I remember as a young child the delights of the Christmas Pudding being bought to the table with a jug of brandy custard. In those days my grand mother used to hide her precious collection of threepence in the pudding and it was good luck to find one. I now feel is was even better luck to find one without breaking a tooth or consuming the threepence.
This is a very old family recipe that has only received a couple of minor tweaks over the years. It is not for the faint hearted cook as it does require a long looking time, but it us absolutely delicious.
- 250g raisins
- 250g sultanas
- 185g currants
- 185g dates
- 3 - 4 tablespoons brandy
- 250g butter
- 2 cups brown sugar firmly packed
- 5 large eggs
- 250g plain flour (sifted)
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon - ground
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 200g fresh breadcrumbs (Use day old white bread)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 - 4 tablespoons of extra flour
- 1 pudding cloth and tie
- Cut the raisins and dates to the same size as the sultanas.
- Mix the fruit together, add brandy and stir well.
- Cover with glad wrap and leave overnight.
- Next Day
- Cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
- Add the fruit and mix well.
- Add all dried ingredients including the bread crumbs and mix well.
- Boil the pudding cloth for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
- Fill a large boiler 3/4 with water and bring to the boil.
- Lay the pudding cloth on the bench and sprinkle the centre with the extra flour to approximately 35 cm diameter.
- Place the cloth in a large colander.
- Spoon in the pudding mixture. Pull the sides of the cloth together and tie with string as close to the pudding as possible. Make a loop in the string for easy hanging
- Lower the pudding into the boiling water and boil for 5 hours. Top up the pot with extra boiling water every 30 minutes.
- When cooked, carefully remove the pudding from the pot with the handle of a wooden spoon. Allow the pudding to hang, swinging freely and not touching any surface. Note: I do this by hanging the pudding on a broom stick over the laundry sink. Twist, or peg the loose ends of the cloth to the string so they do not touch the pudding.
- Allow the pudding the hang for a few days
- Transfer the pudding to a plate, remove string and secure with glad wrap. Place in the fridge until Christmas eve.
- Christmas Eve / Day
- Remove the pudding from the fridge on Christmas Eve.
- A few hours before the pudding is required bring a large boiler 3/4 filled with water to the boil.
- Retie the pudding with string, and include a good loop.
- Lower the pudding into the water and boil for 1 1/2 hours, topping with boiling water every 30 minutes.
- When cooked, gently remove the pudding from the water and suspend for 15 minutes.
- Working quickly, transfer the pudding to a plate, cut the string, gently remove the cloth and transfer to a serving plate.
- Allow to stand for 20 minutes before serving.
- I find this pudding is best served with brandy custard.
Note: I try and make the pudding 4 weeks before Christmas, but it can be done as late as 2 weeks with good results