Tips for the Perfect Christmas pudding
Deliciously fruity, sticky and boozy, Christmas puddings are the ultimate indulgence during the festive period. Buying it in from your local store certainly saves time, but no pre-packaged pudding can compare to the succulent fruit and sponge treat made with your own hands. There are many variations on this classic recipe, but we’ve collected some secret tips and tricks, picked up through the generations, that will take your Christmas pudding to extraordinary levels.
Basic Ingredients List
175g self raising flour
125g fresh breadcrumbs
175g soft muscovado sugar
3 beaten eggs
125g shredded suet
75ml brandy or your liqueur of choice
1 orange – zest & juice
75g candied orange peel
½ tsp mixed spice
1. Soak the dried fruit in the liqueur overnight, stirring now and again to let the fruit absorb the juices.
2. Once the fruit has been soaked, combine the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the fruit.
3. Put the mixture into a large, greased bowl and cover with a double layer of aluminium foil.
4. Place this into a large saucepan and fill halfway up the outside of the bowl with water.
5. Bring the water to the boil and place a tight fitting lid on the pan.
6. Simmer for 5 hours, topping up the water so it doesn’t boil dry as this will crack the bowl.
7. Upturn the bowl and remove the pudding. Cover in the topping of your choice.
Tips for an extra special Christmas Pudding
Try adding dry figs, apricots and grated apple to the mixture. The seeds from the figs give a subtle crunch to the pudding, and the other fruits add a delicious sweetness.
Cloves add an exotic, spicy warmth to the sponge, and compliment the mixed spices perfectly.
Chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans etc) add a subtle depth of flavour and a delicate crunch.
Make the pudding a month to two weeks in advance, then steam for 2 hours on Christmas day. The flavours will have developed and the sponge will be dark, sticky and succulent.
As well as brandy, soak the fruit in dark rum, stout or cider for a particularly boozy punch! If you’re feeling especially decadent, add some vintage port to the mix.