Excuse the poor picture. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a good pic of a Christmas pudding. They’re either busy phut-phuting away on the stove all wrapped up or being gobbled up by Christmas hoards. This one I steamed in the slow cooker and it’s now cooling nicely to be stowed away until the big day. It’s a delicious recipe I have adapted so many times to suit what’s in my cupboard. So if you don’t have almonds, then use hazelnuts, if you prefer dried figs, chop them up and add them. Just do what suits you and your family.
- 570g raisins and dried cranberries
- 190g whole glacé cherries
- 50g flaked almonds
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 medium apple, grated
- 75ml Frangelico
- 85ml Grand Marnier
- 175g dark muscovado sugar
- 175g fresh wholemeal or white breadcrumbs
- 125g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 175g frozen butter, plus more for greasing, unfrozen
- 2 large eggs
Place the butter in the freezer the night before. Mix the fruit, almonds, lemon zest and the apple with the Frangelico and Grand Marnier in a large saucepan, heat gently over a low heat, stirring until the fruit looks plump and the liquid has absorbed. Add the sugar, breadcrumbs, flour and spices and stir well. Grate in the butter, add the eggs and stir well.
Grease a 2 litre pudding basin with butter and line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper. Spoon the mixture into the basin and then make an indent in the middleusing a spoon. Cut a circle from non stick greaseproof paper and add this as a hat. Lay a large piece of tin foil on the counter top, then lay a piece of non stick baking paper on top of the foil. Make a 3cm wide pleat with the two sheets then place over the pudding bowl, tin foil on the outside, with the pleat crossing the middle of the bowl. Tie string around the rim to secure it and then tie the two ends together to make a handle. Trim the foil and baking paper until there’s a small overhang of just 3cm.
To steam on the stove: Pop an upturned saucer into a large saucepan, put the pudding on top, then top up with boiling water to halfway and and steam for 6 hours. You must keep checking to make sure the pudding doesn’t boil dry – top up with more water as and when.
To steam in the oven: Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3, stand the pudding basin in a roasting tin filled with water, then cover with a tent of foil and allow to steam for 6 hours. Check every hour or so that the tin hasn’t steamed dry.
To slow cook: Preheat the slow cooker to high and add boiling water to a depth of about 4cm. Cover and allow to come to a simmer. Once simmering pop the pudding into the water so that is only comes half way up, add the lid and let it steam away for 9 hours on high. Top the water up halfway through if needed.
When the pudding is completely cool, remove the foil and baking paper (but not the disc added as a hat) and re-cover with fresh foil and parchment, again securing with string. Store in a cool dark place, like under the bed of the spare room, for up to a year. Do make a note of where you put it!
To heat on the day simply steam for an hour using the slow cooker, the hob or the oven. I like mine with custard but brandy butter is very easy to make and reliably popular. To serve flaming, take a look here.
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