I have always loved Christmas pudding and the aromas that fill the kitchen when cooking, really get you into the festive spirit. I decided to create my own recipe packed with dried fruit I love to eat as I am not a fan of mixed peel. This pudding can be made a few days before Christmas but ideally is best made in advance. The flavours mature over time -if well wrapped up and stored in a cool dark place- it will keep for a year. Simply add teaspoon of brandy once a month to ensure it doesn’t dry out. I sometimes double up the recipe and make one for the following year – that’s planning in advance! This recipe is vegetarian and can also be dairy free substituting the butter for a dairy free baking spread. My time saving tip is to cook in the microwave but if you prefer you can steam in the traditional way.
Makes 2 puddings (each serving 6- 8 people)
- 200g (7oz) fresh brown breadcrumbs
- 125g (4.5oz) dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 115g (4oz) currants
- 75g (2.5oz) raisins
- 80g (2.8oz) prunes, roughly chopped
- 50g (1.8oz) dried cranberries
- 50g (1.8oz) dried blueberries
- 70g (2.5oz) pecans, roughly chopped
- 115g( 4oz) dark muscovado sugar
- 115g (4oz) chilled butter, grated using a coarse grater( or dairy free baking spread)
- finely grated zest and juice of an orange
- finely grated zest and juice of a lemon
- 1 eating apple, cored and chopped (I use Coxes)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 100ml (3.5 fl oz) porter or stout ( I used Shotover Brewing Co. Black Porter but Guinness works well too)
- 50ml (1.8 fl oz) cold water
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- Mix the fruit, breadcrumbs, sugar, salt & spices
- Add the butter and mix thoroughly
- Add the zests, orange & lemon juice, porter, water, brandy and rum
- Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly
- Grease two 1.5 litre (2.6 pint) pudding basins
- Fill almost to rim leaving 2 cm (0.8 inch) gap
If time, put in the fridge overnight before cooking
Cover with cling film and pierce film several times. Put on a microwavable plate and microwave each pudding for about 12 minutes on full power. I suggest cook for 3 minutes, then allow to stand for 2 minutes, then repeat four times. Check that the centre is cooked using a skewer, the texture should be slightly firm but still moist.
Cover each pudding with a large square of greaseproof paper that covers and overlaps top. Then cover with large square of foil that overlaps. Tie tightly with string with long ends to tie into a loop to form a handle. Stand puddings in a large deep pan and pour boiling water around them until half way up. Cover the pan and boil for 7 hours, regularly topping up the water.
Leave to cool, put a circle of greaseproof paper on the top and wrap tightly in cling film. Store in a cool dry, dark place. If making in advance check every month and add 2 teaspoons of brandy and re wrap.
Microwave for 2-3 minutes on full power or steam for 2 hours.
To serve, place pudding on a large plate. Heat 3 tablespoons brandy until warm, pour over the pudding and flame.
Flaming and fabulous Christmas pudding – the festive finale.