Christmas Pudding

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Last Sunday was Stir Up Sunday, the traditional day for making your Christmas Pudding and getting all the family involved in having a stir and making a wish. I spent my childhood hating Christmas pudding. Every year my Mum or my Grandma would make a huge batch of puddings and distribute the little pots around the family. I was far more interested in eating the custard from around it, or better yet, the cinnamon flavoured ice-cream stars we always had when we were young.

Now, however, nothing smells or tastes more Christmassy than a good wedge of pud.

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 Becca and I had a Stir up Saturday this year, getting ahead of the game with our Christmas baking. We baked our Christmas cake at the same time (recipe coming soon!) so as you can imagine, Becca’s little Hong Kong apartment smelt amazing!

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What do you think of our wish faces!?

Making the pudding is actually incredibly easy. The only trouble we had was finding suet in Hong Kong. I’m kicking myself for not bringing a box back from home. We went to 4 supermarkets before finding the extortionately over priced box. For any HK bakers on the lookout, head to Jason’s in Hysan Place, Causeway Bay. It’s stocked at the end of the dried goods aisle, with the stuffing mix!

The fruits should have been soaked overnight, but we forgot all about that step so our fruit had a measly 2 hours soaking while we worked on the Christmas cake, whose fruit sadly had even less time in it’s brandy bath.

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This recipe makes one family sized pudding. It doesn’t look very large, but remember no one wants more than a little slice after the feast of Christmas dinner, so this rich, dense little pud will happily serve 8 – 10.

Christmas Pudding

(from britishfood.about.com)

Ingredients

450g dried mixed fruit; you can buy the pre-mixed bags, or mix up some raisins, sultanas and currants

25g mixed candied peel, finely chopped

1 Small apple, peeled, cored and grated

Zest and juice of 1/2 orange

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

4 tablespoons brandy

55g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon ground mixed spice

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

110g shredded suet

110g soft, dark brown sugar

110g white breadcrumbs

25g chopped almonds

2 large eggs

Method

Firstly, you need to soak the dried fruit in brandy. Place the dried fruit, apple, mixed peel, orange juice and lemon juice into a bowl. Cover with the brandy, give it a good stir. Cover with a cloth and leave to soak for a few hours, or preferably overnight.

Stir the flour and spices together in a large bowl. Stir in the suet, bread crumbs, orange and lemon zest and nuts. Gently fold in the pre-soaked dried fruit. Finally, lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add them to the dry ingredients and mix well until fully combined.

Lightly grease a 2 1/2 pint pudding basin.

Pour the mixture into the basin.

Cover with a double layer of grease proof paper. Cover the whole of the top of the pudding basin with tin foil. Tightly secure it with string. Loop a double length of string through both sides of the this string to make a handle. This will help you get the pudding in and out of the pan later.

Place a saucer upside down in the bottom of a large saucepan. Sit the pudding on top. Pour water in to just over half way up the basin. Cover and steam for 7 hours, keeping a close eye to ensure it doesn’t boil dry.

After cooking, cool completely. Take over the old paper. Prick the top of the pudding and pour over a little more brandy.  Recover with fresh greaseproof paper.

Store in a cool dry place until Christmas day to allow the flavours to develop. To reheat the pudding, steam in the same way for 1 hour.

Serve with brandy cream or steamy hot custard.

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