With Christmas just a month away, it’s a little late in the year to be making your Christmas pudding, but I believe still better to make your own than buy. If you’re going to eat a Christmas pudding, much better to take time and make it with love in your own kitchen, to know the quality of the dried fruits and ingredients. In our family, cooking the Christmas pudding has traditionally been a job only done by mum. Since I was a small child, my job has always been to stir the mix, and to stick my thumb in and pull it out a taste the mix for luck for the year to come. I still have a collection of silver that goes into the pudding too – for the lucky few to find once it’s time for eating.
1 3/4 lb (920g) mixed dried fruit
4oz (125g) shredded dried peel
3 tablespoons rum
8oz (250g) butter
8oz (250g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 medium size grated carrot
1 small grated apple
4oz (125g) breadcrumbs
2oz (60g) chopped blanched almonds
6oz (185g) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
(At least a day before you’d like to make the pudding, cover a tray with the dried fruits and sprinkle with the rum. – this is not in the recipe – this is something I’ve watched mum do every year … the longer you can soak the fruits – days or weeks or even months - the better the pudding will be)
Cream butter and brown sugar, then add orange and lemon rinds. Beat in eggs one at a time and mix well. Mix in dried fruits, and grated carrot and apple. Fold in the breadcrumbs, almonds and other dry ingredients. (this is where the original recipe in mum’s hand written book says to add the rum). Mix together well and allow to stand for at least an hour.
Fill into a greased pudding bowl. Tie floured pudding cloth securely over the top. (mum uses a layer of baking paper, and a layer of aluminium foil tied around the rim of the pudding bowl – and over the top only). Plunge into boiling water and boil rapidly for 5 hours. Top up the boiling water in the pan as required.
On the day, boil 2 to 2 1/2 hours before serving.
Growing up in Australia we ate this family recipe throughout our lives until last year, when we changed the focus of our Christmas to more local seasonal foods. We made this Upside Down Summer Pudding with Panettone and Champagne Zabaione instead. That was the first year mum didn’t make our pudding and then mum passed away this year. Perhaps, we’ll make Christmas pudding again next year. If you try her recipe, I hope you like it. Merry Christmas.