A Christmas pudding should be rich, dark and packed full of boozy fruits. Make yours at least a month in advance (or up to 6 months), then let it mature in a cool, dark place until Christmas Day. Don’t forget to make a wish as you stir the pudding mixture!
- butter for greasing
- 350g mixed raisins and sultanas
- 125g each prunes and dried apricots, finely chopped
- 75g dried apple, finely chopped
- Grated zest of 1 large orange
- 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 100g blanched almonds, chopped
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 tbsp ground mixed spice
- 100g shredded suet
- 100g light muscovado sugar
- 50g dark muscovado sugar
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 100ml Calvados or brandy, plus extra to serve
- YOU WILL NEED: A 1.5 LITRE PUDDING BASIN
STEP 1: Grease a 1.5 litre pudding basin with butter. Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin
STEP 2: Cut a square each of foil and baking paper, large enough to fit over the basin with some overhang. Put the two squares together. If your basin is quite full, fold a pleat in the centre of the foil/paper square to give the pudding some space to rise. Place, paper-side down, over the basin and secure with string under the rim (take the string up over the top to make a loose handle before cutting the string). Trim off any excess paper/foil.
STEP 3: Put an upturned saucer in the base of a deep pan. Set the pudding basin on top. Pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover and steam for 5 hours, topping up the water as needed. Using the string handle, carefully lift the basin out of the pan. Cool, then cover with clean paper and foil before storing.
STEP 4: To reheat for serving, steam for 1–1½ hours until piping hot throughout. Remove from the pan and turn out the pudding on to a plate. Warm a splash of Calvados or brandy in a small pan, then pour over the pudding and set alight. Bring to the table while flaming (let the flames die out before spooning out servings).