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Traditional Christmas Pudding
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makes 3 1-1/2 pint / 855ml puddings. Place the flour, breadcrumbs, ground almonds, sugar, suet, dried fruits, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix them together thoroughly. Beat the eggs in a separate basin. Grate the rinds and squeeze the juice from the orange and lemon. Add the eggs, fruit rinds and juices, the brandy and brown ale to the ingredients in the bowl. Stir the mixture very well, ensuring that the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Grease three 1-1/2 pint / 755ml pudding basins. Fill them with the mixture to within 1in / 25mm of the top. Cover each basin with a circle of greaseproof paper, folded and tucked to allow for expansion of the puddings. Cover the paper with an 18 in / 450 mm square of muslin or foil. Tie a length of string several times around the basin to secure the covers. Knot opposite ends of the muslin over the top of the basin. Place the puddings in a steamer or stand them in covered saucepans of boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basins. Steam them for 6 hours, topping up the water if necessary. Allow the puddings to cool. Remove the muslin or foil covers and replace them with clean ones. Store in a dry, cool place. It is not necessary to freeze the puddings. Steam the puddings for 3 hours before serving decorated with a sprig of holly and accompanied by brandy butter, brandy sauce or cream. Spiced Brandy Butter 6 servings 8oz / 227g unsalted butter 8oz / 227g caster sugar 1 tsp Schwartz Ground Cinnamon 3-4 Tbs / 45-60 ml brandy Cream the butter and sugar together until mixture is pale yellow. Add the cinnamon and brandy and blend thoroughly. Chill the brandy butter in the refrigerator and serve with mince pies or Christmas pudding. Brandy butter may be frozen for 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. Note: The brandy butter that I had in England with Christmas pudding used grated orange rind instead of cinnamon.