Christmas pudding is a matured fruity cake that is also known as plum pudding or figgy pudding.
Traditionally a six-pence coin was hidden inside in the Christmas pudding and whoever found it when eating was said to have good fortune, however we don't recommend doing this. The last thing you want is someone choking on a piece of metal over Christmas.
Most Christmas pudding recipes require preparation weeks before Christmas. In fact some puddings you find in the store would have been matured for 12 months or more which allows for a more intense flavour. Christmas pudding is possibly one of the worst things you can eat at Christmas time in terms of health but as it only comes round once per year so it can be enjoyed as a special treat.
Lighting the pudding on fire has a biblical meaning which represents christ. Traditionally there are 13 ingredients in the dessert which represent the 13 disciples. However many families simply enjoy turning the lights off and watching the flame around the Christmas pud as the brandy ignites.
- A mixture of raisins, dried apricots and sultanas (450g)
- Brandy (3tbsp)
- Orange juiced and finely grated rind (1)
- Soft butter (75g)
- Muscovado sugar (100g)
- Free-range eggs (2)
- Self-raising flour (100g)
- Mixed spice (1 tsp)
- Whole almonds roughly chopped (40g)
- White breadcrumbs (40g)
- Small cooking apple peeled and roughly chopped (1)
For the brandy butter
- Soft unsalted butter (100g)
- Brandy (3 tbsp)
- Sieved icing sugar (225g)
- Add the mixed fruit, apple and orange juice into a bowl and pour in the brandy to marinate for one hour.
- In another large bowl, put the sugar, grated orange and butter and cream together with a wooden spoon till light and fluffy. Slowly add in and beat the eggs and add some of the flour if it starts to curdle.
- Sift in the rest of the flour, mixed spice and fold into the butter mixture with breadcrumbs and nuts and then pour in the brandy fruit mixture and mix well.
- In a 1.4 litre pudding, generously spread the butter around the whole dish, cut a small disc of baking paper and press into the bottom of the dish.
- Pour in the mixture and press the mixture down until pushed together firmly. Cover with more parchment paper on top, then cover around the top with foil with enough overhang to tie the string tightly around it to avoid the mixture getting wet.
- Put a pan of water on boil around half full, put the pudding in with the string on top so you can easily remove the pudding. Boil for 4-5 hours, adding water to the pan if you need to.
- When the pudding is done, allow it to cool and turn over onto a plate, it should slide out of the pudding dish.
- For the brandy butter, add your butter to a bowl and beat it till smooth. Mix in the icing sugar and brandy and mix well until smooth; pour over the Christmas pudding when you are ready to serve.