I’m not normally a fan of Christmas pudding, it’s too rich and too dense and solid for my liking…and I don’t like Brandy butter to boot but, many years ago my sister-in-law introduced me to the pudding she makes each year and I became a convert.
Sometimes we get together and make the pudding, along with her children and mine, sometimes L makes it and sometimes I make it. This year, pudding making duties fell to me (actually it was more like I claimed them) and a week or so before Christmas day, I could be found chopping a mountain of dried fruits and nuts.
Not quite a mountain, but this isn’t even the half of it!
Honestly, if you do everything by hand, which we always do, it does take quite a while to get all the prep work done but this pudding is SO worth it and…more than that, it’s ridiculously easy and doesn’t need to be made ages in advance. In fact, it really doesn’t matter when you make the pudding because you simply freeze it, uncooked, and when you’re ready to use it, thaw it and then steam for 5 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the pudding.
The finished pudding, doused with a ladleful of brandy and set alight (we did manage, as usual, to set a few other things on fire too).
This pudding tastes ultra-rich, moist and decadent but at the same time, with all that fresh fruit and veg, it is light and manageable. Every mouthful is bursting with gorgeous flavour and texture.
So, without further ado, here is L’s
Really, THIS is the ultimate Christmas pudding
Makes enough for 5 pints. I normally make two 2 pint and one 1 pint puddings but this year I made one 3 pint (to serve 12) and one 2 pint (to serve 4) both of which had enough for leftovers.
8oz dates (I suggest getting ones that have already been stoned) – chopped
8oz prunes (again, get ones that have been stoned) – chopped
8oz mixed soft brown sugar and white sugar
4oz blanched almonds – chopped
4oz suet (I always used vegetable suet and the pudding is none the worse for it)
8oz grated carrot (do use organic, if you can, as they really are so much more flavoursome)
7oz fresh breadcrumbs
5oz plain flour
¼ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best – even in this small quantity)
1 tsp baking powder
1 orange – grated rind and juice
2 apples – peeled and chopped
3 – 4 medium eggs
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
¼ – ½ pt stout or milk (I use stout, bien sur)
3 tbsp good rum (or, a good slosh of the stuff)
Firstly, you will need a really big mixing bowl for this. I use a large cooking pot.
Secondly, prepare your pudding bowls by lining with lightly greased greaseproof paper.
Most of the necessary ingredients (please note, none of the bowls you see in these photos turned out to be big enough – dunno why I never remember this, and I did have to resort to the cooking pot)
Sift the flour, baking powder and spices
Gorgeous smells of Christmas
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add the breadcrumbs and the suet
Add the sugar, carrots, dried fruit and nuts
Grate in the orange rind
Add the chopped apples
Break each egg separately, give a gentle whisk with a fork and add to the mixture
Add the treacle, syrup, orange juice, rum and stout or milk. Add enough of the stout/milk so that the mixture just drops off a wooden spoon.
Plop the mixture into your prepared bowls, hiding in a few cleaned and foil covered pound coins as you go, cover with greaseproof paper and foil or a lid, and freeze until ready to use.
Ta daaaa….a rather gros looking (and, at the moment, tasting) mixture
Make sure you leave enough time for the pudding to thaw (I’d leave it overnight) and steam for around 5/6 hours, depending on the size of pudding.
Serve however you wish, this year one of the puddings was served with Brandy butter and cream and the other was served with Rum butter. Nom nom nom, as they say.
The pudding can certainly be left in the freezer for a year or so but equally, you can make it and then cook and serve – there is absolutely no need to make ahead. Sorry Stir it up Sunday.