FESTIVE RECIPE: Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding Recipe

Christmas (or Plum) Pudding is the rather Marmite-y (you either LOVE it or HATE it!) traditional end to any British Christmas dinner. But typical Christmas Pudding as it is now, is not what it was originally! It originated as a 14th century porridge called 'frumenty' that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. Perhaps not the type of dish you’d want for dessert nowadays! Anyway, here’s a tasty recipe from good housekeeping.com

Cooking Time: Preparation time 30 mins + overnight soaking and optional maturing, cooking time 4 hrs 30 mins

Serves: 10, medium difficulty

Ingredients:

150g raisins

150g sultanas

100g prunes, stoned and finely chopped

25g chopped mixed peel

100ml apple juice

50ml brandy (optional) or use 50ml extra apple juice

Butter, to grease

2 apples, about 150g, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

125g dark brown soft sugar

50g plain flour

50g fresh white breadcrumbs

1 large egg, beaten

25g vegetarian suet

Water

Equipment Needed: Large non-metallic bowl, spoon, pudding 900ml pudding basin, baking parchment, foil, string, heatproof saucer, large deep pan (with a tight fitting lid)

Put the dried fruit, mixed peel, apple juice and brandy (if using) into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir, then cover and leave at room temperature overnight to soak. Lightly grease a 900ml (11/2 pint) pudding basin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Put a 35.5cm (14in) square of foil on top of a square of baking parchment of the same size. Fold a 4cm (11/2in) pleat across the centre and set aside.

Add remaining ingredients to the soaked fruit, stirring well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared basin, pushing down to pack the mixture in and level the surface. Put the pleated foil and parchment square (foil-side up) on top of the basin and smooth down to cover. Using a long piece of string, tie securely under the lip of the basin and loop over again and tie to make a handle.

To cook, put a heatproof saucer in the base of a large, deep pan. Lower in the prepared pudding and pour in enough water (trying not to get any on top of the pudding) to come halfway up sides of basin. Cover pan with the lid, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 41/2hr, topping up the water as necessary.

If serving immediately, carefully lift pudding out of pan by the handle and leave to stand for a few minutes. Remove lid, invert pudding on to a plate, peel off baking parchment disk and serve.