I am a very big fan of all things Christmas and particularly love baking at this time of year. I get a chance to overindulge in my favourite activity and eat a lot of fruity goodies.
I love Christmas cake and have found my ultimate recipe which I make every year. Mince pies are next on the list and I’ve stumbled on an exciting variation to this classic.
Pudding has always been my stepmother’s domain and as a child my grandmother Betty used to make it. I have the fondest memories of eating way too many portions in order to dig out the silver charms or silver tickies that she buried in the pudding.
This year I made my own using a recipe by Michael Olivier’s aunt. Michael is a very special person to me and is the editor of the wonderful online magazine ‘Crush’, which if you haven’t subscribed to yet you should. It’s totally free, totally fabulous, and gets mailed directly to your inbox once a month. Check out the link here and take a few seconds to fill in your details.
Michael featured this recipe for his aunt Muriel’s traditional Christmas pudding in issue 14 of Crush and having seen the small and expensive mass-produced supermarket offerings recently, I think its a really good idea to make your own.
Here is the recipe just in time to make for your Christmas celebration. It makes one really big pudding or two smaller to medium ones. I made this over a month ago and have been storing it in a cool place and feeding it with a few tots of brandy every 10 days or so. Its the way I like it.
- 250g stale brown breadcrumbs [insides only not crusts]
- 200g each seedless raisins, currants, sultanas (I couldn’t find currents so just used raisins & sultanas)
- 80g chopped glacé pineapple
- 80g glacé cherries
- 250g soft brown sugar
- 100g blanched almonds roughly chopped
- 1 large Granny Smith apple grated with the skin on
- finely grated zest and rind of one lemon and one orange
- 100g candied grapefruit peel or mixed citrus peel
- 1 tsp of mixed spices made up of a little ground clove, freshly grated nutmeg, ground ginger and ground allspice
- 4 Tbs brown or wholewheat flour
- 100ml brandy
- 250g vegetable suet (I used grated butter)
- 4 large eggs.
Prepare a large pot of water with a trivet in it for steaming. Grease well with butter a 2 litre pudding steamer. Put a disc of greaseproof paper on the bottom of the bowl and dust the bowl out with cake flour. Have ready a circle of greaseproof paper cut to cover the top of the pudding and butter the side which will go next to the pudding, and a sheet with which to cover the pudding with a fold in the middle for expansion. Have handy a piece of mutton cloth or unbleached calico to cover the bowl and a length of twine with which to tie it on (I covered tightly in 2 layers of tin foil and then used string). In a large earthenware bowl and using a wooden spoon add the ingredients one by one mixing well between each addition. This should fill the pudding bowl to just below the rim. Place the circle of greaseproof on it butter side down, cover with the sheet of greaseproof and the cloth which you tie down with the string leaving a loop on it for ease of lifting the pudding in and out of the pot. Steam the pudding in simmering water for 5 hours taking care to add boiling water during the steaming to prevent the pot from boiling dry. When cooked, wrap the whole pudding in greaseproof paper and keep in a cool place – or at the bottom of the fridge – until Christmas day when you will need to boil it again for 2 hours during which time it will get quite dark.
If you make 2 smaller puddings, the first steam will only need to be 3 hours.
I loved making this and can’t wait for Christmas to douse in brandy (or vodka which burns more effectively), set it alight and eat it with friends and family. Serve with brandy butter or runny custard.
Thank you for sharing this Michael!