Christmas pudding

Makes one pudding
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Indy Lifestyle Online

It isn't too late to make a Christmas pudding but it is necessary to get a move on; they are best if the flavours have time to marry – so why not make two, as they keep for a year or so?

Makes one pudding

250g/8oz raisins, chopped

250g/8oz sultanas

250g/8oz currants

60g/21/2oz candied peel

4 tbsp Armagnac

250g/8oz unsalted butter

Grated rind of one lemon and one orange

375g/12oz soft brown sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

125g/4oz finely chopped almonds

1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, salt and bicarbonate of soda

250g/8oz plain flour

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

Place the raisins, sultanas, currants and peel in a bowl and steep in the Armagnac overnight. The following day, cream the butter along with the lemon and orange rind, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the macerated fruit. Mix well, then stir through the chopped almonds, spices and salt. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Finally, add the breadcrumbs. Form into a ball and wrap in pudding cloth (either unbleached calico or layers of muslin) and secure tightly at the top with string.

Steam over a saucepan of boiling water for six hours. Add more water if necessary. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool completely. Cover with fresh cloth and wrap in foil.

On Christmas Day, place the securely wrapped pudding into a saucepan of boiling water and cook for two-and-a-half hours. Serve piping hot alongside the brandy butter.

Or, if you prefer, use a pudding basin – in which case, spoon the mixture into the basin and seal with parchment paper and a pudding cloth before steaming.

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