How to make the perfect Christmas pudding

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If you’re a lover of Christmas desserts, you must try this traditional Christmas pudding recipe.

The difference between Christmas cake and Christmas pudding
While they are similar in that they both contain brandy, flour, sugar and dried fruit, they are not the same. Christmas cake is a rich fruit cake, baked in the oven and covered with marzipan and royal icing. It’s best made about six weeks before it’s ready to be eaten and is ‘fed’ with brandy once a week before it’s decorated.

A Christmas pudding, however, is a steamed suet pudding, not baked, but cooked in a bowl above simmering water without much ‘crumb’ to it. You can make it up to a year in advance to allow it to mature and it tastes best after being flambéed.

So, try this recipe if you fancy giving a homemade Christmas pud a crack this year.

Makes one family sized pudding in an 18cm pudding basin

Ingredients

  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 120g shredded vegetable suet
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 120g grated apple
  • 120g glace cherries, halved
  • 120g currants
  • 350g raisins
  • 120g sultanas
  • 120g chopped dried apricots
  • 2tbsp chopped stem ginger in syrup
  • 2tsp orange extract
  • Zest of 1 fresh lemon
  • 2 tablespoons black treacle
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175ml brandy

Method
1. Mix all ingredients together in one large bowl. Stir well and leave to mature overnight in the fridge.

2. The next day, fill your pudding basin with the mix, pressing down to level out the top. Cover with a piece of baking parchment and foil and tie securely and tightly over the top of the basin with string.

3. Place the pudding in a large pan and fill with boiling water, the water should come around three-quarters of the way up the pudding basin.

4. Simmer for eight hours, keeping an eye on the water and topping up the level at regular intervals.

5. Once cooked, cool and add fresh parchment and foil to the basin, tie and store until Christmas Day.

6. When ready to eat, heat by simmering for a minimum of two hours.

7. To serve, pour a generous glug of warmed brandy all over the pudding and set alight.

Food company Dr Oetker offers these tips to create a traditional Christmas pudding …
1. Each family member should take turns stirring the mix, making a Christmas wish as they do.

2. Put a silver coin in your pudding before you leave it to mature – its good luck for whoever finds it on Christmas Day! Just mind your teeth.

3. Don’t skip soaking your pudding – to achieve a fuller flavour, soaking your mix overnight makes all the difference

4. Replace the usual caster sugar with dark or brown sugars like muscovado to give your Christmas pudding a richer flavour of caramel.

5. Make sure the eggs you use are at room temperature rather than fresh out of the fridge, to avoid curdling.

6. After your pudding has been steamed store for four weeks.

7. If you want to be really traditional, store your maturing Christmas pud under the bed – the perfect cool, dry place.

8. Gently warm the brandy to serve so you don’t burn all of the alcohol away.

Tips and recipe courtesy of Dr Oetker and Juliet Sear.

Do you prefer Christmas pudding or Christmas cake? What do you serve with yours?

– With PA

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