The festive lunch deserves a Christmas pudding to be proud of, so make this the year you make your own. After all, it’s the blazing star of the show.
You will need
- Vegetarian suet 225g
- Self- raising flour 110g
- White breadcrumbs 225g, grate your own or use ready bought
- Mixed spice 2 tsp
- Nutmeg 1tsp
- Cinnamon 1tsp, ground – for the best flavour, grind a cinnamon stick
- Soft brown sugar 450g
- Mixed fruit 1kg – this should be a mix of sultanas, raisins and currants
- Candied lemon peel 50g
- Almonds 50g, blanched, skinned and chopped
- Apples 2, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- Orange and lemon rind grated from one of each fruit
- Eggs 4
- Brandy 4 tbsp
- Stout 300ml
- Put the suet, flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar in a large mixing bowl, mixing in each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next.
- Gradually mix in all the dried fruit, candied peel and nuts, followed by the apple, and orange and lemon rind.
- In a smaller bowl beat the eggs, then add the brandy and stout to them.
- Pour this liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir very thoroughly until everything is well covered. This is where you can give everyone a stir and a wish. The mixture should fall from the spoon when tapped against the side of the bowl, so if it’s too dry to do this, add a dash more stout to get the correct consistency.
- Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave overnight.
- The following day, grease your pudding basins and pack the mixture right to the top. Cover each basin with a circle of grease-proof paper and cover with a tea towel on top. Tie some string around the rim of the bowl to hold the cloth in place and bring the corners up to create “rabbits ears”. Alternatively you can just cover with paper and make a string handle to help you lift the basin out of the hot steaming saucepan.
- Place the basin in a steamer or on an upturned saucer in a large saucepan with a lid, with a couple of inches of water in the bottom and the lid on. Steam the puddings for 8 hours. Keep the water topped up as necessary.
- When the puddings have finished steaming, refresh the paper and cloth with fresh ones and store in a cool dry place until Christmas Day, when they’ll need a further two hours steaming before serving.
- Feed the puddings every couple of weeks with a dash of brandy if you want to make it even boozier.