Looking for an easy luxury Christmas pudding recipe? Lusciously fruity, more than a little boozy and studded with nuts, this recipe nails it and has converted many pudding haters! Serve in small portions alongside cold, softly whipped cream or ice cream.
A quick note: The recipe below creates a huge amount of pudding mix – halving these quantities gave me three decent sized puddings – one for me and two to give as gifts.
230g unsalted butter
175ml brandy or whisky
2 tbsp treacle
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
4 medium eggs, beaten
optional – half a small bottle of Guinness or ale
230g wholewheat breadcrumbs
690g mixed dried fruit
230g dark brown sugar
85g wholewheat flour
85g chopped almonds
85g chopped hazelnuts
85g crystallised ginger
1 large cooking apple, diced
1 tsp each of ground mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Pudding bowls – Falcon enamel bowls are cheap, stylish and hardwearing
A tower steamer or a large pan with a lid for each pudding
Brandy or whisky to feed your puddings
Christmas pudding: method
- Melt the butter and treacle in a saucepan over a low heat. When cool, add the brandy, and the zest and juice of the lemons and oranges.
- Add in the beaten in the eggs. If you want to make the puddings over two days, then miss out this step and add the beaten eggs to the final mix just before ladling into the pudding bowls.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the treacly, buttery mixture into the dry ingredients – you will need a very large bowl to do this, or split the mixture between two bowls.
- Grease your pudding bowls and ladle the mixture into them. Cover with a double layer of tinfoil – fold a pleat along the length of the foil to leave enough room for the foil to puff up and expand in the heat.
- Steam pudding(s) for 4-6 hours in a steamer depending on the size. If you don’t have a steamer, you can put the pudding in a roomy pan with a lid on, but you will have to top up the water more often, or the pan will boil dry.
- I have added a picture below to show you what a finished pudding should look like and one that still has an hour or so to go until it is cooked. The unfinished pudding is on the left, and the finished pudding is on the right.
- Once steamed and cooled, replace with a new double layer of tinfoil and store in a cool but dry place. I feed my puddings every 5-7 days with a dribble of good whisky, but this is because I’m partial to it. If you like, you can feed the puddings with a bit of the brandy you had to make the puddings earlier.
How to feed a Christmas pudding: Skewer the pudding all over with a cocktail stick and spoon over a tablespoon of brandy or whisky. Replace with fresh foil.
Christmas pudding hints and tips
- Make your puddings at the weekend! Making puddings is a long but leisurely process, so take the chance to wallow in the Christmassy feeling and put Christmas songs on while you make the mix.
- I find that making the puddings and steaming them in one day is far too much to do – unless you want to be steaming puddings into the small hours! I make the mix on a Saturday, excluding the eggs. I cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it somewhere cool. Then on Sunday morning, I add the eggs, stir the mix round and adjust the consistency if needed, then put the mix in the bowls and steam them.
- I make sure that I have started to steam the puddings by mid-day to ensure that they will be done by six or seven o’clock that evening.
- If you decide to add the Guinness or ale, you may need to add a little extra flour to thicken the mix up a bit after – just enough to maintain a slightly sloppy consistency.
- It’s traditional to make a wish when you stir the pudding. Why not ask someone special to stir the mix and make a wish too?
- If you’re following the Christmas custom of adding a sixpence to your Christmas pudding mix, clean it by soaking in cola and remember to tell everyone to watch out for it!
- Get ready for steamy windows! Fling them open as far as you can at the start of the steaming to give you a head start. Make sure that you top up the steamer or pan regularly with water to avoid pans boiling dry.
- Traditionally, you’re supposed to steam the pudding for an hour before serving it, but I don’t think it’s necessary. You can microwave pudding if you cut into servings first and heat it on low, checking every 30 seconds – be careful as it can be unpredictable.
- Do not put a whole pudding in the microwave as it can explode!