Is Christmas Pudding On Your Menu?

WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh

PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson

The festive season wouldn't be the same without a traditional Christmas pudding.

Topped with rich custards and flavoured creams, it is the perfect dessert to top of a big meal. My favourite thing about puddings is that they keep well. They can last for months in the fridge (if stored correctly) and can be the dessert the keeps on giving! I also love the drama of lighting the brandy at the very end - it always brings a touch of glamour to your meal!


  • 110g shredded suet; you can use vegetarian
  • 110g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1/4 level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Good pinch ground cinnamon
  • 225g soft dark brown sugar
  • 110g sultanas
  • 110g raisins
  • 275g currants
  • 25g whole candied peel, finely chopped
  • 25g whole almonds chopped (it is okay to leave the skin on)
  • 1 small cooking apple cored and finely chopped (no need to peel)
  • Grated zest 1/2 navel orange
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 75ml stout
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50g self raising flour, sifted


  1. Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding.
  2. Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together and then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, peel and buts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests.
  3. In a small basin measure out the rum, barely wine and stout, then add eggs and beat these together thoroughly.
  4. Pour this over all the other ingredients and begin to mix very thoroughly.
  5. The mixture should have a fairly watery consistency - this is good. If you think it needs more liquid, add a spot more stout.
  6. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
  7. Next day stir in the sifted flour quite thoroughly, then pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double layer of baking parchment and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you'll need to borrow someone's finger for this!).
  8. It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan filled with simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours.
  9. Make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water straight form the kettle about halfway through the time.
  10. When the pudding is steamed, let it get quite cold, and then remove the baking parchment and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easy manoeuvring. 
  11. Now your Christmas pudding is ready for Christmas day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. 

On Christmas Day::

  1. Fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and when it comes back to the boil place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer.
  2. Putt the pudding in the steamer cover and leave it to steam for 2 hours and 15 mins. Check the water occasionally and top up if needed.
  3. When you are ready to serve the pudding remove it from the steamer and take off the wrapping.
  4. Slide a palette knife all around the pudding and turn it out onto a warmed plate.
  5. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top. Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat and as soon as the brandy is hot remove it from the heat and set it light (assistance may be needed!) with a long match.