Christmas Pudding

"Oh! All that steam! The pudding had just been taken out of the cauldron. Oh! That smell! The same as the one which prevailed on washing day! It is that of the cloth which wraps the pudding. Now, one would imagine oneself in a restaurant and in a confectioner's at the same time, with a laundry nest door. Thirty seconds later, Mrs. Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a cannon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre. Oh! The marvelous pudding!"
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

No need to introduce this traditional British Christmas dessert, Dickens says it all!

Recipe for one pudding, make the pudding a couple of month in advance:
  • 225g/8oz golden caster sugar
  • 225g/8oz vegetarian suet
  • 340g/12oz sultanas
  • 340g/12oz raisins
  • 225g/8oz currants
  • 110g/4oz candied peel, chopped
  • 110g/4oz plain flour
  • 110g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 55g/2oz flaked almonds
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tsp mixed spice
  • 5g/1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 150ml/5fl oz brandy
Lightly grease a 4x600ml/1 pint pudding basins.

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Stir in the beaten eggs and brandy and mix well. Spoon the mix into the pudding basins. Put a circle of baking parchment and foil over the top of each basin and tie securely with a piece of string. Put the basins in a large pot lined with few up side down ramekins at the bottom and pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls, cover with a lid. Steam for 5-6 hours, topping the boiling water up from time to time.

Cool. Change the baking parchment and foil covers with fresh ones and close them as previously. Store in a dry, cool place until Christmas Day.

On Christmas day steam for 2 hours and serve with brandy butter.

Vegetarian, lactose free, suitable for pregnant women.