If you haven’t already made your Christmas Puddings then Sunday the 24th of November is the time to do it, the last Sunday before the start of Advent and traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday.
Here is a fail safe recipe for a lovely moist, boozy pudding!
600g mixed dried fruit and nuts. I use roughly 500g of mixed dried fruits (predominately raisins, sultanas and currants with a few cranberries, sour cherries and a good handful of glace cherries). For the nuts I usually use nibbed almonds.
500ml bottle of Guinness
200g shredded suet (proper beef is best, you can use vegetarian of course)
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 medium cooking apples grated
freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
250g muscavado sugar
75g plain flour
3 medium eggs beaten
Soak the fruit for at least 24 hours in the alcohol (if you don’t want to use alcohol then you could use tea and orange juice)
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Get the whole family to give it a stir and make a wish at the same time (my wish is that the pudding turns out ok!)
Grease a large pudding bowl and a few smaller ones (ideal for giving away to friends, family and neighbours), pour the pudding mixture into the bowls leaving an inch from the top.
Cover the mixture with a circle of greaseproof paper. cover the bowl with tinfoil (with a pleat in it to allow for the pudding to expand) and then place in a large pan on a trivet with a folded strip of tin foil underneath to allow you to lift the pudding out. Pour water into the pan to come up 2/3 of the way up the pudding basin.
Put the pan on to boil. When boiling turn down to a simmer and cover the pan. A large pudding will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook (test with a skewer, the skewer wants to come out clean). I usually take the pan off the heat but leave the pudding in the water for an hour just to make sure the pudding is evenly cooked through.
Lift the pudding out of the water and set aside to cool. Once cool I take the pudding out of the basin, wrap in greaseproof paper, then cling film and then tin foil. I then put in a spare cool box where it stays until the big day.
On the day you are eating having the pudding it can either be put back in the basin it was cooked in and boiled again for an hour to heat up or it can be microwaved in short bursts (a couple of minutes at a time leaving a minute in between).
To serve place the pudding on a heatproof plate. Pour a couple tablespoons of Brandy into a ladle and gently heat over a low flame. Once the Brandy starts to shimmer pour over the pudding and light with a match.
Remember to have a bucket of water and fire extinguisher on hand… just in case!
P.S try slices of leftover pudding fried in butter for breakfast… Fantastic!