Whether you make your pudding the night before or three months earlier, it’s going to taste wonderful – because you made it from scratch.
Like sound child rearing, a pudding needs you to be around. You needn’t hover, but it’s vital to be in the background for times when a gentle water top up (nurturing) or a watchful eye (safe-keeping) is required. Don’t think of pudding day as a tie, but rather an opportunity to consolidate and take respite from the hectic lead up – to Christmas.
You can soak the fruit for as long as you like, provided the bowl is covered or sealed – so essentially, it is done in two stages. Once cooked, your wrapped pudding will last for eons – I often make two so we are enjoying the spoils mid-winter.
It’s possible I have experimented with at least twenty recipe versions over the years, but this one has become the favorite. I hope it becomes yours too.
60g mixed peel
handful of glace cherries, halved
125g blanched almonds, chopped
1/2 cup brandy
11/4 cups brown sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
1 cup plain flour
1tspn mixed spice
1tspn ground ginger
125g fresh breadcrumbs
- Combine fruit and nuts in a large bowl and pour over brandy. Leave overnight, covered.
- Cream butter, add sugar and rind and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Stir through sifted flour and spices.
- Stir through breadcrumbs and fruit mix until everything is well mixed.
- Grease an 8 cup capacity pudding basin and line the base with greased baking paper. Spoon in the pudding mixture. Cover the top with a circle of baking paper. Wrap a sheet of baking paper over the top of the basin and secure tightly around the rim with twine. Make sure the paper has a pleat through the centre to allow for the pudding as it rises.
- Place the basin gently into a large pot of boiling water, with enough water that it comes halfway up the side of the basin. (To stop the pudding burning on the base, place an upturned saucer on the bottom of the pot and stand the basin on it.) Cover the pot and let the pudding steam for 6 hours. You will need to check the water level frequently, and top up with boiling water from the kettle when required to keep the level.
- When cooked, let pudding completely cool, turn out of the basin and wrap in cling wrap. Store in refrigerator until required.