Anyone celebrating Christmas in July? Not a bad idea to lift the spirits during Lockdown. Even if you're not celebrating this month, you can make your Christmas pudding now and set it aside in a cool place until Christmas day.
This mixture will make 1 x 2 litre pudding (serving 12 - 14 people) or 2 x 1 litre (each serving 6 - 8 people). You can use commercially prepared suet if you like: better still to ask your butcher to grate it freshly for you. Don't forget to collect a few shiny coins to bury in the pudding (but make sure to wrap them in foil first). Ask family members and friends to come and stir the pudding, and make a wish as they stir.
This recipe is from my Entertaining At Home book, published by Lansdowne.
- Prep Time : 60 minutes
- Cook Time : 8h 00 min
- fresh suet - 375g 9or use commercially prepared suet)
- fresh white breadcrumbs - 225g
- seedless raisins - 225g
- sultanas - 225g
- currants - 225g
- demerara or soft brown sugar - 225g
- blanched ground almonds - 175g
- plain flour - 100g, sifted
- citron - 50g, diced (optional)
- mixed peel (candied citrus peel) - 100g
- beer - 200ml
- dry sherry - 100ml
- brandy - 100ml
- eggs - 4, large
- mixed spice - 1 teaspoon
- nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- orange - 1, finely grated zest
- vanilla bean - 1, split in half lengthways
- milk - 1 Litre
- egg yolks - 10
- caster sugar - 150g
- Hard Sauce
- unsalted butter - 250g
- caster sugar - 150g or 150g icing sugar
- orange zest - 1 teaspoon
- orange juice - 1 teaspoon
- brandy or dark rum - 60ml
Combine all pudding ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine.
Cover with a cloth and allow to stand in a cool place for 12 hours.
Spoon mixture into one large (2 litre) or two smaller (1 litre) buttered pudding basins, pressing down well. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper, pleated in the middle (to allow the pudding to expand as it cooks). Cover again with foil, also pleated n the middle. Tie securely with string. Make a handle at the top and knot it securely to make it easier to lift the pudding out.
Set the pudding on a rack or upturned heat-proof dish in a large pan of boiling water to reach halfway up the side of the pudding basin. Bring the water back to the boil after putting in the pudding, turn down to simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam 7 - 8 hours for the large pudding or 3 - 4 hours for the small puddings. Top regularly with more boiling water. You will know the pudding is ready when it is firm to the finger and shrinks from the sides. Remove from the water, take off the paper and foil and re-cover with fresh layers. Store in a cool place.
On the day, boil the small puddings for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, the large one for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Invert onto a warm platter, flame with hot dark rum or brandy, and serve with egg custard.
You can add warm some rum or brandy, according to taste, once the custard has thickened - add a little at a time and stir well to combine.
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into milk. Scald milk over medium heat and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until light and thick. Pour warmed milk gradually onto yolks, whisking all the time. Wash the saucepan and return egg and milk mixture to it. Place over medium to low heat and cook until custard thickens, stirring continually - you will know it's ready when it coats the back of the spoon. Immediately remove from heat and pour through a sieve into a clean bowl. Serve warm or cold in a jug.
Cream butter and sugar until soft and white then beat in grated zest and juice until mixture is really pale, light and fluffy. Add rum a little at a time, beating constantly so that mixture doesn't curdle (add as much as mixture will take). Pile into a bowl and refrigerate until hard.