Saturday, December 05, 2015

My mother's Christmas pudding recipe

This is nothing to do with information literacy. However, every year I worry that I will lose the scrap of paper on which my mother wrote out the ingredients for her Christmas pudding recipe. I suddenly thought that this blog might be a safe place to put it - and this is the time of year to be making them (I did mine 2 weeks ago ;-).

4 oz breadcrumbs
4 oz suet (this is the only non-vegetarian part, but I do think suet is best unless you are vegetarian)
2 oz flour
2 oz mixed peel (or basically any type of nice quality candied peel or fruit, chopped up)
4 oz sultanas
4 oz raisins
2 oz currants (in fact I usually leave these out and add more sultanas or raisins, or chopped dates)
4 oz soft brown sugar
2 oz ground almonds
pinch salt
eighth oz cinnamon (heaped teaspoon)
eighth oz mixed spice
quarter of a grated nutmeg
1 grated carrot
1 grated apple
2 eggs, lightly beaten
half lemon (cut peel plus juice)
half wineglass brandy or armagnac
beer (not lager) - how much will depend on how dried up the dried fruit and breadcrumbs are.
I also usually put in some walnut pieces, preferably Californian ones

Put all the dry ingredients in (everything up to the eggs - I usually put the grated carrot and apple in last of the "dry" ingredients), and mix up well.
Then add the wet ingredients, starting with the eggs. The end product should be not too dry - the dried fruit will normally soak up part of the liquid in due course. Once mixed, ideally leave it overnight for the liquid to get soaked up, and stir again.
This is enough for 3 smallish puddings. Leave at least half an inch clear at the top of the bowl. I use pyrex (glass) or china bowls. I put a layer of greaseproof paper and tinfoil together, make a fold in the middle (so there is room for expansion when there is steam inside the bowl and tie the paper/tinfoil on with string (tinfoil on top, greaseproof next to the pudding).
Steam for 3 hours for a small pudding, 4 or 5 hours for larger ones. Then keep them til you want to eat them. They improve with keeping at least a week or two, and I've eaten one up to 9 months after cooking (it was still yummy) as long as you keep them somewhere dry and moderately cool.
When you want to eat them, steam for an hour (hour and a half for a larger one). You don't need to change the paper/tinfoil topping (unless it actually is more than a few months since you originally steamed it, in which case you may wish to double check it is still ok - you can tell from the top of the pudding).
The photo shows 2 of the three puddings I cooked with the above quantities, with my reading glasses there for scale purposes.

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