Move aside Christmas yule log cake, it’s all about the Christmas pudding. There is no denying that traditional Christmas pudding is a big contender when it comes to the endless selection of mouth-watering Christmas cakes to indulge in during the festivities. One of the oldest desserts, steeped in history, synonyms withChristmas tradition, it is often described as a cross between a fruitcake and a haggis, set on fire.
For many of us, a good old fashioned Christmas pudding is what we’ve grown up with, making its debut every year, regardless of your love/hate relationship with the infamous Christmas pud! Most UK households will have seen an appearance of this Christmas dessert over the years, whilst some of you may honour the joy of Christmas baking this classic every single year for your loved ones to relish. Maybe you’ve never tasted the pud, and this is the year you’re finally going to tuck into this delicious delicacy. You might even be trying to bake your first one and impress your loved ones or the big ‘Bake Off’ fanatic friend in your life.
We’ve put together an easy recipe to follow, a checklist of baking equipment and some other handy hints and tips to help you create the ultimate Christmas pudding.
Christmas pudding bakeware checklist
Before you start baking your pudding masterpiece, you’ll need the following:
Pudding basin – you can choose to use either a ceramic one, our Mason Cash Pudding Basin is perfect, or a plastic lidded pudding basin.
Bowl and mixing dish - needed for steeping the fruit and mixing all ingredients before adding to the pudding basin.
Wooden spoon – used for mixing all the ingredients together and for creating those magical Christmas moments where everyone in the house takes a turn to stir the ingredients with a spoon and make a wish! (we love this tradition).
Greaseproof paper – this is needed to cover the top of the pudding while it’s in the oven or steaming pot, and is needed for both a ceramic and plastic pudding basin.
Kitchen foil – you’ll need to cover up the pudding basin before popping it in the oven or on the cooker.
String – this will ensure the Christmas pudding is wrapped up nice and tight, so it will cook well.
Saucepan orroasting dish – you can choose to cook the pudding in a deep saucepan or in a roasting dish in the oven.
Christmas songs andmulled wine (optional) – seriously though, we can’t think of a better time to sing your heart out to ‘Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ and drinking mulled wine while baking the Christmas pudding.
Add the currants, sultanas and prunes into a bowl. Pour sherry into this mix and shake the bowl a bit before adding cling film to cover the bowl and leave it to steep overnight for a few nights or up to a week.
When the fruit has fully steeped, the real baking starts. Butter the inside of a ceramic or plastic pudding basin, adding a generous amount all over. You’ll need to add butter to greaseproof paper to cover the top of the basin before you pop it in the oven or in a saucepan later on.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the vodka) into a large mixing bowl and give all of these ingredients a really good stir with a wooden spoon. Share some of the stirring duty with loved ones, they can make a wish while they stir, who doesn’t love this Christmas tradition.
Next is adding the steeped fruits, make sure to scrape in every last bit. Stir well, ensuring all the ingredients are being mixed thoroughly.
Scrape out the final mixture into the prepared pudding basin, patting it down with the wooden spoon, levelling it out. Cut out greaseproof paper with extra space for it to pour out over the top of the basin, add butter one side and place it on top of the basin. Add tinfoil on top of this greaseproof paper, before tying a string around the top rim of the basin, holding both layers together. Once the string is secured tightly, place the pudding basin in a saucepan filled halfway with boiling water and steam for 5-6 hours. Remember to top the saucepan up with water as required, so it doesn’t boil out. Keep the water at a gentle shimmer throughout cooking.
After the 5-6 hours of steaming, take the basin out of the saucepan and store in a dry place in the kitchen.
On Christmas Day, rewrap the top of the pudding basin with tin foil and steam for a further 1-2 hours. To serve, take the basin out of the saucepan, place a plate on top, turn it upside down and give the plastic basin a little squeeze to help unmold the pudding. Heat some vodka or brandy in a small saucepan, before pouring it on the pudding and lighting it on fire - Voilà - your Christmas pudding is ready to be devoured with whatever topping you want (fresh cream or custard) to give it that extra kick!
Christmas pudding hints and tips
The longer you cook the pudding, the darker and richer it will become, making it extra delicious.
If you’re well organised and baking a Christmas pudding weeks before the big day, add a splash of alcohol to it each week to keep it moist.
When adding liquor to the fruits for them to be soaked overnight, sherry, brandy, whiskey or rum are the best choices.
The longer you leave the fruits soaked with liquor before you start baking the Christmas pud, the fruit will be more flavorsome when eating the pudding.
Traditionally, custard or fresh cream are served as the Christmas pudding topping, why not try an alternative like a honeycomb, cranberry or vanilla ice cream, Baileys liqueur or Baileys custard, caramelized pistachio pecan garnish, cranberry sauce, or even some orange marmalade to give it a twist.
Think of how proud as punch you’ll be on Christmas day serving up your very own homemade traditional Christmas pudding and warming not only the hearts, but the bellies of your guests.