Melissa’s Classic Christmas Pudding
Makes: Two 1.2 Litre/2 Pint Puds (Each Serves 8)
Time: Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 8 hours, plus 1 hour cooking on the day
Ingredients (for the pudding):
50g blanched almond
2 large Bramley cooking apple
200g box candied peel (in large pieces) or all citron if you can find it
1 whole nutmeg (you’ll use three quarters of it)
140g plain flour
100g soft fresh white breadcrumb
100g light muscovado sugar, crumbled if it looks lumpy
3 large egg
2 tbsp brandy or cognac, plus extra to flame
250g packet butter taken straight from the fridge
Ingredients (For the brandy and ginger butter):
175g unsalted butter softened
Grated zest of half an orange
tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp brandy or cognac
2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
- Get everything prepared. Chop the almonds coarsely. Peel, core and chop the apples. Sharpen your knife and chop the candied peel. (You can chop the almonds and apples in a food processor, but the peel must be done by hand.) Grate three quarters of the nutmeg (sounds a lot but it’s correct). Mix all the ingredients for the pudding, except the butter, in a large bowl.
- Holding the butter in its wrapper, grate a quarter of it into the bowl, then stir everything together.Repeat until all the butter is grated, then stir for 3-4 minutes – the mixture is ready when it subsides slightly after each stir. Ask the family to stir too, and get everyone to make a wish.
- Generously butter two 1.2 litre/ 2 pint bowls and put a disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each. Pack in the pudding mixture. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, pleating it to allow for expansion, then tie with string (keep the paper in place with a rubber band while tying). Trim off any excess paper.
- Now stand each bowl on a large sheet of foil and bring the edges up over the top, then put another sheet of foil over the top and bring it down underneath to make a double package (this makes the puddings watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan.Watch our video to see how to tie up a pudding correctly.
- Boil or oven steam the puddings for 8 hours, topping up with water as necessary. Remove from the pans and leave to cool overnight. When cold, discard the messy wrappings and re-wrap in spanking new greaseproof or baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.
- To make the brandy butter, cream the butter with the orange zest and sugar. Gradually beat in the brandy or cognac and chopped ginger. Put in a small bowl, fork the top attractively and put in the fridge to set. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
- On Christmas Day, boil or oven steam for 1 hour. Unwrap and turn out. To flame, warm 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small pan, pour it over the pudding and set light to it.