It's very satisfying to make your own Christmas pudding and really not very difficut at all. Taking an original and very old set of instructions, Peter Vaughan has brought this traditional recipe right up to date. It is dairy and egg free - so suitable for those with allergies and for vegans. It can easily be made gluten free. There is no refined sugar plus it contains grated apple and carrot, which helps make it moist. Have a go for this Festive Season.
Peter grew up with this recipe. Every year, around this time, he would help to make the Christmas pudding, stirring the mixture before it cooked and making a wish. It was all part of the magic. On Christmas Day he would hear the story of how his Great Great Granny made this festive treat for all the family, every year, using the same recipe that her mother had used - and her mother before her. He's not really sure quite how far back it goes.
To make a large Christmas pudding or several smaller ones you will need:
375g vegetable suet
160g plain flour or Doves Farm gluten free flour
375g breadcrumbs or gluten free breadcrumbs (fresh not dried)
250g apple, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1.5kg mixed dried fruit
1 x orange
1 x lemon
350mls apple concentrate
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- In a bowl put the dried fruit, grated apple, grated carrot, zest and juice from the lemon and orange plus the apple concentrate. Mix together well and leave to marinate, if possible overnight.
- Stir in the suet, flour, ginger, nutmeg and breadcrumbs. Stir well and make a wish!
- Grease a large pudding basin or a number of smaller ones . Put in the pudding mixture and press down very firmly. The top of the pudding should be at least 3mm below the rim of the basin. Cover with a layer of baking parchment topped with a layer of foil and tie with string, making a handle across the top of the basin.
- To cook : EITHER put in a slow cooker surrounded by water (halfway up the side of the basin) and cook on low overnight OR Put in a deep roasting pan with water half way up the side of the basin and cook in the oven on lowest setting overnight.
- As this pudding doesn't contain alcohol, store in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
- To reheat, use one of the previous cooking methods suggested for the original cooking, but it will only take 1-2 hrs, depending on size. You can also steam in a suacean but on Christmas Day you usually need all your hob for cooking the rest of the meal.
- To serve, lift out of the water by the string and take off the foil and baking parchment layers. Tip on to a large plate.
- If you want a 'flaming' pud, fill a ladle half full of spirit (brandy/rum/whisky) and warm slightly over the hob - the acohol will light more easily when warm. Set fire to it with a match and pour over the pud.
- Top with a sprig of holly, which represents the Crown of Thorns. Do not press the holly into the pudding as it is toxic!
- Serve with brandy or rum butter or a sweet white brandy or rum sauce - or ice ceam
- Another tradition is to bake a silver sixpence or a charm into the pudding and whoever gets it in their portion will have good luck for the rest of the year. Nowadays we would have to write a Health & Safety Risk Assessment to do that!