Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding

How to Cook Desserts
Peter Cassidy

The dried fruit needs to be soaked overnight, ahead of steaming. You will need a 1 litre pudding basin.


Quantity Ingredient
60g mixed dried apricots and dried figs
1 lemon
50g raisins
30g currants
50g sultanas
20g chopped mixed peel
75ml brown ale
1/2 tablespoon rum
1 teabag
30g pitted prunes
60g butter, softened, plus extra to grease
1/2 small dessert apple
20g blanched almonds
85g soft dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon treacle
1 small egg, at room temperature
30g self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon ground mixed spice
pinch ground cinnamon
small pinch freshly grated nutmeg
small pinch ground ginger
small pinch salt
60g fresh white breadcrumbs


  1. Roughly chop the apricots and figs. Finely grate the zest from the lemon, then squeeze the juice from half the lemon. Put the raisins, currants, sultanas and peel into a bowl and add the ale, rum and lemon zest and juice. Make a pot of tea using the teabag and let cool. Put the prunes in a separate bowl and pour over the cold tea. Cover both bowls and leave to soak overnight.
  2. When ready to steam the pudding, grease the pudding basin with butter. Prepare the saucepan for steaming and the cover for the pudding.
  3. Drain the prunes, discarding the tea, then coarsely chop them and add to the fruit and beer. Grate the unpeeled apple and finely chop the almonds.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Stir in the treacle.
  5. Beat the egg and gradually add to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
  6. Sift the flour, spices and salt together over the mixture. Add the breadcrumbs and fold in with a large spoon. Stir in the nuts, dried fruit and soaking liquor.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and level the surface. Lay the greaseproof paper and foil cover on top and secure under the rim, leaving a string handle.
  8. Place the pudding basin on the trivet in the steamer and pour in enough boiling water to come at least halfway up the sides of the basin (not touching the foil). Place the pan over a medium heat and ensure the water is maintaining a steady boil.
  9. Put the lid on the pan and steam the pudding for 8 hours, checking the water level in the saucepan frequently and topping up with hot water to ensure it doesn’t burn dry.
  10. After 8 hours, lift the pudding carefully out of the steamer and remove the cover. Wearing oven gloves, invert a serving dish over the bowl and turn both over together. Give the basin a sharp shake, which should release the pudding onto the dish. Serve the Christmas pudding with brandy butter or custard.

A note on reheating…

  • Once the pudding is cooked it can be cooled intact, with the foil still on, and kept in a cool place for a few months. To reheat the pudding, steam it as above for 2–2½ hours.
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