Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding

The Tivoli Road Baker
one 1.2 litre pudding
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

I love Christmas pudding, although it is a bit strange eating it during the Australian summer. I usually keep one or two aside to warm up on a particularly foul winter’s day. Here we’ve kept the traditional flavours of Christmas pudding and added some local touches with macadamias and candied cumquats. Macadamias have an almost meaty texture, and I really like them through this pudding. Melbourne is full of cumquats in late winter and our customers bring them into the bakery, picked off their trees, for us to candy.

There are a lot of ingredients to gather for this recipe, but it’s actually very simple to make, and the result is extremely satisfying come Christmas Day.


Quantity Ingredient
125g raisins
100g sultanas
200g currants
65g prunes, pitted and chopped
65g dates, pitted and chopped
75g cooking apple, peeled and cored, in 1 cm (½ in) dice
60g coarse sourdough breadcrumbs, or any kind of coarse breadcrumb
50g self-raising
125g dark brown sugar
25g see method for ingredients, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted
15g almonds, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
15g macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
75g suet, coarsely grated (ask your butcher for this)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 nutmeg, freshly grated
pinch ground allspice
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground clove
2 large eggs
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
15g treacle, use honey if unavailable
25ml pedro ximenez
75ml stout
30ml armagnac
50ml brandy, to flambé when serving (optional)


  1. Combine the raisins, sultanas, currants, prunes, dates, apple, breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, cumquats, slivered and chopped almonds, macadamias, suet and spices in a large mixing bowl and stir well until thoroughly combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, treacle, Pedro Ximenez, stout and Armagnac and mix well.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit mixture and use a large spoon to stir it all through, ensuring all the fruit and nuts are well combined and the liquid and spices are evenly distributed. You will have a wet, sloppy mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature, overnight. The breadcrumbs, flour and fruit will soak up the liquids, so by the following day your mixture should be firmer, with only a little free liquid left in the bowl.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Cut two discs of baking paper – one the diameter of the base of the bowl, and one the diameter of the top. Lightly grease a 1.2 litre (41 floz) pudding bowl and place the small disc of baking paper in the bottom.
  5. Give the pudding mixture a good stir, then pour it into your prepared basin. Place the large disc of baking paper over the top, then cover the top of the pudding bowl in several layers of foil, tying it tightly in place with a piece of string.
  6. Fill and boil the kettle. Place the pudding bowl in a large, deep saucepan that will contain the bowl. Pour boiling water around the bowl, up to three-quarters of the height of the bowl. Put the lid on the pan or cover well with foil, and cook in the oven for 4 hours. Check the water from time to time, and top up if necessary to ensure the water level is maintained.
  7. Remove the pudding from the oven, leaving the bowl in the larger pot. Set aside until completely cool.
  8. Wrap the bowl well in plastic wrap and store it in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Every couple of months, unwrap the pudding and sprinkle a little brandy or Armagnac over the top. Re-wrap it before storing again. This will keep the pudding moist and add to the final flavour.
  9. On Christmas Day, remove the plastic wrap then cover the top with several layers of foil and tie it with string, as you did when it was first cooked. Gently steam the pudding in a steamer basket or saucepan, immersed in boiling water again, for 1 hour, until warmed through.
  10. Turn the pudding onto a plate, pour over the brandy and set the pudding alight. Serve with your favourite accompaniment: custard, clotted cream or brandy butter.

Bakery notes

  • In keeping with the heady indulgence of yuletide festivities this pudding is laden with alcohol – and for good reason. Pedro Ximenez is a sweet sherry with rich raisin and currant flavours that perfectly complement the spiced fruit. Stout brings a richness and deep chocolatey notes, and Armagnac lends a boozy Christmas cheer to the finished pudding. You can alter the fruits, nuts and alcohol to your taste – just keep the quantities the same to achieve a nice consistency.
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