Homemade Christmas Pudding

You can’t beat a homemade Christmas Pudding and this recipe is so easy, it’s just like mixing up a fruit cake. There’s a bit of simple origami to make a paper and foil lid but nothing too tricky.

My Christmas pud not only tastes amazing but it is more economical to make your own. I cook mine over night and for part of the next day in my slow cooker then reheat on Christmas Day again in the slow cooker. This means that I don’t need to worry about it over cooking and it’s ready whenever we want to eat it. I put the slow cooker out in my utility room so it’s not in the way of cooking the rest of my Christmas dinner and using a slow cooker also avoids steaming up your kitchen.

We have a Christmas Pudding every year. My sister lives in California and she struggles to buy these so my Mum once took a pudding over in her suitcase. However, it did raise an enquiry at US Customs. She then spent the next 20 minutes trying to explain to the nice American Customs Officer what a Christmas Pudding was and eventually convinced him that it was completely harmless!

I add black treacle to mine creating a nice dark colour after cooking, plus a teaspoon of Cointreau for an orange flavour, which always reminds me of Christmas. I also like to use lots of interesting dried fruit such as prunes, glace cherries, dates and apricots as well as a traditional dried fruit mix containing sultanas, currants and mixed peel. We are going for a maximum indulgent flavour here!

There is no suet in my recipe so it’s suitable for vegetarians but does contain nuts so check that no one has a nut allergy before serving. You can make it nut free if you prefer.

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This is not a diet recipe, just in case you were wondering, but why not push the boat out on Christmas Day? Serve with cream, brandy sauce or whatever you fancy and we always set light to ours with more brandy for a great finale to our dinner! Just don’t set fire to the tablecloth, your hair or any Christmas decorations as you will have had a lot to drink, no doubt by then! Designate a responsible “sober” adult to light the pud and stand well back!

You can make this recipe now and feed it brandy over the few weeks running up to Christmas, knowing that part of your Christmas Day menu has already been sorted.

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I keep mine wrapped in clingfilm in it’s pudding basin in the fridge once it’s cooked, dribbling in some brandy every few days. By Christmas Day it will be mature and pretty boozy (just like my husband will be!) but it will taste incredible!

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Even if you have never made a Christmas Pudding before in your life, it’s really very easy. Just have a go and you will be making your own every year!

Ingredients for a 2 Pint Pudding (serves 6 to 8 people)

4oz/ 110g of plain flour
4oz/110g of soft brown sugar
5oz/ 150g of mixed dried fruit ( buy ready mixed in a pack, containing sultanas, currants and mixed peel)
1oz/ 25g halved glace cherries
2oz/ 50g chopped dried dates
2oz/ 50g chopped dried prunes
2oz/ 50g chopped dried apricots
1oz/ 25g of ground almonds
1oz/ 25g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
3oz/ 75g of fresh breadcrumbs (finely chop up 1 day old bread in a food processor)
grated rind of half a lemon
half teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of black treacle
1 egg, gently beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
1 optional teaspoon of Cointreau (or a teaspoon of orange zest)
1 tablespoon of Brandy
1 teaspoon of almond extract
4oz/ 110g of melted butter

Method

Butter a 2 pint pudding basin

Place a trivet or an upside down saucer into the bottom of the slow cooker. Test first to make sure that the slow cooker lid will close properly with the pudding basin inside, on top of the saucer or trivet.

Turn the slow cooker onto High to warm up and add some hot water from the kettle to the pot, up to a few cm deep.

Mix all the ingredients, apart from the melted butter in a large separate mixing bowl.

Add the melted butter to the pudding mix and stir well.

Put the pudding mix into the pudding basin

Next make a lid for the pudding basin. Use a large piece of grease proof paper, folded in half so you have double thickness. Make a pleat by folding the paper back on itself once, then forwards again once with a 1 inch pleat down the middle.

Secure the grease proof paper on top of the pudding basin with string to make a lid. The pleat will allow room for expansion during cooking. You might need to get someone to hold the paper down against the basin while you tie it.

Repeat with tin foil, using a double thickness and adding a pleat as before. Place on top of the grease proof paper lid and tie down securely with more string. Make sure the paper and foil lid is tight and secure. Trim excess paper and foil,  leaving a few cm sticking out from under the string, around the edges. The pudding should be well sealed.

Make a separate strap of tin foil to use to lift the pudding in and out of the slow cooker.

Lower the pudding basin into the slow cooker and place on top of the saucer or trivet.

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Pour enough hot water from the kettle to come half way up the outside of the pudding basin. Put the slow cooker lid on.

Cook on High for 3 hours then Low for 12 to 18 Hours. I start the cooking the day before and continue to cook overnight. Write your timings down and set an alarm to remind you to switch from High to Low or you might forget !

You can also make a one pint pudding, using half the quantity and cook for 1 Hour on High then 12 to 14 Hours on Low (serving 4 to 6)

Once cooked, remove the basin carefully from the slow cooker using the foil strap to lift it out and cool.

Remove the paper and foil lids once cool. The pudding should look cooked and a nice dark colour.

Cover with cling film then some extra foil to seal and store the pudding in the basin in the fridge until Christmas. Every few days remove the lid and dribble in some brandy to feed it. Seal it back up before returning to the fridge.

On Christmas Day remove the cling film and foil. Make a new grease proof paper and foil lid, as before, securing tightly with string. Reheat in the slow cooker surrounded by hot water on a trivet or saucer like before.

Reheat for 3 Hours on High for a 1 pint pudding or 4 hours on High for a 2 pint pudding. I usually then switch to Low after this time is up and leave it in the slow cooker until we are ready, which keeps it warm.

Remove from the pudding basin by carefully running a knife around the inside of the basin, easing the pudding away from the sides. Carefully turn upside own onto a warm plate and serve with brandy sauce or cream. Enjoy!

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