Traditional British Christmas Pudding
This Christmas dessert is a must have at the end of a proper Christmas meal. Sticky, fruity and indulgently sweet, with a dark and complex flavor from the brandy or rum it’s soaked in. To Americans this will sound more like a fruitcake than the pudding they’re used to, and it’s definitely a delightfully different experience.
Overall this dessert is deceptively simple, with little hands-on preparation. We recommend making it a few weeks in advance if possible to give the pudding more time to soak the brandy and steep in the flavors.
Traditional British Christmas Pudding
- large bottle dark rum brandy, to soak the dried fruit
- 220 g dried raisins
- 220 g dried sultanas
- 120 g dried currants
- 225 g fresh brown breadcrumbs
- 60 g desiccated coconut
- 120 g roughly chopped mixed candied peel
- 60 g self raising flour
- 220 g beef suet or vegetable suet
- 150 g dark brown sugar
- ½ grated nutmeg
- ½ heaped teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 142 ml whole fat milk
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 wine glass of dark rum
- Begin a couple of days in advance, by chopping the dried fruit. Place them together with a sufficient amount of dark rum or brandy and allow them to soak. A week would be ideal for the fruit to properly absorb the alcohol.
- Drain the rum into a separate glass by using a strainer co catch any fruit. Set the fruit aside.
- Make the fresh breadcrumbs by adding a piece of brown bread in the blender and blitzing until crumbs form. Transfer the crumbs to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon. Don't be afraid to 'give it some welly' as the English say!
- In a large saucepan, place an old saucer on the bottom to protect the bowl from cracking. Fill the saucepan with water up to about halfway up the basin and bring to a boil.
- Next, prepare two pudding bowls or an extra large one by greasing them with butter and fill them three-quarters of the way with the pudding mixture.
- To prepare them for steaming, cut out a large piece of kitchen foil and greaseproof paper and lay them on the table or kitchen counter (foil first, then the greaseproof paper on top.
- Grab both and make a pleat in the center to form a cone. This will give enough room for the pudding to rise. Place the cone over the steaming basin and fold it over the edges. Tie the cover around the basin using some kitchen string.
- You can also make a handle for the cover by running the string from one side to the other a few times and securing with a couple of knots.
- Make the cover extra water tight by trimming off the excess off the sides and folding the edges under.
- When the water starts boiling place the basin on the saucepan in the pot and place a lid on top. Make sure you top the water regularly to keep the puddings nice and moist.
- Depending on the size of your basin the steaming time for your pudding will vary. It'll take between 3-4 hours for a 20 fl oz/ 2 pint basin and about 4-5 hours for a family-sized basin.
- After the allotted time, check to see if the pudding is done by inserting a skewer through the foil and paper. If the skewer comes out clean, your pudding is ready. If not, leave the pudding to steam a little longer.
- Once cooked, set the pudding aside to cool and poke it with a skewer. Using a spoon, pour some brandy or dark rum over the pudding.
- To store, tie a baking paper and foil lid over the top and store in a cool and dark place but never in the freezer or fridge!
- If you made the pudding weeks in advance, you can add more brandy or dark rum to the pudding every week or so.
- On Christmas day, steam the pudding for another 2 hours, covered with foil and paper. Slice, serve your guests and enjoy!