Recipe by Zack at Irish Food Guide.
Christmas pudding is also known as plum pudding because of the abundance of prunes in it! This rich tasty pudding is made of a mixture of fresh or dried fruit, nuts and suet (beef or mutton fat) and traditionally boiled or steamed. Vegetarian suet may also be used.
The pudding is dark and can be saturated with whiskey or brandy, dark beer, or other alcohols. They used to be boiled in a “pudding cloth,” but today they are usually made in pudding bowls.
People have always stirred lucky charms into their Christmas pudding mixture for good luck, similar to those in Halloween Barmbracks. These charms included silver coins (for wealth), tiny silver wishbones (for good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift), a gold ring (for marriage) or an anchor (for safe harbour) and whoever got the lucky serving, would keep the charm!
Ready-made and cooked puddings are available in the shops but they will never compete with the pleasure that comes with making your own Christmas Pudding!
So, here’s my easy to make Christmas Pudding recipe with a whiskey (or brandy) custard cream too!
125g ready-to-eat prunes, chopped
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
50g chopped almonds
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
225g demerara sugar
225g suet (I use vegetable suet rather than beef suet)
125g fresh white breadcrumbs
125g plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp black treacle
35ml Irish Whiskey
1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. Whisk the eggs, stout, whiskey or brandy and black treacle together and stir into the mixture.
3. Cover and leave to stand overnight in a cool place.
4. Butter three x 600ml pudding bowls and put a circle of grease-proof paper in the base.
5. Pack the mixture into the bowls and smooth the top. Leave about 2.5 cm space to the top of the bowl.
6. Cut a double layer of grease-proof paper into a 30cm circle. Cover each pudding with the paper and tie with string around the edge. Tie another piece of string across the top of the pudding so that it can be easily lifted in and out of the pan.
7. Put the bowls into a heavy-based saucepan (placing an up-turned plate in the bottom of the pot first, to raise the pudding bowls off the bottom of the pot). Pour boiling water around the edge until it comes two-thirds of the way up the sides of the bowls. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours. Top up the pot with boiling water to the starting level every hour.
8. Lift out the puddings after 3 hours and let them cool. Put on a new grease-proof or parchment cover and then cover tightly with foil.
9. Store in a cool dark place until Christmas. The puddings will keep for up to six months.
10. To serve cut into portion sizes and heat in a microwave, on full power, for 1 minute until piping hot. Warm two tablespoons of whiskey or brandy in a small saucepan. Set alight and carefully pour over the pudding. Serve with my flavoured custard cream (see recipe below).
Whiskey Custard Cream
This is a very simple and tasty Christmas cream that I prefer to serve with my Christmas Pudding more than anything else!..
Whip 250ml cream until it holds a figure eight shape and stir it into 250ml of cold custard. You can make this yourself or buy it pre-made. Pour in 35ml (one shot) of Irish Whiskey (or brandy) and add a pinch of grated nutmeg and stir until smooth.
This can also be served over warmed mince pies for a delightful change to the usual! Enjoy!