Get a head-start on Christmas

Get a head-start on Christmas

Hello and welcome to all about food. Please do not despair when you read the recipe for this week!

Though it is October, I make my Christmas cake, pudding and cranberry chutney now so that flavours have fully developed. It may be worth considering going a step further and making puddings as gifts for family or friends. There is something very personal and thoughtful about food gifts and this way you can greatly reduce the stress of Christmas shopping – especially for those impossible-to-buy-for friends we all have!

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

Do you have a tried and tested Christmas pudding recipe? In the past I’ve be disappointed with puddings that lack richness and depth of flavour.

Many thanks,

Margaret. Newcastle West

Hello Margaret,

Making Christmas pudding is a timely process so I can imagine the frustration of not getting perfect results after all your hard work. This recipe has been in my family for many years so I have no doubt that you won’t be disappointed.

Christmas Pudding

Serves 8 – 10

80g of self-raising flour

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

A pinch of ground cinnamon

120g of fresh breadcrumbs

120g of butter

160g of soft dark brown sugar

250g sultanas

350g raisins

40g of candied ginger

20g of cherries, halved

20g of almonds, peeled and chopped

1 small cooking apple, peeled and finely chopped

Zest and juice of half an orange

Zest and juice of half a lemon

2 eggs

50ml of milk

30ml of brandy

Cut two circles of greaseproof paper and two circles of foil four inches wider than the rim of a two pint pudding bowl. Grease the pudding bowl with butter and set aside the bowl and the paper.

In a very large mixing bowl mix together the sifted flour, salt and spices, add the butter and lightly rub into the flour with your fingertips until the butter is just mixed.

Add the breadcrumbs, sugar and fruit and blend well before stirring in the apple, orange and lemon zest.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs and stir in the milk, orange and lemon juice. Add to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Add the brandy and mix well once more. The mixture should have a sloppy consistency and should fall from the spoon.

Pack the mixture into the pudding bowl.

Cover with the double circles of greaseproof paper followed by the foil and tie securely with string under the bowl rim – I like to tie a piece of string across the top of the pudding to make a handle.

Place the pudding in a large saucepan. Pour in boiling water to come to a third of the way up the side of the pudding bowl. Cover and steam for four hours. Do make sure to keep an eye on the water level and top up with more boiling water from time to time.

When the pudding is steamed allow to completely cool then remove the papers and foil and replace with fresh ones. Tie with string and store in a cool, dark place until Christmas day.

On Christmas day: steam in the same way for 1 ½ hours. To flame, warm four tablespoons of brandy in a small pan, pour over the pudding and set alight.

Contact Gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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