Christmas Pudding

Makes 3 medium-sized pudding basins. Adjust quantities accordingly

225g (8oz) soft brown sugar

350g (12oz) currants

700g (1½ lbs) raisins

Grated rind and juice of an orange

Grated rind and juice of a lemon

A grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon mixed spice

¼ bottle of brown ale or stout

350g (12oz) suet

175g (6oz) skinned almonds

6-8 eggs

4fl oz brandy or rum

350g (12oz) white breadcrumbs

  • Cut almonds into bit-sized pieces. Make breadcrumbs. Mix all the dry ingredients well then add the eggs, the zest and juice of the orange and lemon, beer and lastly the brandy. This should now be quite moist. Leave overnight covered with a wet tea towel to stop the moisture evaporating. In the morning comes the ritualistic “stir-up” by every member of the family – each wishing in secret. Cut out a small circle of parchment paper and place in the bottom of the basin. Put the mixture into the pudding basin(s), leaving ¾in from the top. Cover with parchment paper then foil tied down with string.

Put into a pan with boiling water to come half way up the bowl, put lid on the pan and bring back to the boil and simmer for 30 mins, then transfer to a simmering oven to slowly steam away for six hours or longer.

To store until Christmas, take off the foil and greaseproof and replace with new. On Christmas Day, bring to the boil in water as before, cover and simmer for two hours. Turn out on to a large enough plate to be able to pour over previously warmed brandy. Serve with your preference – brandy butter or thick cream.

If you want to put in money this must be done ONLY just before the final boil on Christmas morning. Remove the cold pudding from the bowl, well wrap the money in foil and poke into the sides and top of the pudding and return to the bowl. Only silver can be used, never copper as the acid from the fruit will be disastrous.

Gallery: Lambing 2021

One of the highlights of the farming year, lambing season is a challenging but joy-filled time for Britain’s farmers. View our gallery and share your lambing photos!
See photos
See more