I cannot quite decide whether it is the tradition of the making of the pudding or the eating of it that I enjoy the best.
Here at Ballyknocken, the stirring of the pudding was, and still is, a major family event. Needless to say, we experiment with the recipe in our cookery school and we have come up with an unusual but delicious version using a large dash of Guinness and a hint of cocoa. Yum!
Makes one two-pint pudding.
YOU WILL NEED
For steeping 100g raisins
75g mixed peel
4 tbsps dried apricots, finely diced
1 tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped
65ml Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur or brandy)
75g dark brown sugar To complete the pudding 45g caster sugar
30g flaked almonds
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
½ orange, zest and juice
75ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1 egg, beaten
75g suet or chilled butter, grated
Holly and berries, to decorate
Combine all of the steeping ingredients listed above, cover, and leave in a cool place for up to three days.
To make the pudding, mix the caster sugar, almonds, breadcrumbs, flour, cocoa powder and spices together into a large bowl. Stir in the steeped fruit.
Add the orange juice and zest, then stir in the beaten egg. Finally, gently mix in the suet or grated butter.
Spoon the mixture into a two- pint pudding bowl, then cover the bowl tightly with a well-fitting lid or a layer of baking parchment and foil.
Secure with some string, ensuring to cross the string over the top of the bowl. This forms a handle -- otherwise it is difficult to lift the steamed pudding from the saucepan later.
Place the bowl in a saucepan of hot water. The water should reach a level just below the lid of the bowl. Cover and simmer very gently for four hours. Keep topping up the water as required.
Allow to cool and store in a cool, dry place. Then, on Christmas Day, reheat the pudding by steaming it again for up to two hours.
Turn out the pudding and dust with icing sugar, then decorate with holly leaves and berries. Serve with orange cream.