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Christmas Recipes

Christmas Pudding

There seems to be one standard recipe for 'traditional' Christmas pudding, as used by Delia, Anton Edelmann, and with minor variations by many others. The result is fairly traditional (more 'Waitrose' than 'M&S'), and is slightly spicy and not too rich. I suggest following Delia's recipe; a summary of the basic recipe is:
  • 120g shreddet suet (I use vegetarian suet)
  • 60g self-raising flour
  • 120g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice, 1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • 240g soft dark brown sugar
  • 480g dried fruit (mostly currants, with raisins & sultanas)
  • 30g mixed candied peel
  • 30g almonds, skinned & chopped
  • 1 small cooking apple, finely chopped
  • grated zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 140ml stout
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
Mix all the ingredients together in the order given, and leave to stand overnight. Then cook in a covered pudding basin in a pan of water. The recipe should make enough for one 2 pint baisin (feeds eight), or two 1 pint baisins etc. Cooking times:
2 pint basin8 hours
1 pint basin8 hours
0.5 pint basin6 hours
0.25 pint basin3-4 hours
You need to keep the puddings in the fridge for at least a week to mature. Otherwise they taste too raw and spicy.

Nigel Slater suggests using dried figs, to add a crunchy texture. You could also try some glacée cherries (add just before cooking) or pecan nuts etc. Next year I'll try reducing the amount of sugar by 30%, and using slightly less breadcrumbs.

Christmas Cake

I prefer a moist, dense Christmas cake that you get using the proportions shown below. A light crumbly cake would have less fruit and more flour. You can choose which fruit to use; I like to include dried apricots & prunes, and add extra hazelnuts. This quantity is for a 20cm round tin or 18cm square tin.

  • 1kg dried fruit; all except glacé cherries soaked overnight in brandy
  • 240g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp spices (e.g. mixed spice, nutmeg)
  • 240g unsalted butter
  • 240g light brown (muscavado) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 60g chopped nuts (e.g. almonds or hazelnuts)
  • 1 dsp black treacle
  • grated zest 1 lemon
  • grated zest 1 orange.
Cream together the butter and sugar, and slowly beat in the eggs. Gradually fold in the flour, salt & spice, and then mix in the fruit, treacle and citrus zest.

The fruit with its high sugar content needs protection from the heat, so line the tin first with brown paper and then with baking parchment.After transferring the mixture to the tin cover with more parchment. Bake for at least 4 hours at 140C; cool in the tin (to keep it moist).