The best Christmas pudding
- 175g sultanas
- 175g raisins
- 100g currants
- 50g dried cranberries
- 70ml rum (or brandy)
- 1 unwaxed lemon, washed and dried
- 1 orange, washed and dried
- 50g carrots, washed and grated
- 50g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 75g pecans
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 115g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 115g soft brown sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and add the rum or brandy.
Finely grate the zest of the lemon and orange. Squeeze the orange and measure 60ml juice – you may need a little extra. Add the zest, orange juice and grated carrot to the dried fruit mixture. Mix well.
Cover with cling film and leave for 2 hours. Sift together the flour and mixed spice. Grease a 1 litre pudding basin with a little butter. 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 that’s two or three days old). In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Add the fruit, flour and breadcrumb mixes to the mixing bowl. Ask everyone in the family to stir the mixture and make a wish. When thoroughly mixed, transfer to the pudding basin.
Cover the basin with a 32cm x 27cm piece of greaseproof paper. Make a pleat in the top to allow it to expand as it cooks. Tie the string tightly round the rim, then cover with foil, pressing it against the basin. Tie with more string. Put the pudding in a deep roasting tin and pour boiling water into the tin to a depth of 4cm.
Cover with 2 sheets of foil, tucking the edges tightly under the rim so no steam will escape. Cook in the oven for 4 hours. Check occasionally, topping up the water as necessary.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Remove the foil and greaseproof paper, then cover with fresh greaseproof paper and wrap in cling film.
To serve, microwave on full power for 4 minutes, or steam for 1 ½ hours.
Please drink responsibly. For the facts, visit drinkaware.co.uk.