Traditional Christmas Pudding
This rich, dark pudding is better than any I have tasted.
Visit a butcher to buy fresh beef suet.
100g (2/3 cup) raisins
55g (1/3 cup) sultanas
95g (2/3 cup) currants
220ml (1 less 2 tbsp) water
35g (1/4 cup) dried figs (roughly chopped)
45g (1/4 cup) mixed peel
50g (1/4 cup) dried apricots (each cut into 4-6 pieces)
40g (1/4 cup) dried pineapple (roughly chopped)
45g (1/4 cup) preserved stem ginger in syrup (roughly chopped)
30g (1/4 cup) macadamia nuts (roughly chopped)
1/2 apple (peeled, cored and coarsley grated)
finely grated zest of 1 orange
105g (3/4 cup) flour (sifted)
95g (3/4 cup) fresh beef suet (chopped very finely or minced)
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp salt
75ml (5 tbsp) Cognac (or brandy)
45ml (3 tbsp) sherry
Cognac Creme Anglaise (see Whisky Creme Anglaise below and substitute Cognac for whisky)
- Lightly grease a 1.5-litre ceramic pudding bowl with butter or baking spray. If bowl has a lid, grease inside of lid.
- Roughly chop half the raisins and place in a medium-sized saucepan with remaining raisins, sultanas and currants. Add water. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8–10 minutes until all liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add figs, mixed peel, apricots, pineapple, stem ginger, macadamia nuts, apple and orange zest. Mix well and set aside.
- In a separate bowl rub flour and suet between your fingers until mixture resembles fine, fresh breadcrumbs. Add sugar, spices and salt and combine. Add flour mixture to fruit mixture. Stir well until fruit is coated.
- Place eggs in a bowl and lightly whisk. Add 45ml (3 tbsp) of Cognac measure and all the sherry and whisk together. Pour egg mixture into fruit mixture and stir well to combine. Place mixture in pudding bowl and smooth top. Cover with a lid, or cut 5 rounds of baking paper to generously cover top of pudding. Secure paper with culinary string. Trim off any excess paper around the edges. Crisscross 2 strands of string underneath pudding bowl to make a handle.
- Place a folded tea towel in the base of a large saucepan and sit pudding bowl on top. Pour in hot water to come two-thirds of the way up sides of bowl. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3½ –4 hours or until pudding is firm to touch and is beginning to darken around edges. Top up saucepan with hot water during cooking to retain water level of about two-thirds the depth of pudding bowl. Carefully lift pudding out of saucepan and remove paper. Leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour then invert onto a plate to cool completely.
- Wrap pudding in aluminium foil then in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 1 year. To reheat, lightly grease pudding bowl with melted butter. Totally unwrap pudding and place in bowl. Cover with lid or 4 layers of baking paper and secure with string. Reheat using the same method used for cooking but simmer for just 30–40 minutes or until pudding is hot through. To serve, invert pudding onto a presentation plate. Place remaining Cognac in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat until just warm. Using a long match or gas lighter, light Cognac and pour over the pudding. Serve at the table flaming with Cognac Creme Anglaise.
Whisky Creme Anglaise
You can turn this recipe into ice-cream by simply churning in an ice-cream machine. It's also very delicious served with the Springfield Pear Cake. I like to use a blended Famous Grouse whisky as the flavour needs to be smooth.
150ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 2 tsp) milk
150ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 2 tsp) cream
1/2 vanilla bean (split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out)
4 egg yolks
80g (8 tbsp) caster sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) whisky
Place milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a small, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point.
Place egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale and thick.
Slowly pour milk mixture over egg mixture while whisking continuously.
Return mixture to saucepan. Place over a gentle heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil as it will curdle.
Pour custard through a fine sieve to remove vanilla bean and any cooked egg white. Add whisky and stir to combine. Chill until required.