Now that Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night are behind us, it’s time to turn our attention to the joys of Christmas baking!
Naturally, the first things to be made are the pudding, cake and wonderful home made mincemeat – all the flavours of Christmas!
I always start with the puddings as they need a few weeks for all of the lovely flavours to mature. If you have never made Christmas puddings before, maybe because you thought they were too much trouble or too challenging then I want to encourage you to give it a go. The list of ingredients is quite long but it is simply a matter of weighing them out, ticking them off as you go so nothing gets forgotten and left out, and mixing it all together – what could be easier than that!
- 75g (3oz) Fresh White Breadcrumbs
- 75g (3oz) Self Raising Flour
- 100g (4oz) Shredded Suet
- 200g (8oz) Dark Brown Soft Sugar
- 450g (1 lb) Mixed Dried Fruits (Currants, Sultanas and Raisins)
- 25g (1oz) Candied Peel
- 25g (1oz) Flaked Almonds
- 1 small Cooking Apple - peeled, cored and finely chopped or grated
- 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 Orange - finely grated Zest only
- 1 Lemon - finely grated Zest only
- 200ml (7floz) Stout
- 2 tablespoons Brandy
- Grease 2 x 1 pint pudding basins and place a small circle of greaseproof paper into the bottom of each one - this will make sure that your pudding turns out perfectly!
- Measure the stout into a jug and add the eggs and the brandy, and mix together.
- Leave this to one side while you measure all the other ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix all of these together thoroughly (I usually use my hands for this to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed) then add the stout, eggs and brandy mixture.
- Now give the pudding a really good mix with a wooden spoon and get all of the family members together to give it a stir and make a wish too!
- If you like to follow the tradition of adding coins to your pudding then wrap them in greaseproof paper and add them to the mix.
- Divide the mixture between the two pudding basins then cover each one with a double sheet of greaseproof paper topped with a sheet of aluminium foil and tie securely with string.
- Place the puddings into a steamer or a large pan with enough water to come halfway up the side of the basin and cook for 7 hours. Keep a careful eye on the level of the water as they cook and keep topping it up as necessary to make sure the pan doesn't boil dry.
- When cooked and cooled, remove the foil and greaseproof paper and enjoy the delicious smell before covering again with fresh greaseproof paper and foil.
- Keep the puddings in a cool, dark place until Christmas day when you can reheat them by steaming for 2 hours.
- You can use this recipe in exactly the same way to make 1 large pudding instead of the 2 smaller ones - just steam for an extra hour, so 8 hours in total.