One of my favourite parts about the holidays are the unique traditions you build with your friends and family year over year. From Christmas Eve plans to Christmas morning rituals, traditions are undoubtedly a fundamental part of the holidays for most of us. In my family, food traditions hold just as high of an importance as any other holiday custom. In particular, the English Christmas pudding has been enjoyed for many years in my household.
Take a look at the recipe below for traditional Christmas pudding to see what I will be eating this Christmas Day!
Traditional Christmas Pudding
*Services 10-12 people
- 110g shredded suet *NOTE: Suet grosses us out, so we replace it with butter*
- 110g white breadcrumbs
- 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
- ¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Good pinch ground cinnamon
- 225g soft dark brown sugar
- 110g sultanas
- 110g raisins
- 275g currants
- 25g whole candied peel, finely chopped
- 25g whole almonds chopped (skin on is OK)
- 1 small cooking apple cored and finely chopped (no need to peel)
- Grated zest ½ large navel orange
- Grated zest ½ large lemon
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 75ml barley wine
- 75ml stout
- 2 large eggs
- 50g self-raising flour, sifted
Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding.
Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests.
Next in a smaller basin, measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together.
Next, pour this over all the other ingredients and begin to mix very thoroughly.
The mixture should have a fairly liquid consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Next day stir in the sifted flour quite thoroughly, then pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double layer of baking parchment and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really 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 filled with simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours.
Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water straight from the kettle about halfway through the time. When the pudding is steamed, let it get quite cold, then remove the baking parchment and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easy manoeuvring.
Now your Christmas pudding is ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light.
On Christmas Day: 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 for 2hrs 15 mins. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.
When you are ready to serve the pudding, remove from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all around the pudding and turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top. Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat and, as soon as the brandy is hot, turn out the flame and ask someone to set light to the brandy using a long match.
Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding - but don't pour it over until you reach the table (if you don't have a gas hob, warm the brandy in a small saucepan). When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all. When the flames have died down, serve the pudding with Brown Sugar Brandy Butter and whipped cream.
If you have any left over, it will reheat beautifully, wrapped in foil, in the oven next day.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas! XO Juliette