~Rich and Boozy Christmas Pudding ~

This recipe comes from “The Complete Christmas Book” by Carol Hupping, copyright © Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. 1991. The book i have was published by Hamlyn in 1991, ISBN No: 0-600-57394-X (sadly now out of print). Its a gorgeous recipe – I’ve made numerous puddings by this recipe every year – and it doesn’t contain suet (whether veg or otherwise) or mixed peel, something that’s very attractive to many people. It also keeps well, so if you make one and don’t eat it for any reason, you can always keep it for the following year. the recipe serves 8, by the way.

[Hamyln have given gratis rights for reproduction of this recipe on the condition that it is used on this blog in a not-for-profit manner. Many thanks to Hamyln for this.]

175g (6 oz) currants
175g (6 oz) raisins
100g (4 oz) sultanas
1/2 orange, juice and zest
1/2 lemon, zest
175g (6oz) fresh brown breadcrumbs
50g (2oz) whole almonds, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g (2oz) Soft Dark Brown Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
2 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp port
2 tbsp dark rum
100g (4oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. mix the dried fruit, orange and lemon rind, breadcrumbs, nuts, spices and sugar in a bowl.
  2. whisk the OJ, eggs, spirits and melted butter in another bowl.
  3. Stir together, mix well (and get everyone in the household to stir too, for luck.)
  4. turn into a 2 pint (1.2 litre) buttered pudding dish. Leave for 1 hour. Either cover with a lid (some pudding dishes come with a lid) or cover with double folded greased greaseproof paper, then folded foil, and tie securely with string.
  5. Steam for 7 hours, or, if using a pressure cooker, stand the basin on a trivet, add 3.5 pints of boiling water. Fit the lid and steam without pressure for 30 minutes, then increase to high pressure and cook for 3 hours. Reduce the pressure slowly. If using a slow cooker, stand on a saucer or something like that, pour water around it so its around halfway up the pudding basin, then cook on high for 10 hours (many thanks to lilmrsmullen and HopeElizzy from MSE for trialling that one for me!).
  6. To store, once cold, replace the greaseproof paper and foil and secure with string again, then store in a cool place. you may need to clean the outside of the bowl as it can be quite greasy after cooking, especially if you wish to give as a gift.
  7. Once ready to nuke, if your basin will go in the microwave, just remove foil and nuke for 4-6 minutes and stand for 5 minutes. If your basin won’t go in the microwave, turn out onto a microwaveable plate then nuke that. [To reheat via the stove top, either steam for 2.5 hours or cook in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes at high pressure and reduce the pressure slowly.]
  8. once nuked and rested, turn out onto a plate, heat a small amount of brandy either in the microwave till its hot and giving off fumes, or you can do it the traditional way by putting brandy into a soup ladle and holding the soup ladel above a naked gas flame till you can smell fumes. Once the brandy is hot, pour over the pudding and set fire to it *immediately*. the flame will be low and blue, for best “ooohs!” and “aaahhhs!!!” and “wows!” turn the lights out. If you don’t wish to do this then just decorate with a sprig of holly to serve.

Best served with (and throw the scales out here) a hot sauce like hot punch sauce, rum sauce, or custard, and either cumberland rum or brandy butter, or both, and or double cream. Its once a year. splurge. its worth it. (and best of all any left overs can be nuked the following day.) Enjoy!
[I originally wrote these out for some american friends, but the hot punch sauce, rum sauce and brandy/rum butters recipes came from Delia’s christmas book, (and can now be found on her website, links to which i gave above) which really is worth getting, if only for the brandy/rum butter recipes alone. They charge a fortune for that stuff in the shops, when it costs a couple quid to make both, especially if you already have rum and brandy in the house!]