Having never made a Christmas pudding, I was thrilled to find out how easy it is. It was just a matter of allowing plenty of time for the ingredients to soak and having the time to steam the pudding. Get motivated in November to make your Christmas pudding to have it mature in time for Christmas.
Preparation time: 48 hours
Cooking time: 5 – 6 hours
Makes 1 x 1.2 litre/2 pint pudding
350g mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, sultanas)
100g pitted ready-to-eat prunes, chopped
100g/ brown sugar
4 tbsp dark rum
100g chopped walnuts
100g ground almonds
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g plain flour
100g frozen butter, grated, plus a little extra for greasing
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
100g chopped glacé cherries
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
Combine the mixed fruit, prunes, sugar, rum and stout in a mixing bowl. Stir well, cover and leave for 24 hours to soak.
After 24 hours, mix the walnuts, almonds, ground almonds, breadcrumbs, flour, butter, spices, cherries and eggs along with the soaked fruit mixture in a large mixing bowl. Include all the soaking liquor from the soaked fruit. Mix well until completely combined. Cover with cling film and leave to stand in a cool place for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, grease a 1.2 litre pudding bowl with butter. Cut a circle of baking paper and place into the bottom of the pudding bowl. Grease it with a little more butter. Spoon the pudding mixture into the pudding bowl, pressing it down as you add it.
Fold a pleat into the middle of a large piece of baking paper and place over the pudding. Cover with a large piece of pleated foil, ensuring the pleats are on top of one another. Secure tightly with kitchen string tied under the lip of the pudding bowl.
Now to steam the pudding. Place an upturned saucer into a large saucepan one-quarter full of water. Fold a long piece of foil into quarters lengthways to create a long strip and place the pudding basin in the middle of the strip. Bring the sides of the strip up the sides of the pudding bowl and lower into the saucepan. Ensure the water in the saucepan comes one-third of the way up the side of the pudding bowl, but nowhere near the top of the bowl. Leave the ends of the foil strip hanging over the side to make it easy to remove the pudding later.
Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently for 5-6 hours, topping up the water level as necessary throughout cooking (do not allow the pan to dry out).
Once the pudding is cooked, remove from the pan and set aside to cool. The pudding can be stored for up to two years in a cool, dry place.
To serve, reheat the pudding by steaming again for approx. two hours Alternatively, remove the foil and reheat in the microwave.