Ah the trusty Christmas Plum Pudding; love it or loathe it it’s been around since Medieval times and is unlikely to go out of favour anytime soon. I remember my first foray into Pudding making, it was the year after our first son was born and I was full of homely, maternal ambition. I was terrified at the same time though, I was thinking how I should have been paying more attention as a child when my mother (and her mother before) would be in the kitchen surrounded by a gazillion ingredients. That’s the thing with Pudding; there’s no simple version of it really, it will always contain a gazillion ingredients. There are many variations as well; some use brandy instead of whiskey, some are flourless, some have cherries and some have candied peel. Confused yet? Don’t worry, there’s no right or wrong combination; you can adjust the ingredients according to your own personal taste. The other terrifying thing about Pudding making is the lengthy cooking process and in fairness, any dessert that requires 5 to 8 hours of boiling/steaming is a scary prospect. I hope I don’t sound overly negative here; once you’re organised with your ingredients and you have the right set up for steaming then the rest is a doddle- honestly. The result is so worth the toil; the taste is beyond compare and there’s no artificial additives or nasties that you will find in the supermarket bought variety. An added bonus is the glorious Christmassy smell that will fill your home and have you feeling fabulously festive in no time. Enjoy xxx
Below are the ingredients for two 2 litre puddings, which would easily serve about eight people each. Half the measurements if you’re making one 2 litre pud.
100g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
350g light brown sugar
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
350g dried beef suet
150g ground almonds
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
325mls stout (I use Guinness)
200mls fresh orange juice
8 medium eggs
a knob of butter, for greasing the bowls
2X2 litre Pudding bowls with lids. I use the plastic kind.
a very large mixing bowl and jug.
2 large stock pots and 2 trivets or unturned saucers (if you’re making the 2 puddings, one if you’re halving the recipe)
greaseproof paper, tin foil and cotton string
1. The night before you steam your Pudding, place all of the dry ingredients into a very large bowl and mix well.
2. In a very large jug or another bowl, combine the stout, whiskey, orange juice and eggs and whisk to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Leave overnight to soak in a cool place.
3. The next day, clear your schedule and prepare to be on “pudwatch”. Divide the mixture between the two greased Pudding bowls.
4. Cover each bowl with a large square of greaseproof paper, then cover that with a large square of tin foil. Smooth the paper and tin foil over the top and down the sides of the Pudding bowls. Tie the two sheets tightly into place by tightly winding cotton twine around the bowls under the rim, leaving a long piece of excess string to make a handle. Loop one of the excess string lengths across over the diameter of the bowl and tie tie a knot on the far side to make a handle. This will allow you to lift the Pudding in and out of the pot of steaming water.
5. To cook, use your two very large pots, large enough to accommodate the Pudding bowls on top of either an upturned saucer or a trivet with the lid secured on top. Carefully place your puddings on the saucers/ trivets and fill the pot with boiling water until it comes halfway up the sides of the Pudding bowls. Be careful add the water to the side of the bowl. On a medium heat, bring to the boil and then gently simmer for seven hours with the lid of the pot in place. Check regularly to ensure the water has not boiled dry, if it’s getting low then boil the kettle and top up.
6. Carefully lift the puddings out by their handles and allow to cool. Remove the greaseproof paper, string and tin foil and replace with either fresh paper and foil or a lid to seal.
7. Store in a cool place until the big day and to reheat; repeat the steaming process as above but for 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream, custard, brandy butter or ice cream, whichever takes your fancy.
*allow me to apologise for the poor picture, the puds were still warm and I wasn’t going to chance turning them out into a plate and risk them falling apart on me for the purposes of a picture.
Beannachtai na Nollaig daoibh xxx⛄️🌲🎄🎅🏽🎄🌲