chris' christmas pudding recipe...rating:
Actually, it's my Great Aunt Jane's recipe with one minor variation.
You want to be making this *well* in advance. 18 months is about right, though they will keep longer.
Picture shows puds all mixed and packed into two full sized pudding bowls and two smaller bowls, the latter hold about four servings each, and are actually repurposed "Charlie Bingham" pie ramekins.
- 1lb finely chopped suet
- 1lb flour
- (add 4 lvl tsps baking powder if using plain flour)
- 1lb 4oz stoned and chopped raisins
- 1lb sultanas
- 8oz mixed peel
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1lb demerara sugar
- 4oz chopped almonds
- 1 tsp salt
- 4-6 eggs
- 12oz breadcrumbs
- 12oz currants
- strained juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp powdered mace
- 1 gill brandy (or sherry)
NOTE I normally make a half-quantity which gives you about two "normal" sized puds plus a smaller one. And here's the one variation I make in the recipe - I usually forget to halve the brandy quantity.
How to make.
Just lob everything in a big bowl and mix with a big spoon. Tradition in our household at least was that everyone should have a stir. I suspect this is mainly because it's a very stiff mixture and stirring it is hard work! :-) As you mix, make sure you don't leave any pockets of un-mixed stuff, especially clumps of flour.
When it's thoroughly mixed, divvy it into pudding bowls, cover with tinfoil, tied with string. I make a loop of the string across the middle to aid lifing out of pans.
Now you need to boil each pud for about eight hours. (More doesn't hurt, less does, because under-cooked puds will NOT keep). This doesn't have to be done all at once, we normally take two or three days over it - just be carefull to tot up the hours for each one or you end up with an undercooked one which will simply be gone by the time you open it in two years.
Traditional method involves standing the pud in a pan and filling it 2/3rds with water, then setting it to boil, trying not to forget or it boils dry which burns the pud and damages the pan. Latterly, I've taken ot using our rice cooker. This boils merrily until the water is all gone - then the thermostat clicks it off, so it doesn't matter if you forget it. And the thermostat clicks loudly enough to be heard in other parts of the house! :-)
Once cooked, put the puds at the back of the top shelf and simply forget about them for 18 months. Do *nothing* to them. No, you don't need to "feed" them or anything.
After about six to eight months you can eat them if you want. They'll be somewhat brown in colour, a crumbly texture but moist in the mouth. After 18 months, they are black in colour, and the flavour is at its best. To serve, just get it off the shelf, and boil it for a further 45-60 minutes to heat through. I usually put it on when the veg is being served and the turkey carved, and it's ready for sauce by the time the main course is consumed.
Take out of water, remove foil and string, run a flexible knife around the side of the basin, then put a plate on top, and carefully turn, lifting the basin off.
Well, some folks seem to insist. I think it makes little difference to the flavour (lots of brandy in there already) and the flames are so blue as to be almost invisible. But if you must, warm about half a cupfull of brandy to about 30degC, then tip it over the pud whilst holding a lit match nearby. Carry it in quickly, it won't last for long. Or light it once it's on the table.
This is a very rich pudding. You don't need a large plateful, and if you've just seen off a turkey with all the trimmings, your guests will probably be relieved to see you serving slices not much bigger than a table spoon each!
There are always arguments. My mother would insist that custard was too humble a substance for christmas pud, and would always make a white sauce with some brandy. But custard remains a firm favourite. Brandy or whisky butter, or even some good vanilla ice-cream.
What to do with left-overs?
If we ever have any left over, I'll report back on what we did with it. It hasn't happened yet.