|Prep time||30 minutes (plus one week of soaking)|
|Cooking time||5 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:
- Chopped prunes
- Mixed chopped peel
- Glacé cherries
- Blanched almonds
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!).
- After steaming, remove from the pan, set aside to cool, then remove the foil and store the basin out of the way until Christmas.
- On the day itself, wrap the pudding in foil again and steam for another three hours.
- 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.
- 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.