Traditional British Christmas Pudding

Courtesy David Ross/

l lb. of each: raisins, currants, golden raisins, breadcrumbs, brown sugar
8 oz. suet
4 oz. each: mixed peel, glace cherries chopped, almonds chopped
1 each: lemon – grate rind, orange – grate rind, carrot – grated, apple – grated
1 tbs. flour
1 tsp. mixed spice
Pinch salt
6-8 eggs
10 oz. stout (bottle) or dark beer (Guiness is good)
OR 5 ozs. each: brandy and milk
Mix dry ingredients first then mix with lightly beaten eggs & liquid. Grease the bottom of a bowl large enough to hold pudding and press mixture into it. Place wax paper over the top and then foil over that, crimping it around the edges to keep firm. Either cook for 2 hours in pressure cooker with about 2 inches water or put in pan with water on stove for 4 hours. Keep checking water in pan to prevent burning. Store well wrapped for as long as possible for better flavor. Some people make them one year to eat the next. Serve with hot custard, cream, or brandy sauce.

Why steam for so long? Christmas puddings are quite dense because of all the fruit, nuts, etc. they contain. Steaming is the best method of cooking because it allows a slow cooking which ensures a moist and palatable result (cakes being less dense can cook for less time and still remain moist, so baking is the best method). If you used a faster cooking method for a Christmas pudding you would get a crusty pudding. A pudding steamed for 2 hours, rather than 4, would probably still have some uncooked mixture in the center. So, while the cooking time obviously depends on the size of the pudding. (This is when it is cooked on the stove – not the pressure cooker)
Related: Quick Christmas Pudding
Recipe used by kind permission of Hazel Whyte

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