Three Generation Christmas Pudding

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I know we're in November and you might be eye-rolling at me repeatedly for posting a Christmas pudding recipe, but it is one you need to prepare in advance. So please let me off the hook? Thank you, friends. 
Now, on with the show! Last year I discovered that I loved Christmas pudding. I can't believe I was 20 years late to the party. I've wasted so much time not eating delicious boozy slices bursting with fruit and nuts. 20 years! To celebrate the fact I was finally on the bandwagon, I decided to make my own Christmas Pudding this year.
I love making my own. You can control what goes in, how good the quality is and how boozy it is. If you pour on extra whiskey when serving, I'm not judging - just make sure to cut me a slice too? If you load it up with extra nuts, or maybe some cherries then please invite me over for Christmas tea? Tailoring your pudding means it is going to be something you're sure to love. It is also super satisfying to turn out your pudding and see it looks wonderful. You'll feel a warm glow that is 80% pride, 20% whiskey drinking. It's so many shades of fabulous.
Fair warning though, this isn't penny-pinching recipe. It is packed with all sorts of goodness that doesn't come cheap. It's the kind of recipe you're just going to have to let go with and enjoy the heck out of it. We never get to cook with brazil nuts and figs during term time. So let's just get wild and festive. Someone chuck me a Father Christmas hat, ASAP!  
Finally, why have I called this Three Generation Christmas Pudding? Well it was a team effort between myself, my mum and my nan. I'm hoping it turns into a family tradition that marks the beginning of the festive season. Yes, it's mid November but I'm totally ready for it. It is quite lovely for everyone to get stuck in, each have a stir of the bowl and a taste of the pudding. I bet you'd love it too. We combined a couple of recipes together along with my nan's years of experience and expertise. So this is our family's new recipe and I'm very proud of it. I hope you love it as much as I do.

For 2 large Christmas Puddings you will need: 

175g plain flour
2 tbsp ground mixed spice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
175g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
175g fresh breadcrumbs
175g soft brown sugar
250g raisins
200g sultanas
150g currants
100g dried figs
100g blanched almonds
100g shelled brazil nuts
2 medium eating apples
1 orange, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 eggs
120ml dark brown ale

Begin by chopping up your almonds and brazils. I like to leave mine quite chunky, but it's all down to personal taste.

Then get on to roughly chopping up the figs. I know what you're thinking, figs - isn't that a bit decadent? Well yes, it is. But how many times a year are you going to let yourself buy figs for a dessert? Enjoy using them. Treat yo' self.

Grate up your apples. I love the flecks of red skin. Festive (!!!).
Set all your prepped ingredients to one side. 

Whizz up some fresh breadcrumbs.

Then add them, your flour, spices and butter and rub together like you're making pastry. You won't get a fine breadcrumb consistency, it's much more sturdy than a pastry mix.
Stir in the sugar.

Now put in your prepared ingredients, plus the raisins, sultanas, currants, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice and beaten eggs. Get to mixing.

Each generation needs a stir of the bowl. Make wishes, hum carols (ok, that was only me) and make sure your ingredients are thoroughly mixed through. It will already smell great, exciting! 

Pour in your ale, mix it up and you're ready to put into basins. 
You can substitute in whiskey or brandy here too, whatever is kicking around.

Thoroughly grease each basin with butter and fill to 4/5 full. We used plastic basins with clip on lids as they are much easier than faffing about with string. You will be able to find them in all good kitchen stores, similar here.

Cut out a ring of greaseproof paper and secure the lid over the top. 

Steam for 5-6 hours. Nan's top tip for a well steamed pudding is to place a saucer upside down in the bottom of the saucepan and then place the pudding on top of that.
The water should be simmering and kept at half way up the pudding basin. 

Once steamed, leave to cool and remove the lid and paper.
Looking so christmassy! Hurrah!

Let's have a close up.

Recover with fresh paper and dry lids and store in a cool dark place until your desired day on eating. These puddings will wait patiently for your for up to 12 months!

On the day of eating, steam again for another 1-2 hours. You can do this early and keep it warmed and covered in its pan. 

Turn out carefully onto a plate. I challenge you not to give it a good sniff, it smells phenomenal!
I also love the flecks of fig seeds running across the smooth face. Just as satisfying as flecks of black vanilla in custard.
I'm certainly a food nerd. A ferd? A nood? 

Adorn appropriately for instagram. 

Pour on a little whiskey.


Slice into and enjoy the jeweled fruit falling onto the plate.
I suggest serving with cream, it is such a decadent pudding I don't think it needs brandy butter or custard.
Tralalalala lalalalaaaa!

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