Hearing Christmas tunes or seeing decorations in October does not float my boat but this is the month when we get the Christmas Pudding started and that gets me really excited. The reason you make it so early is so that the flavours can deepen and you can gradually feed it some extra booze before the big day so you get a darkly rich and flammable pud. There’s nothing complicated about making a Christmas Pudding, just make sure you get all your ingredients together before you start so you can tick them off the list as you go.
I love food traditions so everyone has to stir the pudding mix and make a wish. Evelynne takes the wish business very seriously whereas Hen mostly wishes for remote controlled cars. Any interaction with food layers up a child’s confidence and experience with food so this tradition is well worth doing.
110g vegetable suet
30g candied peel
225g dark brown sugar
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cooking apple
zest of an orange
zest of a lemon
25g whole almonds
2 large eggs
2 tbsp rum
50g self raising flour
You will also need at least a 1.2 litre pudding basin, greaseproof paper, foil and string
- In the largest mixing bowl you have add the suet, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar then mix thoroughly.
- Roughly chop the almonds and add them to the bowl along with the dried fruits and candied peel then mix thoroughly.
- Core and chop the apple (no need to peel) then zest the orange and lemon and add to the bowl then mix thoroughly.
- In a smaller bowl whisk together the eggs, stout and rum then pour over the mixture and stir thoroughly.
- Sift the flour over the mixture then stir in thoroughly. Grease the pudding basin then press the mixture into the bowl.
- Get two sheets of greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil and place over the pudding basin. Leaving about 60cm of excess string (to form the handle at the end) tie the string around ensuring it’s under the lip of the basin.
- Once the string has been tied around the basin twice double up the excess string and loop it over the basin to make a handle. The handle is useful when you need to handle it after it’s cooked.
- Trim off the excess of the foil and greaseproof. Place a heatproof bowl at the bottom of a large stock pot then put the pudding basin on top.
- Fill the pot with water until it’s up to the bottom of the basin. Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer and steam for 6 hours. Set a timer to check on the water level every 30 minutes. Keep the water topped up to the bottom of the basin.
- Store the pudding in a cool place. You can feed the pudding with a little rum or brandy once a month if you like.
- On the big day steam the Christmas Pudding for 2 hours in the same way as before then turn out onto a plate. Pour over a little brandy then set alight and serve with custard, brandy butter, cream or ice cream. It’s magnificent the next day cold.