This Christmas pudding recipe was given to me in 1971 by the then executive chef of the QE 2 and we have been using it ever since although we have lightened it a little bit, so that we feel it is a little healthier.
The secret to this pudding is by making it a few months before Christmas day and feeding it with alcohol on a regular basis and by allowing all the flavours to mature, when at the Whitewell hotel which is where I got the recipe we used to make a couple of dozen puddings in April.
Christmas pudding is traditionally served on Christmas Day where It has its origins in England and Ireland, and is sometimes known as plum pudding or plum duff, although this can also mean other kinds of boiled pudding concerning dried fruit.
Many families used to have their own recipe for Christmas pudding, some handed down through families for generations. But in effect, these recipes bring together what by tradition were exclusive or sumptuous ingredients especially the sweet spices that are so important in developing their characteristic rich fragrance.
This recipe will make 10 servings, in one large pudding in a 2-pint (1.2 litres) pudding bowl or if you want two smaller puddings, use two 1-pint (570 ml) bowls, but give them the same steaming time.
You Will Need
110 grams, sultanas
110 grams, raisins
300 grams, currants
20 grams, chopped dates
110 grams, shredded suet
110 grams, white breadcrumbs
1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 good pinch ground cinnamon
225 grams, soft dark brown sugar
30 grams, mixed candied peel, finely
25 grams, almonds, skinned and chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
50 grams, self-raising flour, sifted
½ an orange zest and juice
½ a large lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons rum
2 large eggs
Start on the day before you want to steam the pudding.
Get your biggest mixing bowl and get going by putting in the suet, sifted flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar mix these ingredients completely together, then steadily mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out.
At this point in a smaller basin measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix thoroughly.
It's traditional to get together all the family around, especially the children, and encourage everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish!
The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency that is to say, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl if you think it needs a bit more liquid add a tad more stout, cover the bowl and leave overnight.
The next day cram the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) or greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone's finger for this!)
It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle so you won’t have any problems when its time to take the pudding out of the steamer.
Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours please do make sure you keep a reliable eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time.
When the pudding is steamed, let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring.
At this point, your Christmas pudding is all set for Christmas Day, keep it in a cool place away from the light a cool cellar is ideal or do as we do keep it on the bottom shelf at the back of the fridge.
Christmas Day; fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer, place the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours you'll need to check the water from time to time and top it up a bit.
To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping, slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate.
We put a sprig of holly on top and warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot set light to it, you might need help with this.
Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding but don't pour it over until you reach the table when you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheering of your family and friends
When the flames have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce, or rum, or brandy butter. Serve and Enjoy!
How about these for a Christmas Gift!!