The Highlight of any Christmas lunch has to be the Old Fashioned Christmas Pudding. Like the Traditional Christmas Cake, it has been handed down for generations. Christmas Pudding, Plum Pudding, Frumenty or Figgy Pudding, it has many names over the years and dates back to 12th Century. Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it. In the UK the coin traditionally used was a silver ‘sixpence’. The closest coin to that now is a five pence piece! Its great fun with the children at the table and of course the adults get wrapped up in the fun of it too.
Old Fashioned Favours
You might also get other items (sometimes called ‘tokens’ or ‘favours’) placed in the Christmas Pudding which also meant to have special meanings:
- Bachelor’s Button: If a single man found it, they would stay single for the following year.
- Spinster’s/Old Maid’s Thimble: If a single woman found it, they would stay single for the following year.
- A Ring: If a single person found this, it meant you will get married in the following year! It can also mean you will be rich for the following year.
It’s really easy to put together and the 8 hours of steaming time flies by. The most important thing to remember is to gather the family around for each member needs to take a stir and makes a Christmas wish. (regardless of being naughty or nice)
Christmas Pudding The Old Fashioned Way
It's really easy to put together and the 8 hours of steaming time flies by. The most important thing to remember is to gather the family around for each member needs to take a stir and makes a Christmas wish. (regardless of being naughty or nice)
- 110g shredded suet
- 25g whole candied peel, finely chopped
- 25g whole almonds (skin on is OK)
- 1 small cooking apple cored and finely chopped (no need to peel)
- grated zest ½ large navel orange
- grated zest ½ large lemon
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 75ml barley wine (Strong IPA is good too)
- 75ml Guinness
- 2 large eggs
- 50g self-raising flour, sifted
- 110g white breadcrumbs
- 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
- ¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- good pinch ground cinnamon
- 225g soft dark brown sugar
- 110g sultanas
- 110g raisins
- 275g currants
The fruit and alcohol need time to get to know each other intimately so leave to soak the day before you want to make the pudding.
Don't forget to make a wish
In a large mixing bowl add the suet, breadcrumbs, spices, and sugar together with the dried fruit, peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Give it a good mix up so that the ingredients combine well.
In another bowl, add the brandy, barley wine, and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together. Add to the ingredients and give it a good mix.
The mixture should have the consistency of a good porridge. If you think it needs a bit more liquid, add more stout.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the kitchen.
The Next Day
Next day stir in the sifted flour quite thoroughly, then pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double layer of baking parchment and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string.
Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan filled with simmering water 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 straight from the kettle about halfway through the time.
When the pudding is steamed, let it get quite cold, then remove the baking parchment and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easy manoeuvring.
Now your Christmas pudding is ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light.
On Christmas Day
Fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer.
Put the Christmas Pudding in the steamer cover and leave to steam for 2hrs. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.
When you are ready to serve the pudding, remove from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all around the pudding and turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top.
Now pour a ladleful of brandy over and, as soon as the brandy is hot, set light to the brandy using a long match.
When the flames and cheers have died down, serve the pudding with Christmas Rum Sauce, Cumberland Rum Butter or Brown Sugar Brandy Butter.
If you have any left over, it will reheat beautifully, wrapped in foil, in the oven next day.
You can make Christmas Pudding months in advance and take the pressure off on the big day. We usually make ours during spring break when ingredients are cheaper and we have more time on our hands.
Use your Naked Wine discount and order a dessert wine such as a Sauternes or a Prosecco. As the pudding is so rich in flavour you need a light wine to balance the palate.