Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding adapted by Ann-Marie

Serves 8-10.  Moderate difficulty.

Ingredients:
4 oz (110 g) shredded suet (beef or vegetarian)
2 oz (50 g) self-raising flour, sifted
4 oz (110 g) white breadcrumbs
1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
good pinch ground cinnamon
8 oz (225 g) soft dark brown sugar
4 oz (110 g) sultanas
4 oz (110 g) raisins
10 oz (275 g) currants
1 oz (25 g) mixed candied peel, finely chopped
1 oz (25 g) almonds, skinned and chopped
1 small Bramley cooking apple (7 oz/200 g), peeled, cored and finely chopped
grated zest ½ large orange
grated zest ½ large lemon
2 tablespoons rum
5 fl oz (75 ml) stout, plus a bit extra if needed
2 large eggs

Method:
In a large mixing bowl put in suet, sifted flour and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and almonds, followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Now in a smaller basin measure out the rum, and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together. Next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix very thoroughly. It's now traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish! The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout. Now cover the bowl with a clean tea cloth and leave to soak for a couple of hours (or overnight).

To steam the pudding, first fill a saucepan with boiling water from a kettle. Place a steamer on top and bring it back to the simmering point on top of the stove.
Pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string. Place the pudding in the steamer and steam the pudding for 8 hours. Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time. When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the baking parchment and foil and replace with fresh, again making a string handle for easier maneuvering. Keep it in a cool place.

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