If you want to try making your own Christmas pud this year, this recipe will give you a traditional and truly delicious version
- For the pudding
- 250g (8oz) each of raisins, currants and sultanas
- 100g (3½ oz) glacé cherries, halved
- 50g (1¾ oz) chopped mixed peel
- 100g (3½ oz) walnuts, chopped
- 250g (8oz) dark muscovado brown sugar
- 60g (2oz) plain flour
- 150g (5oz) breadcrumbs
- 250g (8oz) chopped suet
- 4 level tsp ground Christmas spice or mixed spice
- 2 medium eggs
- 200ml (7fl oz) cider
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
- 2 x 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding basins, buttered
- Holly sprigs, to decorate
- 3-4 tbsp brandy, to flame, or a few sparklers
- For the sauce
- 300ml (½ pint) milk
- 2 level tbsp cornflour
- 284ml carton double-cream
- 60g (2oz) caster sugar
- 4-6 tbsp brandy
Place raisins, currants, sultanas, cherries, mixed peel, walnuts, brown sugar, flour, breadcrumbs, suet and spice into a large bowl and mix well.
Lightly beat the eggs into the cider and add the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Stir cider mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Divide mixture between the pudding basins, pressing down so that it all fits. Cover with a double layer of baking parchment with a pleat in it and secure with string.
Place the puddings in the top of a steamer or use two steamers and place one pudding in each. Steam the puddings for 4½ to 5 hours, ensuring that the steamers don’t boil dry.
Remove puddings from steamers and leave to cool. Cover with fresh baking parchment and store in the fridge for up to three months.
Steaming is the best way to reheat the pudding, and helps the rich dark colour to develop. Steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs to reheat.
To make the sauce, blend 4tbsp milk with the cornflour. Bring the remaining milk to the boil, then stir in the slaked cornflour and simmer to form a sauce.
Stir in the double cream and caster sugar and simmer the sauce until the sugar has dissolved and it is the desired consistency. Stir in the brandy just before serving.
To flame the pudding: Place the pudding on a warmed plate, add holly on top and put on the table. Heat brandy in a saucepan, pour around base of pudding and ignite with a long match or taper. Or put the pudding on a plate, stick sparklers on top and light them when pudding is on the table. Not suitable for freezing.
Never carry a pudding while it's alight!