Friday 18 August 2017

Georgina Campbell's traditional Christmas pudding

Makes two, two-pint (one-litre) puddings, each serving eight



YOU WILL NEED

350g/12oz raisins

225g/8oz currants

225g/8oz sultanas

100g/4oz glacé cherries

100g/4oz candied peel

75g/3oz blanched, slivered almonds

14oz/400g fresh white breadcrumbs

1 large carrot, about 6oz/185g, scraped

and coarsely grated

1 large Bramley apple, 6-8oz/175-225g, peeled and finely chopped or coarsely grated

1 small coffeespoon salt

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon

l tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp finely grated nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

225g/8oz grated butter or shredded suet

225g/8oz Demerara sugar

2 tbsps black treacle

100ml/4fl oz whiskey, rum or brandy

4 eggs, lightly whisked

Method

Check through the dried fruit and remove any stalks or pieces of grit. Wash, dry and halve the cherries. If using whole candied peel, cut up finely with a very sharp knife. Blanch and sliver the almonds. Remove the crusts from a day-old white loaf and make crumbs in a food processor or blender.

Peel and grate the carrot and apple. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, including the butter, carrot, apple and grated lemon and orange zests. Warm the treacle slightly in the microwave or a small pan to make it runny, then add the orange and lemon juice, the whiskey, rum or brandy and the lightly beaten eggs. Mix the liquids well, add to the pudding mixture and stir to mix thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a cool place overnight. Next day, butter two, two-pint/one-litre pudding basins and put a buttered disc of greaseproof paper in the base of each. Also prepare buttered double greaseproof circles a little larger than the top of the bowls and double plain greaseproof circles about 4in/10cm bigger than the top of the bowls. Give the mixture a good stir, spoon into the prepared bowls and tap sharply on the worktop to eliminate air pockets.

Smooth down the top with the back of a tablespoon, cover with the smaller buttered circles of greaseproof paper and tuck in neatly around the edge, then lay over the larger pieces and tie down firmly with good string — allow enough for a handle, if possible, as it will be much easier and safer to handle the hot puddings later on. Trim the excess paper a bit if it is very bulky, then top off with a piece of foil and tuck it firmly under the rim of the bowl. Cook, then reheat on Christmas Day by steaming/boiling for a further two to three hours.

Alternatively, reheat slices in the oven, covered in tinfoil — and any leftovers are delicious reheated in a pan, with some brandy or rum butter.

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