We have a baby on the way and nesting instincts arrive with little warning, my family being directed around like soldiers while I scour ebay for suitable changing tables/bags/baskets and cleanse the house with a frantic disposition. Poor planning (or divine intervention) means due date is dangerously near Christmas and as such, the festive flourish needs to happen sooner rather than later.
High on the list was making the Christmas pudding. I know, I know, supermarkets make lovely versions that can be microwaved in four minutes and can sit in the cupboard until next year if not wanted… but a homemade version is something we’ve always done. Like never buying white sauce or low fat yoghurt. Just one of those things.
So here we are, my luxuriously laden version that I’m convinced is the best I’ve ever eaten. Steam tomorrow and it will be ready to be reheated for the giant lunch and served with brandy cream (shop bought, if you are interested).
THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS PUDDING
PREP TIME – 25 MINUTES
COOK TIME – 7 HOURS
A little softened butter, for greasing
225g caster sugar
300g citrus peel
100g glace cherries
75g pistachios, roughly chopped
110g plain flour
110g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. mixed spice
Zest from 1 lemon
5 eggs, lightly beaten
FOR THE TOPPING
3 tbsp. apricot jam, melted
Zest of 1 clementine
A handful of toasted almonds, pecan nuts and glace cherries
1. Lightly grease a 1.2 litre pudding basin with softened butter and cut a small circle of parchment to place in the base of the pudding bowl.
2. Combine the sugar, suet, currants, raisins, citrus peel, cherries, pistachio, plain flour, breadcrumbs, spices and lemon zest in a very large mixing bowl.
3. Add the eggs, whiskey and Cointreau and stir all the ingredients together until well distributed and spoon the wet mixture into the pudding basin, pressing the mixture down with the back of a spatula. Place a round of baking parchment over the top of the mixture and then wrap with a layer of foil so that the basin is watertight. Secure with string.
4. Either put the basin in the pan of boiling water, to come halfway up the sides or in the top of a lidded steamer and steam for 6 hours, checking every so often that the water is topped up.
5. Cool your pudding and store, re - wrapped in foil for 6 weeks, until the big Christmas day.
6. Once ready to re-heat, steam the wrapped pudding – still in it’s basin - for a further 3 hours. To serve, remove from the basin and brush with warmed apricot jam. Decorate with cherries, nuts and clementine and serve, with a side of ice cream.