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So That Was Christmas

Ma’s Christmas Pud a la Georgina Campbell

christmas pudding

Oh, there’s a bit of time and effort involved here but, hey, it’s only once a year… Plus these puddings can be made weeks or even months in advance if you like, covered and stored in a cool dark place and then reheated on the day.

The Fruit And Nuts:
  • 350g raisins
  • 225g currants
  • 225g sultanas
  • 100g glace cherries, halved
  • 100g candied peel, finely chopped
  • 75g blanched slivered almonds
  • 1 good sized carrot (about 185g), scraped and coarsely grated
  • 1 large Bramley apple (175-225g), peeled and finely chopped or coarsely grated
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
The Dry Ingredients:
  • 400g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 225g demerara sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp finely grated nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 0.25 tsp ground cloves
The Liquids:
  • 225g shredded suet or margarine, melted and cooled a little
  • Juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 2 tblsps black treacle
  • 100ml whiskey or rum or brandy
  • 4 eggs, lightly whisked
You’ll also need:
  • 2 x 1 litre pudding basins
Day 1:
  • In a large bowl, mix all of the prepared fruit and nuts with the dry ingredients and the grated lemon and orange zest.
  • Warm the treacle slightly in the microwave or small pan to make it runny and add the orange and lemon juice, whiskey/rum/brandy, melted suet/margarine and lightly beaten eggs.
  • Mix the liquids well, add to the fruit mixture and stir to mix thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a cool place overnight – the mixture will thicken.
Day 2:
  • Butter the 2 pudding basins and put a disc of buttered greaseproof paper or baking parchment in the base of each. Also prepare buttered double greaseproof circles about 10cm bigger than the top of the bowls (enough to catch and hold under the rim of the bowl with string).
  • Give the pudding mixture a good stir, spoon into the prepared bowls, tap sharply on the worktop to eliminate air pockets and smooth down the top of the mixture. Lay over the larger greaseproof circles and tie down firmly with good string. Allow enough string for a handle, if possible, as this will make it easier and safer to handle while hot later on. Top off the pudding bowls with a piece of foil big enough to tuck under the rim and cook by one of the following methods:
  • To Boil: Stand puddings on trivets in deep saucepans; pour in enough boiling water to come 2/3 of the way up the sides; cover tightly and boil for 5-6 hours making sure that the water never goes off the boil and topping up regularly with boiling water to keep up a level at least half way up the bowl.
  • To Oven Steam: Preheat an oven to 150C and stand the puddings in a deep roasting tin; ¾ fill with boiling water; then cover completely with foil to prevent steam escaping. Cook for about 6 hours or overnight, reducing the temperature to 140C if it will be left unattended for more than 6 hours.
  • To Pressure Cook: Stand each pudding on a trivet in a pressure cooker and fill about 1 litre of boiling water. Cook on high heat without pressure for 30 minutes, then bring up to pressure and cook for 2 hours.
Day of Eating:
  • Reheat the puddings when required by steaming/boiling for a further 2-3 hours or in a pressure cooker, for 20 minutes without pressure and then 45 minutes under pressure.
  • Just before serving, douse with some whiskey or brandy, set alight and allow to burn briefly.
  • Quench the alcohol-induced flames, slice and serve with brandy butter, cream or both (it’s Christmas, after all!)