Christmas pudding's a traditional dessert served in Britain at Christmas. You may have come across it in one of the Happy Potter movies (flaming Christmas pudding).
And if you're a fan of Downton Abbey, this will recipe will totally speak to you!
The flambeing part comes from setting the pudding alight with brandy just before serving for the wow factor. Yes, homes all over the UK turn off their lights so they can see their flaming puddings on Christmas day! It's tradition, yo.
But if you're scared of singed eyebrows you can totally skip this step...
The pudding is just as good as is!
This recipe is my personal fave. It's lighter in color than the more traditional version you see all over the UK, because I choose to steam it (yes, it's a steamed pudding) for a LOT less hours.
The traditional pudding required 8 hours steaming (!!), and besides being far too long to wait; you don't really need to steam it for that long to cook all the ingredients inside, which consist mainly of dried fruits.
So you get a less heavy pudding consistency, lighter in color and fluffier, which I rather prefer.
We tried this version a couple of years back in our house, and we've never gone back to its heavier predecessor.
If you've never tried it before, Christmas pudding is NOT a fruit cake, though the ingredients are very similar. It's a pudding. So the consistency leans more towards the fruit-cheese texture. Tempted yet? :)
It's very flavorsome though because of all the spices, booze and dried seasonal fruits.
And because it's so rich, a thin slice is quite enough to satisfy your sweet tooth at the end of the meal. Oh, and did I mention it's typically served with brandy butter?
But ice cream (+ warm pudding!), double cream or even mascarpone work well too.
Tried and tasted. On several occasions ;)
Fruity & Boozy British Christmas Pudding Recipe
Serves 6-8 persons
* 4.6 oz or 130 g of mixed candied peel - I used a mixture of red, green and orange
* 3.5 oz or 100 g of prunes chopped up small (size of a raisin)
* 3.5 oz or 100 g of dried cranberries
* 3.5 oz or 100 g of dried apricots chopped up small (size of a raisin)
* 3.5 oz or 100 g of raisin or sultanas
* 4 tablespoons of cognac or brandy
* The zest and juice of 4 tangerines (or 2 oranges)
* 75 g of fresh white breadcrumbs (just whiz up some slices without crust in your food processor or crumble by hand)
* 2.6 oz or 75 g of plain flour
* 2 teaspoons of mixed pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves)
* 7 oz or 200 g of light brown sugar
* 3.5 oz or 100 g of soft butter + extra for greasing the bowl
* 2 beaten eggs
1) Place all the peel and fruit into a large bowl or plastic container, pour over the brandy, tangerine juice and zest. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside overnight so the fruit soaks up the liquid a big and plumps up.
2) Generously grease a 1.2 liter heat-proof bowl with butter. I use a piece of paper towel and get the butter all over, really thickly. Then line the bowl with a round disc of aluminum foil and grease on top again. Don't skip this step otherwise you risk your pudding not coming out of the bowl!
3) Now tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well until smooth, and place all the mixture into your buttered bowl.
4) Cover the bowl with a buttered piece of aluminum foil with a pleat on it to allow for the rise of the pudding. Tie around the bowl with butcher's string to stop steam escaping.
5) Place the bowl into a sturdy steamer and cover with a lid. Make sure the water level is filled to half way up the base pan (so it does not boil over the pudding). Bring it to a boil then simmer for 2 hours, making sure to top the base pan with more hot water as needed to stop it boiling dry!
6) After 2 hours steaming, you can remove the pudding from the steamer and allow to cool completely. Discard the foil and replace with a new piece of foil. Store in the fridge until ready to serve (you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 months!).
7) Just before serving, steam for another one and half hours until pipping hot.
Turn out onto a plate, remove the foil from the bottom and decorate as you wish.
Serve with brandy butter, cream or ice cream. YUM!
PS - You can heat up a ladle with your brandy or cognac and pour over the pudding just before serving for the flaming factor (please do be careful though - and NO kids around!) - You can't see the flamme properly in the photos above 'cause it was so bright, but I promise it's cool! :)