Making a Christmas pudding can be a long and sometimes difficult affair. Still, to me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. This version makes the process as simple as possible, without sacrificing the complex flavours that makes the pudding so enjoyable.
It’s best to let the fruit soak in the alcohol for up to three days before making the pudding, if you have time. Then let the pudding rest for as long as possible after cooking to help develop the flavours. The alcohol makes it safe to keep for a long time if it’s stored somewhere cool.
If you are in a hurry, not to worry. Simply soak the fruits in the alcohol as long as you can. It will be delicious, even if served right away. It will be especially delicious if you serve it with our custard recipe, though vanilla ice cream works equally well.
This recipe is easily customizable to suit particular tastes and/or allergies. I have included some slivered almonds in the fruit and nut mix because I like the crunch that it gives the pudding. But nuts can be removed and replaced with dried fruits.
The fruits you choose is also up to you. I mixed sultanas with dried dates and prunes but you can also add currents, apricots, figs or anything else you prefer. I used around one cup of glaced cherries in the mix for extra sweetness, but this is also up to you.
This mixture is for a two liter pudding, but it can also be made for multiple smaller molds. If it is too much just halve the recipe.
FOR THE PUDDING
- 5 cups mixed fruit, nuts and glaced cherries
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup rum or brandy
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 250 grams butter, room temperature
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
FOR THE CUSTARD
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
FOR THE PUDDING
1. Soak the fruit in the alcohol overnight.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time
3. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, spices, breadcrumbs and stir together. Add the egg mixture and combine, then stir through the fruit and nuts, keeping any remaining liquid from the alcohol.
4. Pour the mixture into a pudding mold and seal with the lid, or foil, according to the type of mold you are using.
5. Place the mold in a large pot of boiling water, with the water coming halfway up the sides.
6. Depending on the size of the pudding mold, boil for 3-8 hours. Be sure to top up water regularly so that it doesn’t run dry.
7. When ready, take the pudding out of the mold and let it cool completely. Cover the pudding in baking paper and then cover with aluminium foil to store. Let the pudding rest as long as possible to let the flavours develop.
FOR THE CUSTARD
1. Combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk together.
2. When heated and starting to bubble around the edges take a few tablespoons of the mixture and add to the eggs, quickly whisking them together. Then add the eggs back into the milk saucepan and continue to whisk for around 3-5 minutes. When the mixture has thickened take it off the heat and stir through the vanilla essence. Serve with the pudding while warm.