For the Christmas pudding
450g/ 1lb dried mixed fruit (we recommend raisins, sultanas and chopped-up dried apricots)
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped roughly
1 orange, finely grated rind then juiced
3 tbsp of your choice of brandy, sherry, or rum
75g/ 3oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
100g/ 3½oz light muscovado sugar
2 free range eggs
100g/4oz self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
40g/ 1½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
40g/ 1½oz whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
To flame upon serving
4 tbsp warm brandy or rum
Equipment: You will need a 1.4 litre / 2 1/2 pint pudding basin.
Place your dried fruit (raisins, sultanas and chopped apricots) and your chopped apple into a large bowl or jug followed by the orange juice. Next, you can stir in your alcohol of choice, making sure to coat as much of the fruit as possible. Leave it to marinate for one to two hours.
- Next, add your grated orange rind, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or whisk cream this together until it's light and airy.
- Gradually beat in the eggs, but be aware of the mixture curdling. Add in a little of the flour you have set aside if this begins to happen.
- Sift the flour and the mixed spice into your creamed mixture, and then add in the nuts and breadcrumbs. Once your dried fruit has finished soaking, mix them and the orange juice/ alcohol liquid into the mixing bowl.
- Take your pudding basin and coat the edges with butter. We recommend that you cut a circle of foil, and stick this to the base of your basin, to ensure the top of the christmas pudding doesn't stick.
- Next, you need to scoop your mixture into the pudding basin, making sure that there are no air bubbles left. You may want to shake the basin slightly and use a utensil to carefully push down on the top of the mixture.
- Cut a square of baking parchment and a square of tin foil just larger than the size of the pudding basin and pleat the edges to allow the bake to expand. Place the baking parchment, then the foil over the top of the cake mixture.
- Tie the parchment and foil securely with string, then cut off any excess around the edges. Your pudding is now ready to be boiled or steamed.
Boiling or steaming your pudding
- When it comes to cooking your pudding you can either steam it, or boil it. We recommend steaming if you have the equipment, as it is a slightly easier process.
- If you choose to steam it, place your pudding into the top section of a steamer which has simmering water in the bottom section. Cover the lid, and continue to steam it for approximately 8 hours. Make sure to keep the water topped up.
- If you choose to boil it, get a large pan and place a metal disk of some sort in the bottom of it (you could use a smaller pan's lid or a metal jam jar lid if you have one. You should also take a long strip of tin foil, folded several times for strength and place it into the pan, underneath the metal disk. Ensure the foil strip is long enough to leave enough hanging outside of the pan for you to use as a handle later on. This should make it easier to lift out your pudding when it is cooked.
- Place your pudding, still inside its pudding basin, into the pan and rest it on the metal disk you inserted earlier. Then, fill the pan with boiling water to approximately half-way up the side of the basin. Place the lid on the pan, and leave the pudding to boil for around 7 hours. Don't forget to keep topping up the water as it runs low.
- After you have cooked your pudding, we recommend that you remove it from the pudding basin, and allow it to cool. After it has cooled down, we suggest securely wrapping the pudding in a new layer of baking parchment and tin foil, before putting it aside to rest until your Christmas meal.
Re-heating your Christmas pudding
- Boil or steam your pudding again, as per the instructions above, however, we recommend cooking it for only 2 hours this time.
- Once re-heated, place the pudding with the round side up on your serving dish. If you would like to add a little wow-factor to your Christmas pudding, you can heat approximately 4 tablespoons of your choice of alcohol, as you chose earlier in a pan. Then, pour this onto your cooked pudding, ensuring an even covering. Take a lit match, and light the pudding - it will now flame for a few moments, before being ready to serve.
Enjoy, and have a fantastic Christmas!
Recipe ingredients courtesy of: BBC Good Food