Matt's Recipe Book

Christmas pudding

Prep time30 minutes (plus one week of soaking)
Cooking time5 hours in advance, plus 3 hours before serving

This is a pretty straightforward christmas pudding recipe that I think originated with Delia. I usually end up including a lot of nuts, which I think is actually pretty unusual for a traditional pudding – but after all, you can basically include anything you want.

I usually end up scaling the recipe up two of three times and making a whole bunch of puddings, because it's great to give them away to friends and collegues. Plus the recipe changes every year – that's part of the fun! You maybe want to start this recipe about 6 months before Christmas day to give the pudding time to mature and develop some complex flavours.

The dried fruits and nuts are usually a mixture of:

  • Currants
  • Sultanas
  • Chopped prunes
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mixed chopped peel
  • Glacé cherries
  • Blanched almonds
  • Pecans
  • Blanched hazelnuts

I usually soak it in something quite strong – over the years I've settled on a mixture of cheap brandy and Pedro Ximinez sherry. I also usually include a can of Irn-Bru and a glass of Buckfast, because I'm classy.


  • Large 1.7L pudding basin with a lid
  • Pan large enough to the pudding basin
  • Aluminium foil


  • 500g dried fruit and nuts
  • 1000ml Soaking liquid (brandy, sherry, port etc.)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 125g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 125g suet (or vegetable equivalent)
  • 150g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 grated medium apple


  1. First, soak the fruits and nuts. Place everything into a large bowl, cover with the liquid, and stir thoroughly. Cover and leave in a dark, cool place for about a week, topping up with liquid if needed.
  2. After the fruit has soaked enough, it's time to cook the pudding. Start a pot of water boiling, large enough to hold the pudding basin you're using, and make sure the basin is throughly greased with a bit of butter.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, including the steeped fruit – making sure you get all of the liquid. Mix thoroughly, then press the mixture down into the prepared pudding basin. Wrap the top with a greased sheet of foil, then place the lid tighly on top.
  4. Place the pudding in the pan and steam for 5 hours. The water should be about halfway up the side of the basin; make sure to check it frequently to avoid it boiling dry (I once ruined a pudding by not doing this, so be careful!).
  5. After steaming, remove from the pan, set aside to cool, then remove the foil and store the basin out of the way until Christmas.
  6. On the day itself, wrap the pudding in foil again and steam for another three hours.
  7. To serve, remove fromt he pan, remove the lid and unwrap, then place a plate on top, turn the basin upside down and give it a little squeeze.
  8. You can decorate this in different ways. I like to stick a bit of holly on top, or you can gently caramelise some half-slices of orange and arrange artfully around the base.