Christmas Pudding

It can be hard to find a Christmas pudding that doesn’t have alcohol or eggs in it. I found this recipe on a blog called Not Just Green Fingers – I can’t claim it as my own but I wanted to share it as I was very pleased with it when I made it last year. I have slightly reduced the quantity of citrus and nutmeg.

I used a one litre ceramic pudding bowl but you could also buy a plastic lidded container to steam a pudding in. I got one as a wedding gift from John Lewis and it was very reasonably priced. This pudding needs to be steamed for six hours so it’s something to do when you’re at home for the day. It can be steamed in about two hours in a pressure cooker but I haven’t ever tested this. This recipe serves 4-6.

85g plain flour

85g soft brown sugar

85g vegetable suet

85g grated apple

1 small carrot, grated

Half a lemon, zest and juice

Half an orange, zest and juice

455g mixed dried fruit

45g breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon mixed spice

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon golden syrup

6 -7 tablespoons milk or plant-based milk

You will also need baking paper and some string or wool

  1. Add the flour, sugar, suet, spices, breadcrumbs and dried fruit to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Zest, then juice both the lemon and orange into the mixture. Peel and grate the carrot and the apple, adding to the rest of the ingredients, followed by the milk and golden syrup.
  3. Mix thoroughly and scrape into a greased pudding bowl.

Pudding 2

4. If you are using a ceramic pudding bowl rather than a lidded plastic one, cut two 12 inch squares of baking paper, putting one on top of the other. Fold a pleat in the middle.

Pudding 3

5. Put the baking paper over the top of the bowl – it’s easiest if you get someone to hold it in place while you tie a piece of wool around the bowl, roughly where the Equator would be on the bowl. (Yes, that’s right – that’s the Doctor’s hands making a guest appearance in the photo below.)

Pudding 4

Pudding 5

6. The pudding bowl was the right size for me to steam it in a stack of steamer saucepans but you can also do it in a large pot. You can balance the bowl on a small ramekin but Nigella Lawson says this isn’t necessary – she is right that the rattling is irritating. If you don’t bother with the ramekin, just make sure the water isn’t so high that it seeps into the pudding – it seems safest to very carefully add some boiling water once the pudding bowl is in place. Keep an eye on it to make sure the water doesn’t all boil away.

7. Allow to cool before inverting the pudding basin to remove the pudding. You can re-heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard. Or all three if your family is anything like mine.