Today is what we could call Stir-up Sunday and is the time to make the Christmas pudding, mincemeat and Christmas cake. This is the first year that I have done this, but since I have been meaning to for years, and now that I have broken through the barrier that was stopping me before, a new tradition [for me] has been born!
My Mother-in-law gave me a brilliant spherical mold a couple of years ago, and it is the perfect shape for a Christmas pudding. It has made many a ball shaped birthday cake, a spherical haggis and the foundation for a skull Pavlova one Halloween - a spherical mold is a vital piece of kitchen equipment - but this Christmas pudding has been its crowing product!
I used Tamasin Day-Lewis's recipe for Extravagant Christmas Pudding from her book Tamasin's Kitchen Bible. This is my favourite kitchen handbook and I can't recommend it highly enough. I added some dried cranberries, because I had them and they seemed to be the right thing to add, and adjusted some of the ingredients to suit what I had. I also ended up cooking two puddings because I had so much mixture, I did intend only to make one, but they keep and for a lot of people on Christmas day you might just need two. I actually had enough to make five individual ones in ramekins too . . . !
Extravagant Christmas Pudding
made 2 1L puddings
130g plain flour
cinnamon bark, mace, cloves and allspice, ground to make 3 teaspoons all together
1T grated ginger
130g each of sultanas, raisins, currants
75g dried cranberries
150g each of prunes, dried apricots and dates, chopped
300g dark muscavado sugar
75g each of Brazil nuts and almonds, chopped
130g brown breadcrumbs
2 apples, cored and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
110g beef suet, minced or chopped
200mL Guinness or another stout
juice and grated zest of an orange
Grease the mold or basin.
Sift the flour into a very large bowl then add the rest of the ingredients in the order given, and mix thoroughly. Add a little milk if necessary to make a soft batter. Fill the mold or basin to three quarters full and cover, with the lid or with a piece of greaseproof paper and foil that you had pleated together in the middle to allow room or expansion. Tie a piece of kitchen string securely around the basin making a handle as you do so. Place in a large pot, with a deep steamer insert if you have one or a trivet or a folded piece of foil to lift the pudding from the bottom. Add boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding and simmer for 7 hours, topping up with water if necessary.
Remove from the pan and take off the lid. Leave to cool then unmold and rewrap with greaseproof paper and foil and leave in an airy place until the day.
Resteam for 3 hours to serve.
Check Morsels and Musings for other Festive Food Fair fare.