Friday 5 November 2010

Grandma's Christmas pudding

Most years, I make my own Christmas pudding.

My husband is sensitive to red wine pigments so if we have a brought pudding we choose between him being ill or a poor quality pudding. In our experience, which isn't great, we gave up after a couple of samplings, non-alcoholic Christmas puddings contain inferior ingredients.

The recipe that I use came from my Grandmother who was given it by a friend. I don't think it is especially old as you will see from the ingredients. I've modified it a bit. This is what I call a "forgiving recipe". A forgiving recipe is one where many of the ingredients can easily be substituted for something else without a poor outcome! My children know that I often talk about "forgiving recipes".

The ingredients are all in Imperial measurements as the recipe doesn't give anything else. This converter helps with changing ingredients to metric or American cups. I usually cook in Imperial and thought that this was just because I'm old but recently found that my elder daughter also cooks in Imperial. Having cooked with my younger daughter, a few days later, I realised that it was much easier to ask her to find the 4oz or 8oz marks than the line three markings after the 100g. Over a few years, this probably becomes a habit.

1/2lb currants
1/2lb sultanas
1/2lb mixed peel
3 apples
1/2lb raisins
1/2lb cherries (I use rinse in hot water to remove the syrup from glace cherries)
1/4lb apricots or prunes-chopped
Large mixing bowl
Most of the dried fruit can be substituted as you wish. Grated carrots can be used instead of apples-we have lots of apples so I don't alter this.
Nuts can be used instead of 1/4lb dried fruit.

Method (1)
Soak the fruit in stout/coco-cola/orange juice over night. Stir from time to time.

We use orange juice. Not sure what the coco-cola would taste like. Sounds strange to me.

Next day, drain off excess juice. Don't throw the juice away-use it to soak the bread for bread and butter pudding. This makes the most excellent bread and butter pud.

Ingredients-day 2
6oz brown sugar
7oz self raising flour
3 large eggs
7oz bread crumbs
8oz vegetable suet
1 heaped teaspoonful of mixed spice

Method (2)
Mix fruit and dry ingredients-add wineglass of rum or sherry or orange juice. Mix well-not easy as the bowl is likely to be very full.
Place in 1 and 2lb pudding basins, cover with greaseproof paper followed by foil and tie with string.
Traditionally, these were boiled for hours in the kitchen which meant constant checking to ensure they didn't dry out and burn the saucepan. My Mother's generation used pressure cookers,maybe, I'm saying that because I'm a bit scared of pressure cookers!
Anyway, I find that a slow cooker is a great way to cook these. Once made they need to be cooked on high for 12 hours each. The recipe makes three puddings which needed to be cooked one at a time, immediately after they are completed.
Change the foil and greaseproof paper once cooked.
I store our puddings in the fridge as they don't contain alcohol although they do have a high osmotic pressure from all the fruit.

To re-heat, cook on high in the slow cooker for 3hours.
Please, please never try to reheat in the microwave-it leads to an unpleasant chewy pudding.

The pudding can be served with various sauces but we use a spicy sauce with orange juice.
Christmas pudding is very, very filling and leads to somnolence.

This is a great recipe to make with little children especially the weighing of dried fruit and stirring. There is a story in "My naughty little sister" called the "Bonfire pudding" which goes well with making Christmas pudding around 5th November although if making the non-alcoholic version it is better not made until December and kept in the fridge.


This is linked to the Holiday recipe linkup with the four Moms.


  1. Raisins soaked in cola are lovely. Sometimes I do it just for the sake of eating a few fat coke raisins...

  2. How long will it keep in the fridge?

  3. Would it be possible to freeze the pudding?

    1. I don't see why not but have never frozen one myself.