin.
help it shape to the basin. Trim the excess paper away from
the basin top edge.
Another method is to cut
long greaseproof paper strips and lay them buttered one, by one,
across the basin in an asterisk shape.
Once your basins are prepared you can begin the
Stage 2 -
Approx 6 to 8 hours later
and Chopping - Use a large bowl and prepare the following
glace cherries halved
2 oz blanched almonds chopped
1 large raw carrot, finely grated - about 3 or 4 oz
1 large proper Bramley cooking apple, cored, peel left on and in small
cubes. Do not grate the apple. Alternatively use 2 large Granny Smith eating
5oz day old
white breadcrumbs made from a quality loaf.
breadcrumbs in a food processor using day old bread.
DO NOT USE packet coating breadcrumbs.
these ingredients with the pre-soaked fruits.
In a jug,
mix with a fork all the remaining wet ingredients.
4 medium eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons milk (or ale or stout)
1 heaped tablespoon black treacle - dip the spoon in boiling water and
dry it first to enable the treacle to slip more easily from the
Add this liquid mix into all the fruits.
all a big stir again.
large separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
Measure your spices, flour, ground almonds, suet and salt mixing
all the dry ingredients together.
8oz dark muscovado or a one third molasses and two thirds white
caster sugar mix
6oz self-raising flour
3oz ground almonds
1 rounded teaspoon mixed spice
1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
A pinch of salt.
Stir all these dry ingredients into the wet fruit mix. If your mix
seems too sturdy add a drop more milk, alcohol or ale.
Call the family to stir the pudding mix very well and
ask them to make a
your mix into your selected prepared pudding basins. Fill to within
half an inch of the top of the pudding basin.
Now cover them. Each basin must be covered
with a double layer of buttered, greaseproof paper which has a deep
pleat in its middle. This pleat enables the greaseproof paper to
expand if the pudding rise much during steaming. I generally twist
and turn my paper cover forming a rim edge. This is best
demonstrated, but you can simply use a string tie. Over that I place some pleated aluminium foil
and tie that on with some string.
It is useful to make a string
handle, but not essential. Wearing thick rubber gloves will
enable you to lift the hot puddings if needed.
At this stage I usually leave my pudding overnight
so that the flavours mature even more. The following day I
Pudding Bowls & Lids
For faster pudding bowl preparation forget about
greaseproof paper and use sealable lidded plastic pudding bowls.
Simply butter the inside surfaces of the plastic pudding bowl and
lid, then spoon in the mix to about half an inch from the top and
place on the lid. Next either cook in a steamer or place in a lidded
saucepan of boiling water with boiling water halfway up the sealed
basin. When cooked store in the same plastic bowls used for cooking
and reheat using the same bowl.
The best way to cook the puddings is by steaming
them in a proper steamer for 6 hours. Some people steam their
puddings for 7 or even 8 hours. I think 6 hours is ample time for
any pudding of 2 pints or less, especially when they are left to cool
in the pan in which they were cooked. If you decide to make 2 larger
puddings at 3 pints then steam those bigger puddings for 8 hours.
For steaming any pudding in a saucepan without a top
steamer, put an upturned saucer or plate inside a large saucepan. To
protect your pudding from water seeping inside it, I like to add another
layer of foil, but this time stand the covered pudding on a circle
of foil and bring the foil up the basin sides as far as possible.
Now sit 1 pudding on top of the upturned saucer. A slice of lemon in
the saucepan water will help prevent discoloration to your pan.
Pour boiling water into each pan to come halfway up the basin. Cover
and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 6 hours, topping up
with boiling water if necessary. Top up with boiling kettle
water regularly, so that the pan does not boil dry.
Another old fashioned method of cooking a pudding with a steamer, is
to wrap the covered pudding in a clean, square white cloth. An old
clean damask table napkin is very suitable for the purpose.
Then tie the ends of the cloth and support the basin in the saucepan
by threading either two long skewers or a wooden spoon through the
tie end handle. Rest the crossed skewers or wooden spoon across the
top of the saucepan, so that the basin hovers at the top of the hot
water. Cover the pan and keep a close eye on the boiling water, to
ensure the pan does not boil dry.
For a Darker
For a darker pudding I always leave my Christmas puddings in the steamer,
or saucepan for a further two hours without lifting off the saucepan lid.
The pudding continues to cook as the water and saucepan cools down.
The photo right shows a pale mix where treacle was
not used. To get a dark colour that mix would need steaming
for 8 hours.
It is possible to create a small steam bath in your
oven if you are very careful. I sometimes make the mini Christmas
puddings this way. The large roasting deep dish by Lakeland is a
good choice and can easily be covered with tinfoil. A chicken
roaster tin, a
large Pyrex casserole or fish kettle can also be used this way.
The photo left shows a full size 2 pint Christmas pudding prepared
for oven steaming in a casserole filled with 2 inches of boiling
water. Read more about
For the mini puddings: preheat the oven to 150C/gas
2. Place the filled tins in a deep roasting
tin or covered casserole. Next fill the vessel with boiling water
until it comes halfway up the sides. Cover the casserole/tin with
aluminium foil or a lid and bake mini puds for 4 hours, the full 2
pint pudding for 5 hours.
Leave to cool
in the oven or eat immediately!
N.B.Do not use plastic lidded bowls with the oven
Pudding Removal and Storage
I like to remove the puddings from their basins when
they are still just slightly warm. This makes the job much easier when
wrapping with 2 layers of clean fresh greaseproof wrap. When the
pudding is left in the basin to become totally cold, it is a less
easy, or pleasant task to remove it even when the basin was well
buttered. The cold greasy pudding wrappers may become more firmly
stuck to the Christmas pudding and then the job gets fiddly and
Do not omit wrapping in fresh greaseproof paper as
puddings can go mouldy if the original damp greaseproof is left on
them for more than a few days.
The following day assuming you have double
greaseproof wrapped your pudding and when the puddings are quite
cold, I wrap each pudding in a final layer of aluminium tin foil and
then put them in a freezer quality polythene bag.
Store the Christmas pudding in the fridge or a
cold place. Many of us today also have a garage fridge, and
6 well wrapped puddings can easily take up a shelf there. If you
intend to keep the puddings for a long time then feed them with
alcohol. For me what really makes the pudding flavour is the
muscovado sugar and zesty citrus lemon, whilst the texture is helped
to stay light rather than stodgy by the mix of self raising flour,
fresh white breadcrumbs and suet.
Puddings as Gifts
Cooked Christmas puddings for gifts can be titivated with
coloured tissue or holly gift wrap and bows.
Top Pudding Tip - If they are special
gifts make sure you add an instruction tag or label with reheating
information. As with all cooking and preparation you must do
as fits your own personal time schedule. I have never seen the
gift of a home made Christmas pudding in a blue freezer bag straight
from my refrigerator ever
rejected by any friend or visitor calling on me!
But you might like to add a correctly sized new
Pyrex basin to the gift, especially if it is someone who does
minimal cooking other than at festive times. A pot of Brandy
Butter or some of my
made ginger truffles could complete this home style gift.
Reheat Your Christmas Pudding
Re-steam any pudding over 1 pint in size for a minimum
of 11/2 hours preferably 2 hours. 35 minutes is
sufficient for the mini puddings.
I am not keen on Christmas
puddings being microwaved. It can be done, but the results are
not as good as re-steaming your pudding. If you must do it you
will improve the microwaving by adding 1 tablespoon of water to the
surface of the Christmas pudding. Make some holes in the
Christmas pudding using a skewer and cover the pudding with
Clingfilm (Gladwrap). Make a few holes in the film.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes, rest for 2 minutes
and then microwave 1 or 2 more minutes more according to your oven
wattage. Do not microwave the pudding for more than 5 minutes.
The sugar in it will start to burn, the fruits will overcook as they
are sugary and soon the pudding will get
For a funny story on this read the Microwave
Christmas pudding story page at
my husband's clean jokes site where you can find stories, urban
myths funny pictures and jokes suitable for your maiden aunt or
Serve Your Christmas Pudding
Simple - Decorate with holly and dust with
icing/confectioner's powdered sugar. The pudding can be served with brandy butter, Grand Marnier
butter or double cream. Sweet white sauce flavoured with
brandy is also very nice.
Crunchy - Toast some flaked almonds in a
little butter in a pan and sprinkle over the pudding. Dust
with icing sugar.
Theatrical - But the final flourish to any Christmas
pudding is the 2 or 3 tablespoons of warmed brandy poured over the pudding and ignited to burn off
the alcohol. First make sure your pudding is in a large serving dish
so the alcohol can float around the Christmas pudding.
NEXT - dim the lights in anticipation of the flambé.
For successful brandy/alcohol ignition you must
first use sufficient brandy and secondly warm your brandy lightly in a small saucepan to
aid flambéing. But do not boil the brandy. I have found 20 seconds in
the microwave is an alternative and quick method. Since flaming a
Christmas pudding can be a hazard, make sure the pudding is placed
on an ample dish. Anyone wearing hair spray or hair shine
products should stay out of
the way as this becomes a moving blue flame and hair spray does
ignite almost as easily as the flambé.
You may also use whisky just as successfully for
flambé as brandy, but instead will have a distinctive warm whisky
flavour. If you like Baileys you'll like whisky on your Christmas
The credit crunch means you may be economising and
adding to that drinks cupboard this year, making do with what it
are on an economy drive and have no grand Marnier, but have some
basic drinks in the house, try adding the zest of an orange to
a small jam jar of gin or vodka, leaving it for 2 or 3 days and then
using that instead. It is a thrifty solution.
Pouring whisky over raisins and leaving
them in a jar for a week creates a dark rum type liquor you could
also use. The soaked raisins are delicious too on plain vanilla
Non Alcoholic Citrus Squeeze
If you love citrus desserts, squeeze or skewer the
juice of a lemon or an orange over the cooked pudding and have an
extra citrus tang, but which is non alcoholic. If you have
sweet tooth add some icing sugar to the fresh citrus juice.