As it is the 2nd November, Halloween is safely out of the way there’s only one thing on my mind- CHRISTMAS!
I know some of you will be reading this thinking “oh goodness no! it’s far too early for this!” but in reality, November is the month when all the prep happens from making your cakes and puddings, to writing lists and organising get-togethers.
Over the next month, I have teamed up with a lovely bunch of people from near and far to talk all things Christmas and to help you get in the mood!
Like many of you, I love Christmas pudding. I always have, and always will. The key to a good pudding is all in the prep work and really there is no better recipe to follow than Delia Smith’s. The sooner you get your fruit soaked the better.
- 3oz (75g) shredded suet
- 3/4oz (20g) mixed chopped peel
- 3/4oz (20g) blanched almonds, finely chopped
- 1 small Bramley cooking apple (5oz/150g)
- grated zest of 1/2 medium orange
- grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 11/2 tablespoons rum or brandy
- 2fl oz (55ml) barleywine
- 2fl oz (55ml) stout
- 2 medium eggs
- 11/2oz (40g) self-raising flour
- 3oz (75g) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 3/4 level teaspoon mixed spice
- good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- good pinch ground cinnamon
- 6oz (175g) soft dark brown sugar
- 3oz (75g) sultanas
- 3oz (75g) raisins
- 7oz (200g) currants
About a week before you want to make the pudding, you should soak your dried fruits in an alcohol of your choice- I prefer to use a nice dark spiced rum or brandy for this.
Fast forward one week (the day before you steam your pudding)…
In a large mixing bowl, mix the suet, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Next gradually add your soaked fruit, mixed peel, nuts, diced apple and grated orange and lemon zest.
top tip: tick off all the ingredients so you don’t leave anything out!
In a smaller bowl measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together.
note the alcohol in the ingredients is not the amount of alcohol used to soak your fruit.
Once mixed add this to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl and mix thoroughly. Growing up my mum always let me have a stir of the mix- apparently it’s some sort of tradition to let all the family members have a stir.
After mixing everything together don’t worry if it resembles a big pile of sloppy mess- this is good! If it doesn’t fall instantly from the spoon when gently tapped add a little more stout until the mixture can easily fall from the spoon.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
The next day…
Start by stirring in the sifted flour, ensure this is mixed well through. Next, take the mixture and pack it into a lightly greased pudding bowl.
this recipe is best steamed in a 11/2 pint pudding basin.
Cover it with a double sheet of baking parchment and a sheet of tin foil and tie it securely with string. It’s also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle.
watch how to tie your pudding here
Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours. (or until it is fully cooked)
if you don’t have a steamer set- you can put a small saucer top down in the base of your deep saucepan, place your pudding on top of the saucer and fill the saucepan with simmering (make sure to keep the water topped up so your pan doesn’t burn)
When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring.
Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light.
To cook: Follow the step you used to steam the pudding, but this time it will only take 2-3 hours and don’t forget to check the water level from time to time.
And so there you go, my bulletproof Christmas pudding that will get everyone talking!