Said to have originated in the 14th century, the British Christmas pudding has enjoyed many transformations from the beef, mutton, raisins and spice porridge of then, to the dark, sticky, fruity pudding we love today.
Traditionalists make their pudding on ‘Stir-Up Sunday’, which is the last Sunday before Advent Sunday (the end of November), giving it a month to mature. Personally, I make mine in September. It gives it loads of time to mature and I figured that since I feed it with Brandy every week – the earlier I make it = more booze, and you can’t argue with that.
RECIPE: Christmas Pudding
MAKES: 1 x 1 litre basin
SOURCE: Inspired by Delia Smith and The Hairy Bikers along with little tips here and there that I’ve picked up over the years, and of course, trial and error.
GOES GREAT WITH: Traditionally it is served with brandy or rum butter, but it goes equally well with cream or ice-cream
NOTES: The Chocolate Stout really does give it an edge, but if you can’t find any, use regular stout, like Guinness, instead. Don’t worry, it’ll still be delicious!
- 35g CARROT, grated
- 35g DRIED PRUNES
- 200g RAISINS, CURRANTS & SULTANAS, total amount, mixed
- 12g MIXED CANDIED PEEL, chopped finely
- 1/2 APPLE, grated
- 1/2 ORANGE, zested and juiced
- 65g BUTTER, cold, grated
- 70g BROWN SUGAR
- 1 EGG
- 85g PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 tbsp. MIXED SPICE
- 1 tbsp. COCOA POWDER
- 100ml CHOCOLATE STOUT
- 15ml BLACK TREACLE
- 25g CHOCOLATE PANNETONE, blitzed to crumbs
- 50g ORANGE CHOCOLATE, chopped
- BRANDY, for feeding
- The day before: In a large bowl, put the RAISINS, CURRANTS, SULTANAS, PRUNES and MIXED PEEL. Add the ORANGE ZEST and JUICE, and STOUT, and give it a good mix.
- The next day, add to the mixture: the GRATED BUTTER, CHOCOLATE PANNETONE, BROWN SUGAR, MIXED SPICE and COCOA POWDER. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the GRATED APPLE and GRATED CARROT.
- Beat the EGG with the BLACK TREACLE. Stir into the mix.
- Sift the FLOUR into the bowl and stir to make sure it is fully incorporated.
- Fold in the chopped ORANGE CHOCOLATE.
- Lightly grease basin with BUTTER and sprinkle with a little SUGAR.
- Pack the mixture into the basin. Cover with double parchment plus a layer of foil, and tie up securely with string, forming a handle on the top.
- Place the pudding inside a large saucepan on top of an upturned saucer or folded dish-cloth, and fill with boiling water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pudding.
- Cover with a well-fitting lid and cook on a low heat for 7 hours, checking occasionally and topping up water if necessary.
- Replace the parchment and foil with fresh sheets, wrapping it securely, and store in a cool dark place.
- Set a reminder in your calendar to feed it weekly, poking some holes with a toothpick and drizzling half a capful of BRANDY over the top.