Best of the best Christmas pudding

Best of the best Christmas pudding
  • Serves icon Serves 6-10
  • Time icon Hands-on time 20 min, plus overnight soaking. Steaming time 4 hours, plus 2 hours to reheat

“Love it or hate it, Christmas pudding is THE pudding of the festive season,” says Pollyanna Coupland. “Inspired by my granny’s recipe, this one is intensely fruity and deeply spiced – the best Christmas pudding you’ll ever make.” Get all the juice details on what makes this pud a winner in Pollyanna’s ultimate Christmas pudding guide.

Celebrate Stir-up Sunday in November with more traditional make-ahead recipes.

Nutrition: Per serving (for 10)

Calories
594kcals
Fat
24g (14g saturated)
Protein
5.8g
Carbohydrates
84g (64g sugars)
Fibre
4.9g
Salt
0.2g
Calories
594kcals
Fat
24g (14g saturated)
Protein
5.8g
Carbohydrates
84g (64g sugars)
Fibre
4.9g
Salt
0.2g

Ingredients

  • 150g raisins
  • 150g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 60g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 110g soft prunes, pitted and halved
  • 60g glacé cherries
  • 140ml brown ale
  • 1 banana (ideally brown)
  • Grated zest and juice 1 orange
  • 170g plain flour
  • 85g soft brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 85g brioche, whizzed into breadcrumbs
  • 110g beef suet
  • 2 medium free-range eggs

For the brandy butter

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp brandy, plus extra to set the pudding alight

Specialist kit

  • 1.5 litre pudding basin
  • Butcher’s string

Method

  1. Put the dried fruit and glacé cherries in a bowl, then pour in the brown ale. Stir, then cover and leave to steep overnight.
  2. The next day, peel and mash the banana with a fork until smooth, then mix into the bowl of fruit with the orange zest and juice. Add the remaining pudding ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon (clockwise while making a wish and getting the family involved, if you fancy).
  3. Grease the pudding basin with butter. Lay out a sheet of baking paper with a sheet of foil the same size on top. Fold both in half, then take the top half and fold all but around 3cm of it back to leave a small pleat. Pour the pudding mixture into the basin, smooth the top, then cover with the paper, ensuring the foil is on the outside and the pleat runs down the centre (the pleat will let it expand if it needs to). Shape the foil tightly round the edge of the bowl, then secure it in place with a loop of butcher’s string. Tie another loop of string to either side of the basin to create a handle, then trim off any excess paper with scissors.
  4. To steam the pudding, use a large lidded saucepan with an upturned saucer in the bottom to create a trivet. Put the pudding on top of the saucer, then carefully fill the pan with just-boiled water from the kettle to halfway up the basin. Cover the pan, put over a low-medium heat and steam for 4 hours, topping up the water every hour or so. Once steamed, remove the foil and paper, let the pudding dry off and cool, then cover in new foil and paper and store in a cool dark place until Christmas.
  5. To reheat, steam the pud as before for another 2 hours. Meanwhile, to make the brandy butter, beat the icing sugar bit by bit into the softened butter, followed by the brandy a spoonful at a time. Don’t add the brandy too quickly or it might split the mixture.
  6. To serve, turn the lights down low and briefly warm a little brandy in a pan. Ladle it over the pudding and set alight.

delicious. tips

  1. Once steamed, the pudding will keep for months if stored covered in a cool, dark place – in fact it tastes better after a little ageing.

Recipe By

Pollyanna Coupland

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