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Classic boiled Christmas pudding

You'll need

1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated 100 gm each sultanas, raisins and currants 100 gm dried figs, stalks removed, coarsely chopped 100 gm pitted prunes, coarsely chopped 100 gm candied orange rind, coarsely chopped 60 gm glacé ginger, coarsely chopped 1 lemon and 1 orange, finely grated rind and juice only 150 ml stout 80 ml dark rum, plus extra for flaming 1 tsp each ground mixed spice, ground ginger and ground nutmeg ½ tsp ground cinnamon 400 gm brown sugar 200 gm plain flour, sifted 200 gm cleaned suet (see note) or cold butter, coarsely grated 150 gm day-old fine breadcrumbs 50 gm blanched almonds, roasted, coarsely chopped 6 eggs, lightly whisked


  • 01
  • Combine apple, dried fruit, candied fruit, glacé ginger, rinds and juices, alcohol and spices in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for 24 hours to macerate. Add sugar, flour, fat, breadcrumbs, nuts and a pinch of salt to fruit mixture. Mix well to combine, then fold in eggs.
  • 02
  • Spoon mixture into a buttered 2 litre-capacity heatproof bowl. Cover with three layers of greased baking paper (overhanging sides) and tie securely with kitchen string.
  • 03
  • Place in a large, deep saucepan with enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up sides of pudding bowl. Cover and bring back to the boil over medium heat. Boil until pudding is cooked through (4-5 hours, topping up with extra boiling water if necessary). If serving immediately, remove baking paper, invert onto serving plate, pour over rum and ignite with a match. Otherwise, allow to cool and refrigerate until required. To reheat pudding, place in a large, deep saucepan with enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up sides of bowl. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat. Boil gently until heated through (3-4 hours). Turn pudding out onto a serving plate, pour over rum and ignite with a match.

Note Suet may need to be ordered in advance from your butcher.

Short-order recipes
Sour cherry and chocolate pudding
Combine 1 coarsely grated Granny Smith apple, 300gm dried sour cherries, 150gm dried cherries, 100gm coarsely chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), 100gm coarsely chopped candied orange rind, finely grated rind and juice of 2 oranges, 230ml Pedro Ximénez and 1 tbsp quatre épices in a bowl. Cover with a tea towel and stand overnight. Add remaining ingredients as for step 1 of classic boiled Christmas pudding, replacing almonds with pistachios.

Figgy espresso pudding
Combine 1 coarsely grated Granny Smith apple, 300gm coarsely chopped dried figs, 100gm sultanas, 100gm each pitted, coarsely chopped prunes and candied orange rind, 200ml espresso, 160ml Frangelico and 1 tsp each mixed spice, ground ginger, ground allspice and ½ tsp ground cloves in a bowl. Cover and stand overnight. Add remaining ingredients as for step 1 of classic boiled Christmas pudding, replacing brown sugar with muscovado and almonds with hazelnuts.

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Drink Suggestion

Rutherglen tokay.

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