Every year for Christmas I prepare 2 Christmas Puddings. One for my Mother- in law and one for one of our friends who actually likes this stuff. I just could not remember which recipe I used last year so I have done some research and found Nigella Lawson's Ultimate Christmas Pudding recipe. This looked pretty nice so I tried it. It was very easy to make. So here is the recipe (original recipe: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/ultimate-christmas-pudding) with my little arrangements:
- 150g currants
- 150g sultanas
- 150g prunes, scissored into pieces
- 175ml Pedro Ximénez sherry
- 100g plain flour
- 125g breadcrumbs
- 150g suet
- 150g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking powder grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 eggs
- 1 medium cooking apple, peeled and grated
- 2 x 15ml tablespoons honey
- sprig of holly to decorate
- 125ml vodka to flame
- 1 x 1.7 litre/3 pint heatproof plastic pudding basin with lid
Notes: I used 400g already mixed fruit cake packet and did not use the prunes,and I substituted the Sherry for Port.
- Put the dried fruit into a bowl with the alcohol used, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for up to 1 week. Mine steeped for a couple of days.
- When the fruits have had their steeping time,
put a large pan of water on to boil,put some boiling water in your slow cooker and set it on High, or heat some water in a conventional steamer ( I actually have a steamer so I might try that next year), and butter your heatproof plastic pudding basinI used a normal basin that I cover with a piece of baking sheet secured with string and put a foil over it when cooking, remembering to grease the lid, too.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients, either in the traditional manner or just any old how; your chosen method of stirring,and who does it, probably won’t affect the outcome of your wishes or your Christmas.
- Add the steeped fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a rubber spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly,
then fold in cola-cleaned coins or heirloom charms. If you are at all frightened about choking-induced fatalities at the table, do leave out the hardware. I did not add any hardware to mine.
- Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and put on the lid. Then wrap with a layer of foil (probably not necessary, but I do it as I once had a lid-popping and water-entering experience when steaming a pudding) so that the basin is watertight, then either put the basin in the pan of boiling water (to come halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded steamer (this size of basin happens to fit perfectly in the top of my all-purpose pot) and steam for 5 hours, checking every now and again that the water hasn’t bubbled away. It did take me about 5 hour to 6 hours to steam them and that was the beauty of the slow cooker, I could just leave it, go and do some shopping and come to a wonderfully steamed Christmas Pudding.
- When it’s had its 5 hours, remove gingerly (you don’t want to burn yourself) and, when manageable, unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin somewhere out of the way in the kitchen or, if you’re lucky enough, a larder, until Christmas Day.
- On the big day, re- wrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours. Eight hours’ combined cooking time might seem a faff, but it’s not as if you need to do anything to it in that time.
- To serve, remove from the pan or steamer, take off the lid, put a plate on top, turn it upside down and give the plastic basin a little squeeze to help unmould the pudding. Then remove the basin – and voilà, the Massively Matriarchal Mono Mammary is revealed. (Did I forget to mention the Freudian lure of the pudding beyond its pagan and Christian heritage?)
- Put the sprig of holly on top of the dark, mutely gleaming pudding, then heat the vodka in a small pan (I use my diddy copper butter-melting pan) and the minute it’s hot, but before it boils – you don’t want the alcohol to burn off before you attempt to flambé it – turn off the heat, strike a match, stand back and light the pan of vodka, then pour the flaming vodka over the pudding and take it as fast as you safely can to your guests. If it feels less dangerous to you (I am a liability and you might well be wiser not to follow my devil-may-care instructions), pour the hot vodka over the pudding and then light the pudding. In either case, don’t worry if the holly catches alight; I have never known it to be anything but singed.
- Serve with the Eggnog Cream, which you can easily make - it's the work of undemanding moments - while the pudding's steaming.
Make the Christmas pudding up to 6 weeks ahead. Keep in a cool, dark place, then proceed as recipe on Christmas Day.
FREEZE AHEAD TIP:
Make and freeze the Christmas pudding for up to 1 year ahead. Thaw overnight at room temperature and proceed as recipe on Christmas Day.