How to make a Traditional Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding, Plum Pudding or Figgy Pudding – you simply cannot have a Christmas Dinner without the traditional dessert! It has a long history dating back to Roman times, and the recipe I am sharing with you today was passed to me by my mum. It has never let me down!
During the Middle Ages the Christmas pudding was known as a mince pie, and had a meat filling. Later on, apples, lemons and oranges, raisins and sugar were added. Because raisins were known as plums, the Christmas pudding was also called Plum Pudding. You will, of course, be familiar with the name Figgy Pudding – who hasn’t sung “Now bring us some figgy pudding”, when carol singing as a child? Figgy pudding usually contains figs instead of raisins.
The recipe I am sharing with you is made with fruit and not meat! I’ve changed the quantities as my mum’s recipe made four Christmas puddings, and as each pudding serves between 8 and 10, that’s quite a lot of Christmas pudding to eat – even though they keep.
- 1kg Mixed Dried Fruit
- 125g Almonds
- 125g Candied Peel
- 125g Glace Cherries
- Grated Rind of 2 Oranges
- Grated Rind of 2 Lemons
- 375g Plain Flour
- 185g Breadcrumbs
- 375g Suet
- 250g Caster Sugar
- 0.25 tsp Salt
- 2tsp Cocoa
- 5 tsp Grated Nutmeg
- 5 tsp Mixed Spice
- 5 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 5 Eggs
- 150ml Brandy
- Milk to mix
- 1 tbsp Black Treacle
My wife, Jane, doesn’t like candied peel so I omit the peel from the recipe and add extra dried fruit (1125g mixed dried fruit).
1. Grease and flour 2 basins (850 ml).
2. Put all dried ingredients into a mixing bowl.
3. Chop the almonds, candied peel & cherries & mix in with the dried ingredients.
4. Add the grated rind of the oranges & lemons, & mix.
5. In a separate bowl beat the eggs lightly & then add to the mixture, stirring in well.
6. Stir in the brandy & add sufficient milk to give a stiff dropping consistency.
(As a child I remember stirring the Christmas pudding with other family members. I was told to make a wish whilst stirring – I cannot remember if any of my wishes came true! These days I use my Kenwood Chef as my children are away at University).
7. Spoon in the treacle to colour the mixture, stirring well.
(An age-old custom is to put a silver coin in the Christmas pudding. It was meant to bring a year of good luck to whoever found the coin. When my mother in law was newly married she found a silver threepenny bit in her serving of Christmas pudding. She kept the coin and later had it made into a ring. The closest coin nowadays would be the five pence piece – not quite the same!!).
8. Three quarters fill the prepared basins
& cover with greaseproof paper or foil. (If you fold the greaseproof paper or foil, as shown, this will allow the pudding to have sufficient room to rise).
9. Steam the puddings for 7-8 hours.
10.Allow to cool & store in the fridge or larder until required.
11.The day the pudding is required, steam it for a further 6 hours.
Most pictures you see of a Christmas pudding have it decorated with a sprig of holly on top. This is a reminder of Jesus’ Crown of Thorns. It is also tradition to pour brandy over the pudding and set light to it, and this is said to represent Jesus’ love and power.
What to serve with Christmas Pudding
Unless you’re like my brother in law who likes evaporated milk, I would suggest either Brandy/Rum Sauce or Custard or Double/Clotted Cream.
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