Classic Christmas pudding
Prep: 15 Mins
Cook: 4 Hours 5 Mins
Plus time for fruit to soak
- 250g sultanas
- 250g raisins
- 150g currants
- 100g dried cranberries
- 100ml rum or brandy
- 75g carrots, grated
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- 2 oranges
- 75g self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp. mixed spice
- 175g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 100g pecans
- 150g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs
- To serve: 4tbsp rum or brandy
Put the sultanas, raisins, currants and cranberries in a bowl. Add the rum or brandy and set aside.
Finely grate the rind of the lemon and 1 orange. Squeeze both of the oranges and measure out 100ml of juice. Add the zest, orange juice and grated carrot to the dried fruit mixture.
Cover with clingfilm and leave to sit for 2 hours. Sift together the flour and mixed spice. Grease 2x 1-litre pudding basins. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3.
Finely chop the pecans and mix in a bowl with the breadcrumbs (best made with bread 2-3 days old). In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
To the eggs and sugar, add the fruit mix, flour and breadcrumb mixes. Stir well, until thoroughly mixed. Divide the mixture between the basins.
Cover the basins with baking paper, folded with a pleat across the top. Tie string tightly around the rim. Cover with foil and tie with more string. Put the puddings in a roasting tin, and pour boiling water into the tin to a depth of 3cm.
Cover the roasting tin with 2 sheets of foil and tuck the edges tightly under the rim. Cook in the oven for 4 hours. Check occasionally and top up the water as needed. Replace the foil if it rips.
Remove the puddings from the roasting tin and discard the paper and foil wrappings. Re-cover in new foil and leave to cool overnight. Store in a cool, dry place until needed.
To serve, reheat one of the puddings by steaming for 1 ½ hours or microwaving on high for 4 minutes. Warm the rum or brandy in a small saucepan and turn the pudding out onto a plate. Pour the alcohol over the pudding and set it alight. Serve with brandy butter or custard.