Christmas Pudding

This is the recipe which has been used in the family for almost as many years as I can remember. It is lighter in texture than a very traditional pudding, but the flavour is absolutely traditional. I’m afraid I don’t go in for weird and wonderful variations on Christmas recipes; the tradition is all part of the magic for me. The only important thing to remember about this recipe is that it won’t keep un-aided for months like the standard version. However, it does freeze very well.

Recipe: Christmas Pudding

Summary: Where would Christmas be without Christmas pudding? This is a traditional Christmas pud full of fruit and flavour.


  • 8oz / 225g breadcrumbs
  • 4oz / 110g vegetable/beef suet
  • 4oz / 110g plain flour
  • 2oz / 50g peeled chopped apples
  • 4oz / 110g sultanas
  • 4oz / 110g raisins (if very large, chopped)
  • 4oz / 110g currants
  • 1oz / 25g chopped mixed peel
  • ½oz / 10g flaked almonds
  • ½oz / 10g finely chopped crystallised ginger (or 1tsp ground ginger)
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 2oz / 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • strained juice of ½ orange and 1 lemon
  • 1½ floz / 34ml brandy/rum
  • 2+ cans Guinness/dark bitter


  1. Mince together the chopped mixed peel, flaked almonds and crystallised ginger (if you are using it).
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Beat the egg in a bowl and stir in the brandy and the citrus juices.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Blend together with either a wooden spoon or a clean hand. To be honest, the hand technique seems more effective if messier.
  5. Add Guinness until you have a soft dropping consistency. It should be quite sloppy.

    It looks too soggy, but don't worry!

    It looks too soggy, but don't worry!

  6. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave the mixture to soak overnight. By the next day the consistency will be thick and fairly firm.
  7. Pour into a well-greased 2lb / 900g pudding basin (use dairy-free spread for this). Cover the top of the mixture with a greased piece of greaseproof paper and make a foil covering for the basin. Tie string firmly round the basin and across the top to make a handle.
  8. Put the basin into a roasting tin with about 2-3″ / 5-7.5cm water in the tin. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 10 hours at Gas Mark 1 / 140°C / 275°F. Check the water level at intervals and top up as necessary.
  9. The pudding will need a further 4 hours’ steaming exactly as before on the day you wish to eat it.

Quick Notes

You can make this pudding up to about three weeks before Christmas. However, what we do is put it together on the evening of December 23rd, leave it to soak overnight to Christmas Eve, then cook it through the night to Christmas Day. This way you wake up on Christmas morning to a house which is softly scented of spices and fruit: all the best smells of Christmas. It goes superbly with Christmas White Sauce, or with a dollop of whipped double cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar for those members of the family who cannot bear to be deprived of their dairy intake.

Preparation time (duration): 45 minutes

Cooking time (duration): 14 hours

Diet type: dairy free and vegetarian (if you use vegetable suet)

Number of servings (yield): 12

Meal type: dessert

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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